|2. Digital Bath|
|4. Rx Queen|
|5. Street Carp|
|7. Knife Prty|
|10. Change (In the House of Flies)|
|11. Pink Maggit|
Despite personal tribulations and bassist Chi Cheng’s serious car accident of 2008, Deftones have proved to be the longest-lasting act of the Kerrang!-approved 2000 trio. QOTSA are currently looking backwards, Rated R already re-issued and their eponymous debut due for similar treatment; ATD-I, meanwhile, imploded before many a fan had peeled the price sticker from their breakthrough album. Deftones, though, remain a critical and commercial force: this year’s Diamond Eyes, their sixth LP, has excellent reviews and debuted in the Billboard top ten.
And it’s White Pony that really began their genre-scrambling ascendency. Although previous albums Adrenaline (1995) and Around the Fur (1997) had sold well, neither really stretched the band in terms of ambition; they relied on raw thrills over the cerebral intensity that’s characterised Deftones albums since this set. White Pony introduced new textures into the mix, traces of The Cure and Nine Inch Nails evident on slower numbers and greater levels of gloom and dread apparent across its 11 tracks (12 on a limited-run edition, see listing to the left). It can be a suffocating experience, its density sometimes threatening to engulf the listener entirely. Pink Maggit, Change (In the House of Flies) and Passenger – the latter featuring Tool’s Maynard James Keenan in a spotlight-stealing guest role – are dense, sprawling epics, far removed from the primal punch of past hits.
Such was the label’s worry about just that – the lack of an obvious hit – that White Pony was soon re-released with a Pink Maggit re-work, Back to School (Mini Maggit), opening proceedings. The song didn’t fit the spirit of the band’s original document, though, and they conveyed publically how their vision had been compromised. (A Youtube comparison between Change and Back to School shows just how different they are in tone, musically and visually.) The track ticked the MTV-friendly box, but White Pony wasn’t without bite in the first place. The ferocious Elite, on which frontman Chino Moreno channels the ghosts of 1980s cartoon Transformers for his vocal effects, won a Grammy in 2001; and Korea is as rough-and-tumble as anything the band’s ever recorded.
Not everyone got White Pony at the time – Select magazine damned it with a one-star review, claiming it unlistenable. That such a progressive, risk-taking LP wasn’t celebrated across the board for its gutsy reinventing of a band thought pigeonholed wasn’t that surprising, though – this is a difficult album. But today’s widespread appreciation of it is testament to just how envelope-pushing White Pony was a decade ago.--Mike Diver
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Maturing was inevitable and since listening to rock over the years, metal was still boisterous ever since the arrival of Limp Bizkit and crew. The loud, heavy guitars did nothing and frontman Fred Durst seemed a fake, providing more comedy that seriousness.
When I heard a track by the Deftones on late night radio, I liked what I heard. Change (In The House Of Flies) had a mysterious, sinister edge that changed my view on metal completely. Like their album, White Pony, the Deftones actually DID something to inject much needed intelligence and originality into this genre. No longer is the lead singer of a metal band screaming his testicles off about how bad life is, how someone hurt him... lyrics so vague that for every listener, each track could mean something completely different.
Anger is usually the emotion released with heavy distortion, but here the music has so many transitions a track can move from rage to sheer beauty in an instant. Chino has a voice that moves this music like a tide - on Digital Bath the loud guitars suddenly cease as he mouths; "You breathed - then you stopped". Teenager is a soothing little number and the variety, which was needed to make this more than just a heavy-metal record. The whole album benefits from it, after it fades out, down come the blazing guitars with Street Carp and Knife Party.
The Deftones really outdid themselves here. No longer do I generalise metal after White Pony.... Read more ›
White Pony is the biggest departure for the band; yes, the chuggy riffs are still evident in 'Korea' and 'Elite', but whilst the Deftones have always forgone the option of making an easily heavy and hook laden rock album, this time they took the option of taking the listener on a proper journey. The moods the band creates here are truly sublime, emphasised in the emotive and driving 'Change (in the house of flies)' or 'Digital Bath'. Both with great melodic but firm riffs, and chased with a sense of beauty. And of course, the ever-impressive Chino Moreno's powerful voice bringing its trademark depth to this set of amazing songs.
Definitely the most absorbing and rewarding of the bands records, here, the Deftones delve into light electronica ('Teenager'), semi acoustic prog ('Pink Maggit') and...lets call it developmental rock for 'Passenger', which includes a stirring guest performance by Tool's Maynard James Keenan. And not once does any of this fail to work; each track flows seamlessly into the next, each track standing out from its predecessor as each flawless track makes itself recognisable.
Absorbing, rewarding and magnificent, White Pony is one of the best albums ever made, regardless of genre. If this doesn't make the hairs on your back stand up then nothing will.
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