Welcome to Dissected, where we disassemble a band’s catalog, a director’s filmography, or some other critical pop-culture collection in the abstract. It’s exact science by way of a few beers. This time, we follow Deftones’ career, from their 1995 debut, Adrenaline, to their most recent effort, 2020’s Ohms.
Deftones are a rare band who appeal to metalheads and shoegazers alike, offering a sound that’s both heavy and ethereal. And they’re also a rare band who really hasn’t produced a “bad” album, which makes ranking Deftones’ discography a difficult task. Right away, you’ll see that the “last place” album is a very solid effort.
While Deftones may have emerged out of the nu metal scene of the mid ’90s, their musical maturity and sonic evolution over the past 25 years has distanced the Sacramento, California, outfit from others in that category. Now, placing a genre on Deftones’ music seems like a fruitless endeavor, as their sound is really undefinable.
Led by Chino Moreno’s soaring vocals, and the loud/quiet dynamic of his talented bandmates, Deftones are perhaps the most consistent “heavy” rock act of the past quarter century. Having tragically lost their longtime bassist, Chi Cheng — who died in 2013 after a car crash put him in a semi-coma for almost five years — Deftones have triumphed in their second act, continuing to release quality albums in recent years, with a new one on the way.
While the #1 album on this list was a slam dunk, the rest resulted in a big debate among this ranking’s four writers. What one writer had at #2 was #8 for another writer. So, for now, it’s time to be quiet and drive through Deftones’ masterful discography.
Update: The original ranking has been updated with Deftones’ 2020 album, Ohms.
— Spencer Kaufman, Managing Editor