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Ranking Every Deftones Album (9-1)

Mike is a freelance writer exploring obscure media, wyrd tales, and cultural oddities.

Deftones have released nine albums since 1995.

Deftones have released nine albums since 1995.

Since their 1995 debut, Deftones have been pushing the boundaries of what metal and heavy rock could sound like. In that time, they've suffered tragedy, weathered personal issues, and juggled fame, fortune, and relationships to create an incredible collection of albums that have been really good at worse and groundbreakingly astonishing at best. Of course, ranking such a back catalog is no easy task, and there are bound to be some controversial placements. Nonetheless, here is every Deftones album ranked.

9. Saturday Night Wrist (2006)
8. Adrenaline (1995)
7. Koi No Yokan (2012)
6. Around the Fur (1997)
5. Deftones (2003)
4. Gore (2016)
3. Ohms (2020)
2. White Pony (2000)
1. Diamond Eyes (2010)

ranking-every-deftones-album

9. Saturday Night Wrist (2006)

Putting something as good as Saturday Night Wrist in at dead last feels sacrilegious. But again, Deftones have never made a bad album, and well, something had to go here.

Saturday Night Wrist finds the band at their most experimental, and in terms of pure atmospherics, it's one of the group's most fulfilling. That said, the actual songwriting and direction are sometimes all over the place, and it's hardly their most focused effort.

ranking-every-deftones-album

8. Adrenaline (1995)

Metal was going through its "post-everything" stage in the mid-'90s, and more chaotic and eclectic sounds were becoming the norm underground. But while Deftones were far from the first of the many nu-metal bands emerging then, there was something more nuanced about their approach to the developing not-yet-quite-a-genre.

Blending post-hardcore, metal, and industrial rock with a dash of rap, Adrenaline is a landmark release, if nothing else. And while the more progressive tendencies of the group were still in their infancy, this record still holds up well today.

ranking-every-deftones-album

7. Koi No Yokan (2012)

Koi No Yokan took the experimental atmospherics showcased on Saturday Night Wrist and synergized them with a high-energy metal attack to create one of their most underrated albums. And though it wasn't as groundbreaking for the band as other efforts, the band's sound is so polished and honed here that it's also one of their most consistently enticing.

ranking-every-deftones-album

6. Around the Fur (1997)

Deftones built on their 1995 debut with Around the Fur by adding their now iconic shoegaze approach to proceedings. It would also be the first Deftones album to see them utilize a loud-quiet dynamic. The result is an album that, while still bludgeoningly heavy at times, is a little less chaotic and more polished around the edges. And while there was better to come, tracks like "Be Quiet and Drive (Far Away)" remain some of the greatest songs the band would put to record.

ranking-every-deftones-album

5. Deftones (2003)

In some respects, the Deftones' only self-titled release will be remembered as the 'difficult' follow-up album every band that scores a breakthrough inevitably has. But while it couldn't compete commercially or critically with 2000's White Pony, it's also the album that proved that Deftones could go in any direction they wanted musically. And it showed that they weren't confined to a time, place, and genre like their nu-metal contemporaries.

The album is also noted for being their moodiest piece and the trip-hop influences that make themselves known throughout. Yet, there are also some absolute belters here, the true highlight being the heavily layered shoegaze-metal styled "Minerva."

ranking-every-deftones-album

4. Gore (2016)

There's only so long you can push a genre's boundaries before you seem to move past it entirely. And with Gore, Deftones found themselves as far away from their original alt-metal sounds as they had ever ventured. Supposedly, this led to some creative frictions within the band. But whether you call it metal, space rock, or dream pop, you also have to call this record astounding.

ranking-every-deftones-album

3. Ohms (2020)

If previous effort Gore saw the Deftones moving away from metal, then Ohms is the sound of the band on a new way back home. Indeed, Ohms is the most brutal and powerful the band has sounded in years. Unexpected, perhaps, from a band that you'd think would be slowing down by now.

ranking-every-deftones-album

2. White Pony (2000)

White Pony has long been considered the group's magnum opus of sorts. Indeed, as Mike Diver of Clash Magazine put it, White Pony is the album that "changed everything – not just for Deftones, but metal as a whole." And, despite being described as a "difficult" album, it's also their most commercially successful, spawning the hits "Change (In The House of Flies)" and "Back to School (Mini Maggit)," both reaching platinum status.

ranking-every-deftones-album

1. Diamond Eyes (2010)

Diamond Eyes may have come from a place of tragedy, but it's also the most hyper-focused, energized, and brilliant record that Deftones have ever released. But it isn't even the album fans were supposed to get. The band was initially working on an album tentatively called Eros when bassist Chi-Cheng was involved in a car crash that eventually proved fatal. As a result, Eros found itself on the shelf, and the band began work on a statement of sorts in Diamond Eyes.

That statement proved to be one of optimism and vitality as the band shed the Radiohead-like gloominess that previously defined them. Instead, the riff-heavy Diamond Eyes sees the band present a scaled-back but boisterous sound. It's unashamedly Nu-Metal but far more vital than anything that genre produced in its heyday. And yes, it's even better than White Pony.

© 2022 Mike Grindle