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Chino Moreno of the Deftones Interview — ”Creep Show’

As great as next week’s year-end podcast will no doubt be, it’ll probably be a little anticlimactic compared to this week’s special, nearly hour-long presentation. As an appropriate homage to the end of an exciting but turbulent metal year, this week we talked with Deftones frontman Chino Moreno about the chaotic year the band has faced and the challenges the band has overcome since the devastating November 2008 car accident that left bassist Chi Cheng in a semi-conscious state.

Moreno opened up about the devastating effect the accident had on the rest of the band, and how, after the incident, they ultimately decided to create a heavier, more insistent record that more accurately represented how they felt as a group. Moreno also talked about the recent benefit concerts and auctions that have helped pay Cheng’s mounting medical bills and the healing that has taken place between the band members while their bassist lay prone in the hospital.

Moreno told us that the yet-to-be-titled new Deftones album will come out April 27 and will be more reminiscent of early discs like 1997’s ‘Around the Fur’ and 2000’s ‘White Pony.’ The songs were written and recorded quickly, Moreno says, and the musicians were on fire as they grappled to come to grips with Cheng’s accident.

While the band ultimately gained strength from misfortune, initially they were on the verge of breaking up. “We honestly thought that after this thing happened with Chi, why even carry on?” Moreno said during the ”Creep Show.’ “Things flipped back and forth. We kind of felt that way for a while. But there are some things bigger and better for us, and we were lucky enough to get together and communicate and find something for ourselves.”

Although Deftones had already tracked a full album of songs with Cheng and producer Terry Date tentatively titled ‘Eros,’ they decided to shelve those recordings and work on an entirely new batch of songs with their friend Sergio Vega filling in on bass. They hired producer Nick Raskulinecz to work with them, and in just two months they had recorded an entirely new album. “I honestly think it’s one of the best, if not the best records we’ve ever done,” Moreno said. “My favorite record is ‘Around the Fur.’ It was written and recorded in four months, which was the fastest, easiest and funnest record we’ve ever made. This record totally has that feel to it.”

In addition to talking about the new Deftones album, Moreno filled us in on Cheng’s condition, talked about the two Los Angeles benefit shows, which raised over $50,000 for Cheng and featured tons of guest musicians, including Metallica bassist Robert Trujillo, Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee, Dillinger Escape Plan vocalist Greg Puciato, Linkin Park rapper Mike Shinoda, Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo, System of a Down bassist Shavo Odadjian and guitarist Daron Malakian, and Suicidal Tendencies frontman Mike Muir.

In addition, members of Metallica, System of a Down, Slayer, Blink-182, HIM and others donated items to a charity auction for Cheng, which raised another $50,000, Moreno said. “It meant a lot to have people, friends of Chi and ours and people who have been a part of our lives over the years there to help him out,” Moreno said. “This benefit seems like a celebration in a way. These people were coming together and saying, ‘Look, we’re gonna do the best that we can to make a positive situation out of this thing.'”

After our revealing and insightful conversation with Moreno, the ”Creep Show’ team conducted a round-table discussion about thee top 10 metal albums of 2009. On the whole, there was plenty of agreement between the panelists — Revolver senior writer Jon Wiederhorn, Noisecreep head writer Amy Sciarretto, Noisecreep news man and writer at large Chris Harris and intrepid reporter Jen Guyre (sadly, Noisecreep Editor in Chief Seth Werkheiser was sidelined by Kafka-esque administrative duties this time around). However, there was also a fair amount of conflict over such subjects as whether Mastodon‘s ‘Crack the Skye’ deserved the top slot, whether Slayer belonged on the list at all, if Chris Harris is, in fact, on Devin Townsend‘s payroll and how many Noisecreep staffers it takes to count to ten.

In the end, no one on the panel was 100 percent satisfied with the official choices, but everyone agreed that the list was a good, diverse representation of the year’s top releases.

Here it is, the official Noisecreep ”Creep Show’ top 10 metal albums of the year:
1. Mastodon — ‘Crack the Skye’ (Warner Bros.)
2. Alice in Chains — ‘Black Gives Way to Blue’ (Virgin)
3. Converge — ‘Axe to Fall’ (Epitaph)
4. Baroness — ‘Blue Record’ (Relapse)
5. Them Crooked Vultures — ‘Them Crooked Vultures’ (DGC/Interscope)
6. Lamb of God — ‘Wrath’ (Epic)
7. Behemoth — ‘Evangelion’ (Metal Blade)
8. Slayer — ‘World Painted Blood’ (Columbia)
9. Nile — ‘Those Whom the Gods Detest’ (Nuclear Blast)
10. Suicide Silence — ‘No Time to Bleed’ (Century Media)

Now that you’ve read our choices, crack a beer, or a can of Dr. Pepper, sit back and enjoy our interview with Deftones frontman Chino Moreno and watch the discussions that took place and the fights that ensued as we concocted the above list of the top albums of the year.

And take a minute to check out the individual Top 10 lists submitted by the “Creep Show’ panelists before the fireworks began to erupt:

Seth Werkheiser

1. Converge — ‘Axe to Fall’ (Epitaph)
2. Celan — ‘Halo’ (Exile on Mainstream)
3. Alice in Chains — ‘Black Gives Way To Blue’ (Virgin)
4. Irepess — ‘Sol Eye Sea I’ (Translation Loss)
5. Coalesce — ‘OX’ (Relapse)
6. YOB — ‘The Great Cessation’ (Profound Lore)
7. Narrows — ‘New Distances’ (Deathwish)
8. Dream Theater — ‘Black Clouds & Silver Linings’ (Roadrunner)
9. Isis — ‘Wavering Radiant’ (Ipecac) 10 Iwrestledabearonce — ‘It’s All Happening’ (Century Media)

Jon Wiederhorn

1. Mastodon — ‘Crack the Skye’ (Warner Bros.)
2. Alice in Chains — ‘Black Gives Way to Blue’ (Virgin)
3. Baroness — ‘Blue Record’ (Relapse)
4. Them Crooked Vultures — ‘Them Crooked Vultures’ (DGC/Interscope)
5. Slayer — ‘World Painted Blood’ (Columbia)
6. Converge — ‘Axe to Fall’ (Epitaph)
7. Behemoth — ‘Evangelion’ (Metal Blade)
8. Megadeth — ‘Endgame’ (Roadrunner)
9. Nile — ‘Those Whom the Gods Detest’ (Nuclear Blast)
10. Heaven and Hell — ‘The Devil You Know’ (Rhino)

Amy Sciarretto
1. Lamb of God — ‘Wrath’ (Epic)
2. Killswitch Engage — ‘Killswitch Engage’ (Roadrunner)
3. Redemption — ‘Snowfall on Judgment Day’ (InsideOut)
4. Slayer — ‘World Painted Blood’ (Columbia)
5. Mastodon — ‘Crack the Skye’ (Warner Bros.)
6. DevilDriver — ‘Pray For Villains’ (Roadrunner)
7 Megadeth — ‘Endgame’ (Roadrunner)
8. Baroness — ‘Blue Record’ (Relapse)
9. Converge — ‘Axe to Fall’ (Epitaph)
10. Suicide Silence — ‘No Time to Bleed’ (Century Media)

Chris Harris

1. Devin Townsend — ‘Addicted’ (Century Media)
2. Them Crooked Vultures — ‘Them Crooked Vultures’ (DGC/Interscope)
3. Nile — ‘Those Whom the Gods Detest’ (Nuclear Blast)
4. Behemoth — ‘Evangelion’ (Metal Blade)
5. Between the Buried and Me — ‘The Great Misdirect’ (Victory)
6. Katatonia — ‘Night Is the New Day’ (Peaceville)
7. Porcupine Tree — ‘The Incident’ (Roadrunner)
8. Alice in Chains — ‘Black Gives Ways to Blue’ (Virgin)
9. Burnt by the Sun — ‘Heart of Darkness’ (Relapse)
10. Saviours — ‘Accelerated Evolution’ (Kemado)

Jen Guyre

1. Mastodon — ‘Crack the Skye’ (Warner Bros.)
2. Kylesa — ‘Static Tensions’ (Prosthetic)
3. Baroness — ‘Blue Record’ (Relapse)
4. Saviours — ‘Accelerated Living’ (Kemado)
5. Tombs — ‘Winterhours’ (Relapse)
6. Converge — ‘Axe to Fall’ (Epitaph)
7. Isis — ‘Wavering Radiant’ (Ipecac)
8. Yob — ‘The Great Cessation’ (Profound Lore)
9. Doomriders — ‘Darkness Come Alive’ (Deathwish)
10. Buried Inside — ‘Spoils of Failure’ (Relapse)

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