Review Summary: With Deftones' third release in the crystal powder form of White Pony, the band thrusts one almighty dagger through the heart of musical genre, instead galloping its way into a league of it's own.
If you were looking for a dysfunctional, punch-drunk, sexually-injected anthem of razor-sharp proportions, you've just about come to the right place. "White Pony" is an experience filled to the brim with haunting sound-scapes, lyrical imagery and technical ability. It sparks a significant growth, vocally and musically, in the bands continuously experimental existence.
The albums opener, "Feiticeira", is a powerful, scratchy affair. It presents a familiar, yet explosive start to an album that really plunges you into the depths of the bands matured sound. Alternatively, songs such as "Elite" and "Korea" provide murderous, heavy anthems drawn straight from the Deftones history books whilst "Teenager" and "Passenger" provide something fresh and original.
As well as being musically tight, "White Pony" is lyrically and vocally memorable. Take "When you're ripe, you'll bleed out of control" for instance, depicting a violent, gory display of true, unrestricted emotion. This is in sharp contrast to some of Moreno's more heartfelt poetry. "I climbed your arms, and you pulled away, new cavity moved into my heart today" for example, are some of the most warming lyrics on the album and a compliment to the scope of Moreno's lyrical abilities.
Evidence of the bands unusual influence is scattered across the superb track listing throughout. Take "Teenager", an experimental track with a trip-hop beat and a soothing yet simple acoustic undertone. The use of Delgado's electronics and turntables is subtle but effective and clearly inspired. Following this, "Knife Party" features the inclusion of a pain-stricken opera-like scream during it's closing moments, an excellent contribution to the tracks chilling atmosphere.
The band proves too that they are willing and able to collaborate effectively with other musicians. Featuring Maynard James Keenan (Tool), "Passenger" makes use of call and return vocals that cover themes of sexual desire and drug-induced euphoria. A stand-out track, "Passenger" is truly extraterrestrial and one of the most finely produced tracks on the album.
Classic, sing-a-long chorus's also play their definitive part too, as is familiar in Deftones previous works. "Change (In The House of Flies)" and "Digital Bath" feature simple yet effective lyrics which are given crowd pleaser's. "I watched a change in you, it's like you never had wings" is just one of the many examples of catchy chorus's, reminiscent of nostalgic and definitive Deftones tracks such as "Be Quiet And Drive" and "My Own Summer".
The musicianship here is nothing short of incredible either. Carpenter's use of distortion and delay are two forces that intertwine intimately throughout. Cheng's thunderous bass lines keep everything in it's rightful place too, carrying the tracks brilliantly, occasionally drifting from the root notes to expand variety. Cunningham's percussion abilities are also infectious as ever, cleverly crafted and featuring unpredictable fills in places. Moreno's cold, chilling delivery of whispers, visceral screams and quivering high notes are also a highlight. Delgado's electronics are never left unsaid either, painting eerie, psychotic sound-scapes, unique to each individual track. It's this kind of intensive care that creates a truly cinematic experience for anyone listening.
Overall, the tracks of "White Pony" are individually strong and carefully constructed, but as pieces of a chronological puzzle, they fit together in stellar fashion. For outsiders a grower, and familiars a fan favourite. On one final resounding note, "White Pony" is living proof that through time, practice and limitless inspiration, evolution is continuously possible, nostalgia may always be considered, and that combined with matured musicianship, glory and pride in the form of passion is always achievable.