It’s with increasing years of hindsight that ‘White Pony’ shows itself to be one of the most forward-thinking metal records of all time. Deftones' ear for soundscapes, atmospheres and electronics preceded the current trends in mainstream metal by upwards of 20 years.
It’s interesting to see the band sharing a bill this December with Bring Me The Horizon considering the torch has been passed in recent years with BMTH being the first mainstream rock act to pick up where they left off with bold experimentation and collaborations. This is even more admirable considering the previous botched attempts (see Korn’s dubstep record).
But this is secondary to how jam-packed the album is with fuzzy, cutting, tender and aggressive tracks. It takes all the adolescent mood swing tropes and gives them a sonic reworking based on the sounds of The Cure and Nine Inch Nails. It roots the album in songwriting tradition and breaks free from the nu-metal hype of their contemporaries.
The vulnerability of ‘Teenager’ or the thick noise of ‘Digital Bath’ shows just how diverse the sounds of the album are. Then there’s epic Maynard James Keenan feature on ‘Passenger’, and the album's best, ‘Change (In the House of Flies)’ making for its penultimate moment of catharsis and one of the band’s career highlights.
From melancholia to rage and mourning, the emotions shown in ‘White Pony’ are as broad as the genres and ideas present. It never loses grounded despite the audible variety on every track, which considering the degrees of experimentation, makes for one hell of a ride, and a metal classic.
‘White Pony’ and other select Deftones releases are available in the Store now.