Review Summary: Not better than White Pony.. but close.
Every music listener knows the importance of energy. A song that lacks it is likely to flop, while those with a lot of it tend to do great. This is especially evident in metal. The stereotypical metal song is expected to be something to headbang and mosh to. However, perhaps what makes some bands different from typical metal acts is the focus on atmosphere. Indeed, many of the best out there pay equal attention to both energy and atmosphere. Listeners are able to move their heads while having their minds mesmerized simultaneously. Enter Deftones and Diamond Eyes
Deftones are all too commonly lumped into the nu-metal genre. While one can see how this happened for casual listeners, all true fans know that there is much more involved. Diamond Eyes
itself reminds listeners much more of Meshuggah than Korn. In fact, guitarist Stephen Carpenter's favorite band's influence is all over the place as he plays some of the heaviest riffs in the entire discography. This should not imply that this is an extreme metal record though. The (very) low-tuned eight-string guitar is met equally with the rather beautiful ambiance thanks to Frank Delgado. For every riff, there is a lushy (for the lack of a better term) stream of atmosphere with it.
All Deftones fans are aware of the tragedy that hit in November 2008, when bassist Chi Cheng was seriously injured in a car accident. To date, he is still recovering. His future may be uncertain, but his brothers have continued on with his face always on their minds. The band has brought in former Quicksand bassist Sergio Vega in his place and he does a fantastic job on this album. He may not be Cheng, but he seems to fit in perfectly with rhythm partner Abe Cunningham, who may be the most underrated drummer of modern metal. Even on the most subdued tracks, he is all over the place, pounding away seemingly with the right amount each time.
Who can forget vocalist Chino Moreno? After being mocked constantly during the Saturday Night Wrist
years because of his weight gain (due to quitting many drugs), he is now in the best shape of his life. That includes his vocals. This is without a doubt his greatest singing performance of his career. Yes, his screaming is still that high pitched bark that is never overused. Even better is his crooning, almost moaning singing, used lightly in his traditional almost-whisper in quiet parts, often used before he soars beautifully over the lushy sections mentioned before. It is enough to bring chills.
All of this results in what one of the best albums by one of the best bands in today's metal. The songs are diverse, though not as much as on White Pony
. The individual parts themselves, however, are multiplied. Abe and Sergio forge the skeleton, shaped perfectly and healthy enough to never deteriorate. Stef forms the muscle, thick with strength, but does not abuse its power. Frank is the skin, covering everything and improving with a protective smooth layer. Finally, Chino is the soul, the mind, and the personality that even the best body needs. No part can go without the other. It all works together to create a truly artistic accomplishment that even God should be proud of.