212: DEFTONES

It’s hard to know where to start with the mighty Deftones. They’re a band of absolutely leviathan proportions in my musical journey, but I never planned them ahead for a specific milestone because, as I said, I don’t even know where to start.

Deftones have always a band whose members’ ages and sound have always felt like they mirrored my own point in life. I found them as an angsty teenager looking to expand my tastes beyond just Korn, when they themselves were an angsty nu metal band. Then, as I got older, they grew and matured alongside me.

Their debut, Adrenaline, is incredible and unique. While they were thrown in with the nascent nu metal scene, no other band at the time (or any, since) has sounded like early Deftones. The followed that with Around the Fur, and instant alt metal classic that refined and redefined the sound of the debut.

But then everything changed with White Pony.

Such is the legacy of White Pony, any book telling the story of alternative metal in the nineties and noughties would require an entire chapter dedicated to this one album. At a time when nu metal and alt metal was hitting its peak, Deftones eschewed expectations and releases one of the most experimental albums this scene had ever seen.

Expanding their sound with shoegaze and art rock influences, White Pony, marked a watershed moment for the band. At the time it was critically acclaimed and now, twenty years later, it is considered an iconic album of its era.

Since then, Deftones have only continued to mature and grow their sound. Later albums such as Diamond Eyes, Koi No Yokan, and Gore further demonstrated a masterful talent for a truly evolutionary sound in the alternative music sphere.

Last year, 25 years since Adrenaline, Deftones released Ohms, their ninth album, to enormous acclaim. A further development of their sound, the album has been described as shoegaze, dream pop, art rock and more. To receive this level of praise so deep into their career truly shows how special Deftones are as a band. Their continued growth, refusal to follow trends, and fusion of disparate influences, has proved spectacularly successful for them.

As I said at the beginning, there are very few bands on this planet that have been as big a part of my life as Deftones. Due in part to the growth and development they’ve demonstrated with each subsequent album, which happened in random to my own life, they’ve basically soundtrack the entirety of my teenage years and right through now to my mid-thirties. To put simply, every chapter of my life for the last 23 years is forever going to be associated with the Deftones album of that period.

If I throw on White Pony, I’m teleported back to being 16 years old, during my first realisation of just how much I loved music, and having my mind blown at just how far a band could push their sound. But then Diamond Eyes, I’m 25 and getting ready to move interstate and falling back in love with this band all over again. Or Gore, I’m now in my thirties, I live made it to Perth and it’s home now but perhaps feeling a little aimless. And this band is back in my life yet again, right when I needed them.

This wonderful fucking band.

Thank you Chino, Stefan, Abe, Frank, and Sergio.

And, course, thank you Chi.