Sacramento California’s Deftones have had one of the most varied and experimental careers of any band in modern music. From their early days as part of the nascent nu-metal movement, through to the ambient post-metal of today. It’s been a hell of a ride. Here we present their back catalogue ranked in order.
9. Koi No Yokan (2012)
Coming off the back of the critical acclaim of 2010’s Diamond Eyes, this was less instant and contained fewer moments for fans of heavy music to get really excited about. But there is still enough in Koi No Yokan to consider it a success; Entombed is a beautiful as anything the band have ever put their name to, and any album that starts with the monstrous Swerve City can’t be that bad.
8. Saturday Night Wrist (2006)
It seems that the world is finally catching up with Saturday Night Wrist. Made by a frustrated and bickering band, and unloved by much of its fanbase, the main talking point for many is it being the final album to feature original bassist Chi Cheng before his ultimately fatal car crash. But, listening to it today, there are plenty of excellent moments on Saturday Night Wrist, most of them are epically, achingly melodic and brilliantly brooding. Take a listen to Beware or Xerces and re-evaluate.
7. Gore (2016)
Many of the experiments made on Saturday Night Wrist were revisited a decade later on the divisive Gore album. No doubt the band are more adept and capable of nailing those elements here, although the reaction from some people suggests that Gore may be another slow burner.
6. Ohms (2020)
There were murmuring of discontent from fans that Gore sacrificed too much in the way of heaviness. Their most recent album corrects that course by taking an extensive tour of the past. Ohms stings like a butterfly and floats like a bee, switching between the blissful and the bristling, frequently within the space of the same song. It doesn’t point the band in any new directions or draw on any new influences, but then Deftones long ago proved they were leaders in a field of one.
5. Deftones (2003)
Given the impossible task of following up the massive success of White Pony it’s obvious why Deftones self-titled opus is regularly overlooked. But don’t for a second think that this is an artistic failure. The heaviness was back in spades, maybe more so than ever, on opener Hexagram and the totally brutal When Girls Telephone Boys, but the new found love of exploring new musical spaces and textures were all over Minerva. A lost classic.
4. Diamond Eyes (2010)
Considered by many as the album that put the band back on an upward trajectory after the trauma of Saturday Night Wrist. Diamond Eyes sounds oddly back to basics when put up against much of their latter period, but how can you argue with the quality of songs like Rocket Skates or Cmnd/Ctrl? It’s an album that recalls the excitement of the band’s first two releases as realised by an older, wiser band.
3. Adrenaline (1995)
One of the great debuts of the 90s. Nu-metal wasn’t a thing until Korn and Deftones arrived on the scene and changed everything. Whilst both bands were responsible for shifting metal’s aesthetics, Korn dealt purely in nihilism, pain and brutality. Whereas Deftones on Adrenaline showcased influences from gangster rap to skate punk. Songs like Bored and 7 Words became anthems of youthful alienation for a whole new group of kids, who were bored of grunge and wanted their own sound. They soon got it.
2. Around The Fur (1997)
An album that turned Deftones into the hottest band on the planet (certainly in the UK), Around The Fur is more thoughtful and features greater depth than Adrenaline. But still was as heavy as any metal band around, as heard on the breakneck lotion or hearing Chino Moreno trading vocal lines with Max Cavalera on Headup. Crucially though, Around The Fur features at least two of the times most anthemic songs in Be Quiet And Drive (Far Away) and the awesome My Own Summer (Shove It), which are still staples in their live set today.
1. White Pony (2000)
What else could it ever be? One of modern music’s most challenging and definitive statements. White Pony turned Deftones from one of the best bands in a rapidly oversaturated scene into a genre all of their own. New member Frank Delgado brought a whole new set of subtle sonic touches to the band, Moreno captivates throughout with a haunting, beguiling vocal performance and drummer Abe Cunningham keeps an irresistible rhythmic tattoo rolling from the first second till the last and even guitarist Stephen Carpenter, the one member openly unsure of the bands attempt to break free from the shackles of metal, manages to crowbar in enough jaw dropping riffs into the album. The closest thing metal has ever had to an album like Radiohead’s Ok Computer, and the most compelling reason for why Deftones exist in a bubble all of their own making.