Mandatory Metal: 5 Essential Deftones Songs, CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
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Heavy music is full of legendary bands boasting deep catalogs stacked with iconic songs — sometimes it can be hard to know where to start, or what to consider their best. With that in mind, we present the “Mandatory Metal” lists, which collect what we consider to be the definitive tracks from various members of the metallurgic pantheon. Up today, Deftones, the Sacramento favorites who have led the charge in imbuing metal with more shoegazing atmosphere and beauty while still staying heavy as hell. The group has many classic cuts to its name, but in our opinion, these songs are Deftones’ most essential. If you disagree, sound off on The Pit Facebook page.


A fucking classic. Deftones wrote an absolutely iconic riff that slinks in with a sense of unease before snapping into the song’s chorus, showing the versatility of every member in the band.
Sample Lyrics: “I think god is moving its tongue/There’s no crowd in the streets/And no sun in my own summer”


In the collaboration of a lifetime over a hypnotically heavy riff, Tool’s Maynard James Keenan and Deftones’ Chino Moreno proved to be a perfect match for each other in the vocal department. Not even Crash author J.G. Ballard could have predicted a song this cool about getting boned in a car and willingly giving up control.
Sample Lyrics: “Roll the windows down this/Cool night air is curious/Let the whole world look in/Who cares who sees what tonight?”


This Diamond Eyes cut distills everything excellent about Deftones into one stunner, with the band’s melody never coming at expense of the tune’s heaviness, all the way up to an absolutely crushing bass line.
Sample lyrics: “Mindset of a killer/With your gaze you paint the room/Blood red with your tears/Pouring from the stage”



Deftones’ 2002 self-titled LP may be one of their lesser offering overall, but standout track “Battle-Axe” still offers up plenty of seedy goodness, showcasing the many textures and nuances that a band this skilled can incorporate into a “heavy” song.
Sample Lyrics: “Well I’d love to think you will someday feel the same/And you love to think it will always, always/Always/If you still believe it will always be this way, well you’re all wrong./Yes you are, insane”



“Knife Prty” is one of Deftones’ most hypnotic tracks, with guitar work that manages to stay upbeat while also hitting hard, while Moreno’s singing drags the song to glory. Rodleen Getsic’s additional vocals in the end of the song add a sense of horror and beauty to all of it, creating an apex of emotion.
Sample lyrics: “I can float here forever/In this room we can’t touch the floor in here/We’re all anemic/In here anemic and sweet so”