Celebrating 20 goddamn years this week, our SOTW is none other that Deftones’ iconic single Change (In the House of Flies) from their game-changing White Pony record.
After releasing two nu-metal behemoths in Adrenaline and Around the Fur, the even-then boundary-pushing Deftones sought to open the millenium with a record that redefined not just nu-metal, but heavy music as a movement. It cannot be understated how much influence White Pony has had over modern rock and metal, you just need to see how many artists cite them. By injecting elements of post-punk, post-rock, alternative and soundplay, tracks like Change show Deftones as one of the most creative bands of the time.
One of the forefront adaptors of that famous ‘quiet-loud-quiet” song structure, the track opens on these whispered guitar phrases; their menace bolstered by the nocturnal bass groove, their innocence lifted with Chino’s vocals. Another beautiful touch are the echoes of ambient noise that drift along the mix like ghosts, it really adds to the ethereal quality that Deftones would go on to define their sound by.
This comes to a slow-motion crash as the chorus drills through with a precision that isn’t usually found in music this crushing, with the crash-heavy drums still being interrupted by these godly, intricate snare fills. As the melodically-gratifying breakdown hits, Chino’s vocals have an effeminate, almost goddess-like quality to them that acts as Galadriel-esque beacon of light among that tornado of punishing guitars and bass.
There’s just a finish and class that surrounds Deftones music that distinguishes them from a lot of heavier bands, especially at the time this dropped. That said, this didn’t stop them from some of the heaviest moments in alternative metal. It’s that juxtaposition between finesse and grit, airiness and pummelling weight, that make Deftones, even still, one of the most exciting groups in music, and it’s what makes Change (In the House of Flies) so iconic.