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Although unfairly lumped within the nu metal movement, Deftones have always been somewhat of an anomaly amongst their peers. Although their first album, Adrenaline
, was standard Korn influenced nu metal fare, full of chunky, syncopated guiar riffs, heavy bass lines and Chino Moreno’s hauntingly eerie style of vocalization, proceeding albums such as 2000’s White Pony
(which is often hailed as the bands best work) separated the band from the pack, adding touches of new wave and shoegaze to the band’s developng alternative metal sound. In 2007, during the recording sessions of the band’s sixth album titled Eros
original member and bassist Chi Cheng was involved in a serious car accident that resulted in him falling into a coma, an event that unsurprisingly put the completion of Eros
to a resounding halt. Despite this major setback, the band decided to temporaily scrap the Eros
project, hire former Quicksand bassist Sergio Vega and record what would eventually become 2010’s Diamond Eyes.
With Diamond Eyes
the Deftones transcend beyond their alternative metal roots, blossoming into a musical entity that surpasses any type of descripion through conventional terms. Simultaneously containing a crushing heaviness, yet a strange sense of serenity, Diamond Eyes
throughout its length, proves to be an extremely dynamic record. Songs like “Royal” and “CMND/CTRL” not only feature the innovative, downtuned guitar work of Stephen Carpenter coupled with the complex polyrhythmic drumming of Abe Cunningham, but also contain key moments of thick ambience bridgng the gap between the heaviness of the Deftones roots and the more experimental path that more recent albums have taken. Performing much like he always has, Chino Moreno wears his heart on his sleeve during much of this album, putting everything he has into his vocal delivery, whether it be pristine clean singing on opener and title track “Diamond Eyes” or the frantic, high pitched screeches that be seen on songs like “Rocket Skates” or “Prince”.
It will never really be known what came to fuel the band during the recording process of Diamond Eyes
; whether it a strange inspiration set by the sudden coma of Chi Cheng or a random explosion of creative genius, Deftones have crafted what could very well be the best record of their long career. Chi Cheng may be out of the picture for the moment, but it will warm of the hearts of many to know that the Deftones are honoring him in the only way they know how; rocking their hearts out.
By Brandon Nurick
Originally posted for ReviewRinseRepeat.com