White Pony is sold on the streets by the millions. Every day, a random celebrity buys at least two ounces and packs it in their purses and briefcases, anxiously waiting for their next big film to finish shooting so that they may snort the unicorn. The rush that follows is unparalleled excitement, danger, moody, and sometimes intense feelings unlike they’ve ever experienced in their lives. It does a number on your mind, that’s the consequence, but for the journey at hand you cannot help but savour the moment. That is how Deftones have planned their third studio release, ironically titled White Pony
. After the release of the hugely successful Around The Fur
, they’ve searched for new and innovative ways to express their music, often resulting in some groundbreaking performances. The album is no stud-brigade, though. The issues that are dealt with are often labeled as controversial, if not inappropriate for the minors. If you listen to the album with the determination to look out for its many tiny flaws, you won’t find much. But listen with an open mind, and White Pony
will cough up all that its got to offer.
The opening song, Feitceira
, is an unbalanced mix of some of Deftones’ harder and softer styles. Chino Moreno’s haunting vocals make it all the worthwhile, even through its relatively short time span of three minutes. This may be the one of the few skipping points on the album, for the obvious reason that its not easy to absorb on the first few listens, and that it is a prequel to the following outstanding work, Digital Bath
. What this track has done exceeds the limits of blasphemous lyrical content, all the while sounding like a completely radio-friendly hit. Once again, Moreno makes it sparkle like crystal water. The song starts with a very simple drum pattern, slowly building on top of a down-tempo guitar riff and ambient texture. The chorus then erupts with the words “I feel like more tonight”, hinting at a darker side to the lyrics. However, the chorus is matched with two singing tones, a low-pitched and high-pitched scream, but the latter is unquestionably the greatest few seconds of vocals you are ever likely to hear. Elite
brings us back to the days of the 90’s, with non-stop screeching and downright heavy guitar shredding, combining some ridiculous lyrics to a tone-def (no pun intended) robotic chorus, “milk with honey”. I love the smell of metal in the morning.
features the eccentric Maynard James Keenan of Tool singing a viking-ish chorus at the top of his voice, blended perfectly with Moreno’s creepy whispers. What more could you ask for? Passing the six-minute mark, you can never grow tired of a track quite like this. It has all the basics that made Deftones famous; a rhythmic guitar riff, screaming vocals and the all-infamous controversial lyrical content. Due to White Pony’s
style of music, it also adds the ambient backgrounds and occasional soundscaping. A brilliant song, but my only concern is that the chorus is only twenty-seconds long, and in a six-minute song, there is only two shining moments. The rest may be all too common for the average fan to handle, especially if you can’t stand Tool.
Not to say the entire album screams the glory of Sparta. Songs like Teenager
and Street Carp
make one question whether this is something authentic by Deftones, or some cheap throwaway b-side for Chino Moreno’s side project, Team Sleep. It does satisy, yes, but unlike the other half of the songs, these are the few you will skip frequently. On that note, most of the songs are not easy on the ears, even if you’re a die-hard fan, this is all relatively new to you. Sometimes it’s like they’ve boldly set foot where no metal act has gone before, and other times you couldn’t be bothered at all.
To sum it up, White Pony
makes for an entertaining listen, cool and in a sense, on the same level of excellence as their debut and sophomore efforts. To all new comers, this may well be one of the greatest albums you’ve ever heard, be it a metal monster or pop predator, although not a very good starting point for the band since most of their music doesn’t sound anything quite like White Pony
, brilliant when stood alone but falls short to the Brady Deftone Bunch as just another concept album with very risky boundaries. On the positive note, most of the songs are almost flawless in design. Deftones were never a band to sell out or disappoint yet, and you can always catch a hint of dedication to their work while listening to the smaller details, such as the soundscaping or occasional twinkle that matches the beat. Probably one of the best albums of 2000, and a highlight in their career as an emotionally moving piece of art.
Change (In The House of Flies)
Final Rating: 3.9/5 – 7.8/10