Hard rockers, the Deftones take their heavy post-grunge ways to another level on third album White Pony. Sensing painful frustrations and personal rediscovery with its allusive microcosm of an album title, the Californian alternative rock five-piece were periodically stifled while making White Pony.
Their 1997 sophomore effort Around the Fur was hailed to blast out commercially, but such pressure crippled the band musically and personally. The band struggled with its direction, trudging through weighed emotion, but White Pony was the tantalizing outcome.The Deftones went soft, but in an impressive way, twisting around its signature punk thrash sound. Frontman Chino Moreno is still intense, and his sour vocals throughout the entire record growl and stomp all over mainstream movements. He is bored with it all. "Feiticeira" calls out against authority with textured guitars and gnarling percussive throws. "Elite" is sonically industrial and embryonic; Moreno's beer-soaked vocals scream like Ministry's Al Jourgensen and Skinny Puppy's Nivek Ogre. Lyrically, Moreno is exquisitely mind-blowing, but his fear is also evident. Check out the fierce ballad-esque "Teenager"-- thinking back to the innocent days when life seemed easy can only be dreams now. Moreno's duet with Tool's Maynard James Keenan on "Passenger" is as equally tender.
The first single "Change (In the House of Flies)" is hardening in the way that punk can be sultry and not just pogo-skanking nonsense. It is honest, stripped, and exposed with it's flowing guitar riffs and haunting orchestral back drops. There aren't any lackluster similarities to Limp Bizkit and KORN. The Deftones have forged ahead, unafraid to delve into the influences of the Smiths and the Cure. They have gotten mysterious, and it's sexy. White Pony was released June 2000. Four months later, the band re-released the album with an added track "Back to School (Mini Maggit) as the second single. The new enhanced CD of White Pony contains a link to the website where the new track can be downloaded free of charge. ~ MacKenzie Wilson