Why ‘White Pony’ is a Masterpiece

The sheer catalog of emotions in 2000 release cements Deftones’ legacy as true artists.



The 2000 metal album “White Pony” takes the cake as Deftones defining sound.

COLE QUINN, Evergreen Sports Photographer

Metal is one of those genres a lot of people nowadays seem to brush off as “just noise.” However, metal is one of the only genres in existence that can be thoroughly dissected artistically. The guitar is an instrument that can push itself into different sounds no matter the genre, and metal pushes this instrument to its limits.

Out of all of the metal albums I have listened to, only one tops the rest of the group. An album that ebbs and flows through emotions and perfectly encapsulates what metal is all about. I could spend time dissecting every song on this album, but I do not have enough room.

While bands like Metallica, Slayer and System of a Down deserve an article of their own, Deftones blows the genre out of the park in their 2000 release “White Pony.”

Lead vocalist Chino Moreno and guitarist Stephen Carpenter struggled with creating material for the album in the first place. Carpenter wanted to write heavier riffs, while Moreno wanted more melodic songs. After arguing, they eventually came together and created a mix of heavy and melodic songs for the album.

The first track, “Back to School (Mini Maggit),” was a song created to please the band’s record label. The band took the riff from the album’s last song and sped it up to create a song that would make money. While the song doesn’t fit into the scheme of the album and is comparable to other basic nu-metal songs at the time, it oddly works as an intro. It is a perfect intro because it acts as a trailer for the rest of the album, representing a combination of angst, melancholy and aggression.

Most of the songs on the album have a variety of themes. The track “Korea” is about drug use, “Feiticeira” is about a kidnapping, “Teenager” is about heartbreak and “Knife Prty” is about eroticism. Some songs have lyrically vague themes – “Passenger” could either be about sex or attaching oneself to another’s life.

The band dives into the more melodic composition on songs like “Teenager” and “Knife Prty,” sending the listener into a swirl of euphoria. The best examples of this are in the tracks “Digital Bath” and “Change (In the House of Flies),” where Moreno sings like an angel over Carpenter’s beautiful guitar work.

Each song has dreamy composition before exploding into a wall of distortion during the chorus. The sampling of certain sounds by the band’s DJ, Frank Delgado, adds another layer of atmosphere that dances alongside Moreno’s voice.

The album weaves heavy songs within softer ones. Songs like “Elite” and “Street Carp” have heavy and dissonant riffs. Moreno sounds like he is about to rip open his vocal cords in “Elite,” screaming at the top of his lungs. The heaviest song on the album is “Korea,” which has a dissonant chord progression that sounds unique compared to other metal songs.

However, the best song in the entirety of the album is saved for last. The track “Pink Maggit” is essentially the first track but slowed down with a lengthy intro and outro. The first and last two minutes of the song have Moreno singing alongside only Carpenter’s guitar and sampling from Delgado. The guitar harmonizes alongside Moreno’s voice like a beautiful duet. Then, the chorus smashes headfirst into a brick wall of depression. The chord progression sounds even more devastating than the version in “Back to School.” The track is one of the best endings to an album I have ever heard, completing a resolution by going back to the very first track.

The flow of heaviness and emotional damage the album supplements is akin to no other metal album out there. Most metal albums are usually consistent in terms of noise and sound, and the ones that try to add a variety of sounds fall flat on their face.

However, “White Pony” is different. The album supplies a perfect yin and yang, with its aggressive songs complementing the melodic ones. The album truly sounds like a journey and should unquestionably be regarded as a masterpiece.

Score: 10/10