Author: Michael Pementel
Alongside that of their metal brethren Korn, Deftones are also immensely responsible for introducing the world to nu metal. However, as compared to many of their nu metal contemporaries, the Deftones have greatly expanded upon their artistry throughout their career.
Whereas we previously ranked all the Korn albums, we thought we would now explore that of all the Deftones albums.
The goal of this ranking effort is to look at what albums stand out as the strongest among the band’s discography, as well as to shine a light on what albums best represent the band today.
We also want to note that, just because one album may be lower on our ranking as compared to other Deftones albums, that does not mean we think anything super negatively of the record. We do think there are some records that shine brighter than others, but we also don’t think there are any “bad” records among the Deftones discography.
Of course, this is our own personal ranking and it may differ from your own.
Without further ado, let’s go over our list of Deftones albums, ranked from worst to best. What do you think is the best Deftones album?
Compared to their nu metal contemporaries, Adrenaline is a very intriguing work of heavy music. It certainly pulls from the stylistic traits of nu metal, but also displays a band interested in creating beyond those stereotypical elements – offering heavy music that hints at something much dreamier.
But while Adrenaline is a fine Deftones album offering some killer nu metal, it is also the most basic level of presentation and technicality that the band have ever presented. When you compare this record to everything Deftones would go on to do – all the brilliant blends of style and stunning technicality that allows for such rich compositions of flavor and awe – Adrenaline feels lacking.
8. Koi No Yokan
Koi No Yokan is a Deftones album of good quality, and yet, it also trots along to very typical beats we’ve come to expect from the band at this point in their career. When you compare this to previous Deftones albums like Diamond Eyes or the self-titled album, Koi No Yokan feels like a comfortable state for the band; you’ll find some solid cuts here, but the band seem to have gotten into a comfortable rhythm of playing. There isn’t all that much that makes this material stand out compared to much of the band’s discography.
7. Saturday Night Wrists
Released after such records like White Pony and the self-titled album, Saturday Night Wrists feels a tad disjointed in terms of sonic identity. The band play at times with abstraction, which ends up hurting the flow of the overall music; that said, since White Pony, they have found themselves a brilliant fusion of genre and style that they’ve mastered, and Saturday Night Wrists continues to capitalize on those qualities.
The album to come right after White Pony, the self-titled album may not make as big of a statement as that previous record, but it continues to display the band’s refined sense of musical identity. Playing off the brilliant sonic fusion that took place in White Pony, the self-titled album makes for an incredible blend of heavy hitting nu metal, rock, and remarkable atmosphere rich with dreamy distortion.
While Gore is not the heaviest Deftones album, it does capture the band’s brilliant use of atmosphere. Though it still offers several heavy moments, Gore leans much more into delicate and mesmerizing auras. Because the the band devote much more attention to this element, Gore in turn stands on its own as a very captivating record among the Deftones discography.
Ohms is like if you took all the best qualities found on Gore and elevated them ever so slightly. As the most recent studio album from the band, Ohms shows how much the Deftones have grown over the course of their career. While Ohms is not the heaviest Deftones album – and frankly, it strays away from a lot of the band’s use of heavier performance – it still provides a great balance in heavy and serene moments. This is possibly one of the more “cinematic” albums from the band – with each individual composition (and the flow to and from songs), establishing an immersive pace that is crushing at times, but ultimately, meditative.
3. Around the Fur
Whereas Adrenaline is a solid debut Deftones album and an interesting work of nu metal, the band’s follow-up record makes for a greater statement regarding what they are capable of. Though the band would end up leaning further into their iconic stylistic fusion down the road (and small touches of that fusion could be heard on Adrenaline), Around the Fur presents audiences with a slightly stronger look into that artistic brilliance. Along with booming and crushing instrumentation, the band begin to weave in mesmerizing tones – offering compositions that have an almost surreal, cinematic flow to them. This of course is a quality that would really become apparent in the band’s next album after Around the Fur.
2. Diamond Eyes
Diamond Eyes not only represents one of the biggest shifts for the band (presenting a much cleaner level of production as compared to past Deftones albums), it’s also one of the last heavier records we have gotten from the band. Of course each following album has heavy music on it, but Diamond Eyes really pulls from the well of nu metal heaviness that was presented on past albums like Adrenaline, Around the Fur, and even White Pony, all while continuing to provide the band’s intense use of dreamy atmosphere. Ultimately, we argue that Diamond Eyes is probably one of the stronger representations of modern Deftones; when you look at past and current Deftones albums, it really sums up all that the band have done and continue to do. It is a perfect blend of dream pop meets nu metal aggression.
But or course, we have it at second place, because there is one other album that much more greatly represents the Deftones and all they are capable of. The best Deftones album is…
1. White Pony
Yeah, you probably saw this coming from a mile away, but we feel the best Deftones album is White Pony.
Throughout this feature, we’ve been talking a lot about stylistic fusion and blending of styles, because what has become so iconic about the Deftones is how brilliantly they fuse heaviness and dreaminess. While you can hear that powerful fusion a tad on Adrenaline, and a little more on Around the Fur – White Pony made for a gargantuan leap in quality and a stunning display of Deftones’ artistry.
The most cinematic of Deftones albums, White Pony is a breathtaking musical journey; there are compositions that lend themselves to beauty, to serenity, and those that even lend themselves to an eerie horror. There is such incredible technical work done throughout this record, allowing for music that not only grips the audience with intricate and awesome instrumental performances, but that also offers an intense meditative experience.
White Pony‘s significance can be heard in the band’s music to this day. Without White Pony, it is kind of tough to image what the band might sound like today.
Do you agree with our Deftones album ranking? What do you think is the best Deftones album?