Review Summary: Deftones go back "Around The Fur" on studio album number Six
A fire has been re-kindled in the heart of one of the most enigmatic bands in contemporary music. Deftones return to action with a new found artistic drive which has been missing from the Sacramento five-piece since the days of the ethereal “White Pony” album.
Unfortunately, this return to form comes in the wake of the well documented tragedy that has gripped the band, that being; the near fatal motor accident that still threatens the life of bassist Chi Cheng.
From personal turmoil to inter-band tensions (which have plagued the band since the recording sessions of previous album “Saturday Night Wrist”), comes the latest and possibly greatest addition to the Deftones legacy.
“Diamond Eyes” sees the Deftones (now joined by Sergio Vega of Quicksand fame on bass duties) explode with new found drive and passion. Long term fans of the band will notice a return to the blunt down-tuned heaviness which encapsulated “Around The Fur” but acting as a counter-balance to the ferocity comes some of the most breathtaking melodies and fluid, layered harmonies that the band has ever produced.
Frank Delgado’s electronics play a more prominent role on this album, as they sparkle and add depth to Steph Carpenters elephantine riffs. This can be seen in the title track which deftly entwines the elegant with the visceral. When the riffs at the beginning of the first single “Rocket Skates” burst into life, Chino Moreno croons, luring the listener into a false sense of security before unleashing the shrieks of “Guns...Razors…Knifes!!”. This is a phrase which in the hands of many other bands may come across as adolescent yet in these circumstances - it sounds like a threat!
Steph Carpenter's Nothing-era Meshuggah influence rears its mechanical head on numerous tracks such as the ending of "Royal", and more evidently on "You've Seen The Butcher", whose skewed grooves slows the tone of the album after the pace of the first three tracks. Another album highlight "Risk" revives Chino's sexually murderous vocal overtones to great effect.
Some of the lighter tracks on the album are capable of being placed upon the same throne as classics such as “Change (In The House Of Flies)”, examples being - "Sextape" which utilises the dreamy Smashing Pumpkins-style guitars found on “White Pony”, and "Beauty School" which possesses possibly the best vocal performance of the album.
The record as a whole is a major step up from the disjointed approach of “Saturday Night Wrist”, and after the difficulties of the past two years, Deftones have come through the trials with a style that should be applauded. The overall genius of the album lies in the Deftones use of restraint when developing the structures of these compositions. Most bands upon release of their new album state “our new album is more aggressive, more melodic and more mature”. However, in the case of “Diamond Eyes” this statement has never been more appropriate; a possible album of the year contender.
Only question that remains – how does the recordings for “Eros” measure up?