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Deftones Ranked (Times Infinity)

Bet you never heard of a list such as this! I dare you to contrast my opinion with a different ranking based on your taste. I will smite you with the fury of a thousand Chino screams from the mid-90s.

Although I enjoy a handful of songs on “Gore”—opening single “Prayers / Triangles,” downcast headbanger “Acid Hologram,” and the eerie, almost post-punk sounding “Hearts / Wires”—I can’t say I like the album as a whole. Anytime I find myself listening to a single song from this record, I am convinced “Gore” is Deftones’ best material, and that could be true considering they’re 28 years deep into their songwriting process by this time, but when the opportunity comes to dive into the entire record, I am lost in its seas midway through and nearly drowning by the time it closes.

Favorite Track: “Hearts / Wires”

Young, angry, ambitious. Deftones struck a chord with me on “Adrenaline” that hasn’t escaped me since. This is the sound of a band that rehearses in a suburban garage all day, everyday put to tape. The darkness outweighs the light on this raw, dirty album, with distortion-drenched screams conversing Chino’s whisper-like moans. That being said, it’s inarguable the band has matured significantly since their debut, so it gets the low-rank treatment.

Favorite Track: “Fireal”
Koi No Yokan

Similar to the effect of “Gore,” “Koi No Yokan” sounds like Deftones’ best material one moment, before showing its wounds the next when consumed in one sitting. The first five songs give one the impression that Deftones are set to release a masterpiece—I mean, those songs are really frickin’ good!—but the album starts to waver off during the second half like memories of a dream after waking up. On a side note, I have serious qualms with “What Happened to You?” as the album closer seeing as its the most forgettable track on the record. The album is more consumable with “Goon Squad” as a closer in my opinion.

Favorite Track: “Romantic Dreams”

Deftones’ self-titled artwork was voted “most likely to get tatted across some dude’s calf” in the 2000s. Seriously, google Deftones tattoos and the skull to pony ratio is 3:1. There is certainly a badass quality to this album that would compel one to get some roses and skulls etched in their skin, such as the meaty riffs on “Battle-Axe”, the epic chorus of “Minerva,” and the throaty screams that open the record on “Hexagram.” Originally advertised by Chino as the band’s heaviest record to date, it turned out to be no less crushing than “Adrenaline” from nearly a decade prior. Minus a few points for dishonesty. Still, a fantastic record.

Favorite Track: “Needles and Pins”
Saturday Night Wrist

First off, let me say “Saturday Night Wrist” is a goddamn mess of an album. The album’s production nearly disbanded the group, and the identity crisis that ensued can be heard on songs like “Pink Cellphone” and “Xerces,” the former being an overlong interlude about butt-fucking in England and the latter being Deftones cutest rock song. And it’s this indecisiveness of style that largely contributes to this album’s success; “Saturday Night Wrist” is always changing, which makes it a fun, dynamic listen as opposed to the predictability of albums like “Adrenaline” and “Gore.” Also, I regret to inform most of you that Saturday Night Wrist is not carpal tunnel you get from whackin’ off.

Favorite Track: “Cherry Waves”
Around the Fur

My first exposure to Deftones and therefore my most nostalgic connection to a record by the band. “Around the Fur” is the album you hide from your parents because there’s boobs on the cover and violence in the lyrics. This holds the actual “heaviest record by Deftones” trophy mentioned previously. There is a palpable, almost uncomfortable anger that can be felt on tracks like “Lhabia,” “Rickets,” and “Lotion,” contrasted with the atmospheric escapism of tracks like “Be Quiet and Drive (Far Away)” and “Dai the Flu.” Nostalgic brownie points aside, “Around the Fur” is a definitive Deftones album, alongside...

Favorite Track: “Be Quiet and Drive (the Fuck outta This Bitch)”
White Pony

What can be said about this record that hasn’t been said time and time again? I know it’s cliché to say, but I’m honestly at a loss. There needs no explanation why this album ranks so highly for me, so I’ll leave you with a funny quote from Chino about the record: “You know, we still had a fun time doing this. As much drama as there was, it was all made up. Another thing, man, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, that shit held us up like a motherfucker, I swear to God, we would come into the studio in the daytime and play that thing until thee in the morning. Terry had to come out of the studio every few hours to try to get us in there.“

Favorite Track: “Pink Maggit”
Diamond Eyes

In terms of tight songwriting. In terms of ethereal atmosphere. In terms of aggressiveness. In terms of all that other bullshit I mentioned. “Diamond Eyes” is king. This album is all killer, absolutely no filler. In the wake of Chi’s passing, Deftones recaptured the glory they had ten years prior on “White Pony” with an added dose of technical proficiency and keyboard-soaked atmosphere. Not only that, the production on this record is an audio engineer’s dream. The recordings sound incredibly crisp and lush, and moments of heaviness are absolutely crushing. I can only hope they can inspire the same kind of excitement on a future record as they did with this in 2010. A perfect, beautiful record in my eyes.

Favorite Track: “Sextape”
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