Deftones

Diamond Eyes

Written by: PP on 17/05/2010 03:49:21

"Eros" was meant to be the sixth Deftones studio album, but in respect to their dearly beloved bassist Chi Cheng who is still alternating between a coma and a minimally conscious state due to a car accident in 2008, a collective decision was taken to indefinitely postpone the album until Chi's recovery. As time has passed by, hope of Chi returning anytime soon has slowly diminished, and people are starting to move on with their lives. So the band has enlisted former Quicksand bassist Sergio Vega to fill in for Cheng on their newest album "Diamond Eyes".

It would be interesting to hear out how "Eros" would've sounded like because the band refers to it as one of their most aggressive and darkest albums to date. "Diamond Eyes" feels like a step in the opposite direction and a radical change from "Saturday Night Wrist", but at the same time, it's full of references to older "Around The Fur" and "White Pony"-era material, one reason why many older critics have received the album so favourably. Both the melodies and Chino's croons are slightly more dreamy and restrained in comparison to the 2006 record - almost thoughtful and introspective in places - but a song like "Royal" shows that Chino hasn't entirely abandoned his scream-laden cries, although it's still far from the scrambled screams of songs like "My Own Summer" or "Knife Party". Instead, Deftones take the 'experimental nu-metal' label that they are sometimes associated with even further, filling majestic soundscapes with crushing walls of sound, demonstrating for today's core bands how punishing a breakdown can be when it has the Deftones brand stamped all over it. Rise Records roster: see the title track's ending for a textbook example of how to integrate a meaningful breakdown into a song.

But beyond such small details, the songs on "Diamond Eyes" are clearly written with murky, echoing halls in mind, where Moreno's whisperous screaming style gains a life of its own from, taking full advantage of the power of dark ambiance to expand the songs into every direction possible. The howls, the wails, the screams, they all sound menacing in places, leaving this scribe in awe over how Moreno's able to capture such a deranged vocal performance in a mere studio environment. It's the sort of stuff that'll give you chills when witnessed live, I'm sure of it.

In summary, "Diamond Eyes" is yet another power demonstration from one of the most unique bands from the past two decades or so. It shows Deftones exploring new corners of their sound while still maintaining the same red thread that they have followed for the entirety of their career: delivering back-chilling vocal melodies and crushingly heavy, simple, effect-laden down tuned guitar riffs that are both grating and melodic at the same time. It's not a surprising album by any means, but it continues the surge of strength that "Saturday Night Wrist" left us with four years ago.

8

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Release date 04.05.2010
Warner Bros / Reprise

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