21 Best Metal Albums of the 21st Century... So Far

#11: DEFTONES – WHITE PONY

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SPECIAL GUEST BLOGGER CARLOS RAMIREZ OF NOISECREEP AND UNIVERSAL MUSIC GROUP

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whitepony

We recently polled a wide array of musicians, managers, publicists, label reps, and writers from within the world of metal to find out what they thought the 21 Best Metal Albums of the 21st Century So Far have been. Eligible albums were released between January 1, 2000 and April 1, 2009. Each panelist turned in a ballot, with their #1 album worth 21 points, their #2 album worth 20 points, and so on and so forth. The ballots are now in and we’ll be counting down one album a day until we reach #1. Today we present the #11 album, coming in with a total of 162 points…

Deftones, White Pony (Maverick, 2000)

Chino Moreno — Vocals, Guitars
Stephen Carpenter — Guitars
Chi Cheng — Bass
Abe Cunningham Drums
Frank Delgado — Sampling, Electronics
Produced by Terry Date and Deftones

1999 was the year that the Deftones truly created their own little universe. Their first two albums, Adrenaline (1995) and Around the Fur (1997), were both chock full of bombastic guitars, new wave kissed vocal lines, and post-hardcore informed arrangements and their wide-scoped sound helped the Sacramento, CA band find audiences in various facets of the underground music scene. After taking a break from a tour supporting the gold-selling Around the Fur, the group got into their rehearsal space to work on the material which would become their third album.

The new songs pulled from the same left-of-center influences that they had always pulled from but on an entirely different scale. Released in 2000, White Pony was a revelation in sound and vision. This is the album where the Deftones hone in on the quieter, more subtle side of their sonic palette. “RX Queen” features some of the band’s most pop leaning vocal melodies but they’re wrapped in a jittery and often discordant sonic envelope. The buttery glitch of “Teenager” wouldn’t have sounded out of place on a Massive Attack album, but Chino Moreno’s quivering vocal performance pushes and pulls the song into something completely fresh and truly vital.

Even though the Deftones were experimenting with wild abandon, that doesn’t mean they don’t bring out the heavy artillery. “Digital Bath” buzzes with a hypnotic rhythmic refrain during the verses but then explodes with sheets of over-distorted guitars coming off like a twisted blend of The Cure’s atmospherics and the muscle of Godflesh in the matter of seconds. “Korea” and “Street Carp” are savage in their approach and appealed to even the most staunch metalhead fan who couldn’t deal with the group’s changing sound.

Nine years later, White Pony still stands arms and shoulders above most metal/hard rock albums that have come out in its wake. Though the Deftones have released two fine albums since, even they have been working in the shadow of WP. The band suffered a tragic setback last year when bassist Chi Cheng slipped into a coma after a car accident, but the band has soldiered on with Sergio Vega of Quicksand and Absolution fame filling in for the time being. Their next album, Eros, will be released sometime in 2009 so we’ll have to wait to see if they deliver the goods again. The collection was produced by Terry Date (Prong, Pantera), who also helmed White Pony, so we expect great things.

-Carlos Ramirez

Download White Pony from Amazon

THE LIST SO FAR:

#12 – Tool, Lateralus

#13 – Mastodon, Blood Mountain

#14 – System of a Down, Toxicity

#15 – Nachtmystium, Assassins: Black Meddle, Part 1

#16 – Machine Head, The Blackening

#17 – Hatebreed, Perseverance

#18 – Lamb of God, New American Gospel

#19 – Mastodon, Remission

#20 – Shadows Fall, The War Within

#21 – Slipknot, Vol. 3: The Subliminal Verses

THE PANEL OF VOTERS

Chris Adler, Lamb of God
Dan And, Bison B.C.
Ben Apatoff, Apatoff for Destruction
/Metal Injection
Jason Bittner, Shadows Fall
Tim Brennan, Ferret Music/Channel Zero Entertainment
Freddy Cai, Painkiller Magazine
Ian Christe, Bazillion Points
Reverend David J. Ciancio, Yeah! Management
Betsey Cichoracki, Relapse Records
Paul Conroy, Ferret Music/Channel Zero Entertainment
J. Costa, Thy Will Be Done
Dallas Coyle, ex-God Forbid/Coyle Media
Doc Coyle, God Forbid
CT, Rwake
Anso DF, MetalSucks/Hipsters Out of Metal!
Vince Edwards, Metal Blade Records
Charles Elliott, Abysmal Dawn/Nuclear Blast Records
Brian Fair, Shadows Fall
Leo Ferrante, Warner Music Group
D.X. Ferris, author 33 1/3: Reign in Blood/Freelance Journalist
Mike Gitter, Roadrunner Records
Nick Green, Decibel
Matt Grenier, August Burns Red
Anthony Guzzardo, Earache Records
Kevin Hufnagel, Dysrhythmia
Mark Hunter, Chimaira
Steve Joh, Century Media
EJ Johantgen, Prosthetic Records
Kim Kelly, Metal Injection
/Hails & Horns/Freelance Journalist
Josh “The J” Key, Psychostick
Jason Lekberg, Epic Records
Eyal Levi, Daath
Bob Lugowe, Relapse Records
Matt McChesney, The Autumn Offering
Jake McReynolds,
Psychostick
Marc Meltzer, The Syndicate
Josh Middleton, Sylosis
Matt Moore, Rumpelstiltskin Grinder
Vince Neilstein, MetalSucks
Sammy O’Hagar, MetalSucks
Anton OyVey, MetalSucks/Bacon Jew
Rob Pasbani, Metal Injection

Alex Preiss, Psychostick
Carlos Ramirez, NoiseCreep/Universal Music Group
Brian Rocha, Fresno Media USA
Jeremy Rosen, Roadrunner Records
Axl Rosenberg, MetalSucks
Satan Rosenbloom, MetalSucks/Cerebral Metalhead
David Bee Roth, MetalSucks
Jason Rudolph, Heavy Hitter, Inc.

Amy Sciarretto, Roadrunner Records/NoiseCreep
Carl Severson, Ferret Music/Channel Zero Entertainment
Gary Suarez, MetalSucks/No Yoko No/Brainwashed
Geoff Summers, The End Records/Crustcake
Bram Teitelman, The Syndicate/Metal Insider
Alisha Turull, Heavy Hitter, Inc.
Christopher R. Weingarten, 1000TimesYes/Freelance Journalist

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