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Korn vs. Deftones

In the mid 1990's, Korn and Deftones single-handedly created nu-metal, and at the while indirectly stoked the flames of rap-metal. Hailing from Bakersfield and Sacramento in CA, these two bands existed in similar touring regions/circles, were known to each other, and were loosely linked from the start. Over the years - both bands ultimately transcended nu-metal, establishing their own individual/recognizable styles and trajectories. Here goes a comparison of the discographies of the two...
1Soundtrack (Film)
The Crow: City of Angels

I first heard Korn and Deftones as tracks 11 and 12 (respectively) on the 1996 The Crow: City of Angels Soundtrack - and the similarity and differences between the two bands was apparent from the start. Although both tracks were like nothing I had heard prior; Korn provided a darker, more bass-heavy dirge in the form of "Sean Olson". Conversely, "Teething" by Deftones was a down-tuned rap-metal hybrid unlike anything done before (by RATM, Stuck Mojo, etc.). As a result of these two tracks, I went out immediately and bought both of their initial albums. Deftones wins here - with Teething being one of my all-time favorite tracks of theirs. Also, their live (Day of the Dead) performance in the actual movie, The Crow: City of Angels, was one of the few highlights in a subpar sequel to The Crow.

Korn (1994) vs Adrenaline (1995). Both initial albums were highly formative. Back in the mid 1990's, I slightly favored Adrenaline more than Korn - given the incorporation of rap metal elements into Adrenaline (e.g., in Bored, 7 Words, Engine No. 9). But over the years, Adrenaline has not aged as well as Korn - some of the Deftones influences are too clearly worn on their sleeve. The Korn album remains highly unique, with my all-time favorite track being Clown. Further, select tracks from Korn (e.g., Blind) remain a key staple of Korn's live set. As the ultimate progenitor of the nu-metal genre, Korn wins here.
Around the Fur

Life is Peachy (1996) vs. Around the Fur (1997). Life is Peachy has some classic Korn tracks (e.g., Twist/Chi, ADIDAS) and I always loved Wicked, but this sophomore album seemed a small step (relative to the prior album Korn). On the other hand, Around the Fur is the most metal that Deftones ever were. This album was a huge progression from Adrenaline into the realm of alternative metal - and is my favorite of the entire Deftones discography. Around the Fur wins here.
White Pony

Follow the Leader (1998) vs White Pony (2000). The third album finds each band entering the mainstream. Follow the Leader was a mixed bag, having some of Korn's greatest moments (Got the Life, Freak on a Leash) but also the worst (All in the Family, Cameltosis). As a result, parts of this album are juvenile and have not aged well over the years. Conversely, Deftones used White Pony to fully transcend nu-metal, creating and embracing their own form of alternative metal. The album itself is still relevant and remains a tour-de-force up to today. And I have to throw in kudos for the superb track Passenger, featuring MJK from Tool. White Pony wins here.

Issues (1999) vs. Deftones (2003). For the fourth album, both bands took a significant step back from the limelight, abandoning some of the more mainstream-leaning components of Follow the Leader and White Pony. The Deftones self-titled album is often poorly-reviewed, but in retrospect was a key stepping stone to their later output. Issues was a darker, mournful album - interspersed with creative segues. I will always have a soft spot for Issues, as this album helped me get through a nasty breakup. Issues wins here, but both are great albums.

I'm going to give Korn a +2 for having a bit more creative output than Deftones during the late 1990's/early 2000's. I really enjoyed both Untouchables and Take a Look in the Mirror, especially the latter's heavier aspects.
See You on the Other Side

See You on the Other Side (2005) vs. Saturday Night Wrist (2006). Both albums see Korn and Deftones in bleak spots - with either lost band members (Korn) or severe infighting (Deftones). Some adore SNW - but I find it to be a decent listen, but not Deftones finest hour. Comparatively, as an industrial metal fan, I enjoyed the transition to See You on the Other Side. It's See You on the Other Side for me!

Untitled (2007) vs. Eros (2008-2009). Further hard times for both bands. What I heard of Eros, I liked - but obviously, the album never came out. Untitled was a bit of step down from See You on the Other Side, but had its moments. Ultimately, this one goes to Korn.
Diamond Eyes

Korn III: Remember Who You Are (2010) vs. Diamond Eyes (2010). Diamond Eyes was the start of a great decade for Deftones - a superb album cementing their unique take on alternative metal for years to come. Alternatively, Korn attempted to rekindle their roots - this awkward attempt failed superbly, resulting in an album that is a true slog to listen to. Diamond Eyes wins here.
The Path of Totality

The Path of Totality (2011) vs. Covers (2011). 2011 found both bands providing something different. Covers was a solid compilation of Deftones covers made over the years, including select tracks also released on B-Sides and Rarities (2005). The Path of Totality was a divergence into dubstep - and although not high on most lists, it is one of my favorite releases of Korn's. Have to give this to Korn for playing outside the box.
Koi No Yokan

Koi No Yokan (2012) vs. The Paradigm Shift (2013). Deftones are rolling by this point - with KNY being another great album. Head returns to Korn - and The Paradigm Shift is a significant step on the return to greatness. I love both albums, but have to give this one to KNY.
The Serenity of Suffering

The Serenity of Suffering (2016) vs. Gore (2016). At this time, Korn is firing on all cylinders - with SoS being one of their best albums IMO. Just the video for Insane is enough to put this over Gore, which was a good Deftones album, but somewhat dialed in to their typical sound. This is not to say that I dislike Gore - actually, I hold it high - but SoS wins here.
The Nothing

The Nothing (2019) vs. Ohms (2020). Ohms is a solid offering from Deftones - another great album in the decade from 2010 to 2020. The Nothing is also great, seeping with darkness and pain. Both albums are great - but I have to give this to Korn for inclusion of more emotion - you can truly feel J.D.'s torment over the loss of his estranged Wife.

Requiem (2022) vs. new Deftones album (~2023). This is Deftones to win, as Requiem is essentially a glorified EP. Not a bad release from Korn, but seemed like Covid fodder and was hoping for more.
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