Across eight studio albums and a handful of compilations, EPs and live offerings, Sacramento's Deftones have firmly established themselves as leaders, not followers, in the world of heavy music, constantly seeking, always pushing boundaries. From the fiery, churning alt-metal of 1995's Adrenaline to the seething, slithering atmospheric rock of 2016's Gore, the band have never satisfied themselves with treading familiar ground. With a new full-length on the horizon, and 2000's watershed White Pony about to turn 20, we asked you to pick the group's single greatest album. See the top five vote-getters below.
Between the dreadlocks, the big pants, the rapped verses and downtuned riffage, Deftones bore all the hallmarks of the then-incipient nu-metal scene when they dropped their ferocious 1995 debut, the aptly titled Adrenaline. But even on this early offering, the band was infinitely more multilayered and ambitious than the many copycats that would follow. No wonder explosive cuts like "Bored" and "7 Words" are still welcomed staples of the band's live set.
Koi No Yokan takes its title from an untranslatable Japanese phrase loosely meaning "the feeling upon first meeting someone that you will inevitably fall in love with them." Fittingly, the album is rife with premonitions, dreams and romance, from the hard-hitting "Swerve City" to the swaggering, crooning "Leathers" to the atmospheric trudge of "Tempest." But the 2012 LP is a deep well: Even its non-singles, like "Entombed" and "Rosemary," rank among the Sacramento quartet's finest.
Revolver named it the best album of the 2010s, and for good reason: With Diamond Eyes, the Deftones pulled great art out of tragedy. Two years before, bassist Chi Cheng was in a car crash that left him in a coma (he would die in 2013), an event that crystallized for his bandmates the need to make a new beginning — they scrapped a record, Eros, recorded before the accident — and truly seize the day. Diamond Eyes seethes and soars with vibrant, primal, sexual urgency that even now, 10 years later, remains undiluted.
1997's Around the Fur was Deftones' creative turning point when the band really found itself and the full range of its expansive, expressive sound. It was a game-changer. Produced by Terry Date, the album was completed in Seattle in just four months and created a yearning, yet aggressive musical landscape that sound-alike nu-metal bands couldn't even imagine. When we interviewed frontman Chino Moreno in 2017, he said without hesitation, "That's my favorite record." "We were very confident," he added, "knowing that what each one of us had to offer, individually and collectively, as a band couldn't be fucked with." Word.
Of course, Deftones' seminal White Pony was your No. 1 pick. Set to turn 20 next month, the band's third studio album boasts bona fide classics: "Change (In the House of Flies)," "Digital Bath," "Passenger" (featuring none other than Maynard James Keenan) and Grammy-winning cut "Elite." The watershed LP marked not only huge growth for the band in terms of commercial reach, but also in creative range, as Chino Moreno and Co. fused their signature alt-metal grooves with ambient electronics, synth-pop, experimental rock and trip-hop. The result is a true modern masterpiece.