‘White Pony,’ 15 Years After the Fact

I think I might be breaking some rules of Deftones fandom when I say that “White Pony” isn’t my favorite album from Sacramento’s Finest Sons. That distinction goes to “Diamond Eyes,” which turned five in May (Yay for landmarks! Even tiny ones!). But even though I was pretty damned late to the party – my first Deftones song was “Diamond Eyes’” haunting title track, heard on a long but scenic commute to some thankless internship – I certainly can’t deny the groundbreaking importance of “White Pony.”

This was the record that enabled Deftones to break away from the nu metal pack they emerged from in the 90s and basically put them on track to becoming the artsy, alternative metal outfit that they are today. It’s the first record to feature keyboard player/sampler Frank Delgado as a full-time member. It’s the first time frontman Chino Moreno started playing guitar on certain tracks, which he still does today. The songs themselves continue to hold up, with the slight exception of “Back to School (Mini Maggit),” which still feels like it has one foot rooted in the decadent nu metal past. Other than that, the “Pony” is still a beast. “Feiticeira,” “Digital Bath,” “Rx Queen,” “Street Carp,” “Korea,” “Change (In the House of Flies),” and “Pink Maggit” are all as awesome now as they were 15 years ago.

Of course I would be remiss not to mention their famous collaboration with the Toolman himself, Maynard James Keenan: “Passenger,” my all time favorite duet in music.

So if you got some time today, throw on some “White Pony” to celebrate the 15 years of continuing excellence from Deftones. I’ll be seeing them in concert come August, where they will be co-headlining with Incubus (see the full tour dates here). Their still untitled eighth studio album will be dropping in late September. Check out the music video to “Change” embedded above. If you can get past the dodgy compositing and Chino’s questionable haircut, it’s still pretty cool.

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