1989 in Sacramento.

Sounds like: Downing a bucket of cough syrup before finding yourself in a coffin filled with angry chinchillas. 

For fans of: Depeche Mode, the Jesus and Mary Chain, Black Sabbath, Pantera, Sepultura, Mogwai, Rage Against the Machine, Will Haven. 

Latest release: Diamond Eyes, a disappointing collection of predictable—by Deftones standards, at least—soft-hard-soft formula tunes and alt-metal riffage.

Why you care: Because Deftones were the little nu-metal band that could—or at least shoulda. When the band matured past the rap-rock-infected pre-screamo captured on 1995 debut Adrenaline to the infinitely more mature Around the Fur two years later—the melodic, shoegaze-metal anthem "Be Quiet and Drive" was especially promising—great things seemed to be on the horizon. White Pony, the band's experimentation-heavy opus, cashed in on the band's early promise. White Pony seemed a harbinger of a smarter, gentler hard rock to come—which never really panned out. Still, the band's very loud 2003 self-titled follow-up still ranks among the decade's best hard-rock records, and continued Deftones' hot streak. The uneven but adventurous Saturday Night Wrist followed. Then, in 2008, bassist Chi Cheng was in a car accident that left him in a coma from which he never fully recovered. In the wake of the accident, the band scrapped an entire album, Eros—rumored to be its strangest and most ambitious disc to date—and recorded new disc Diamond Eyes with ex-Quicksand bassist Sergio Vega. Despite the uneven quality of its recent releases, the band's live shows are worth seeing, and frontman Chino Moreno—despite a general lack of lyrical lucidity—has quite a way with words, be they spoken, sung or screamed. 

SEE IT: Deftones play Crystal Ballroom on Friday and Saturday, April 15-16. See listings for details. Both shows 9 pm. Both shows all-ages.