Review Summary: Maybe they're getting tired.
San Francisco metal foursome Deftones are one of my favorite bands ever to be completely honest; I’ve loved em’ since “Adrenaline” all the way to “Diamond Eyes”. They’ve been pretty consistent with only one minor hiccup in their discography, that being their self-titled record. Today I logged back on to Sputnik after a long break from writing and editing reviews to see what was going on and I saw that Deftones’ new release already had a review on it. To my general astonishment I also saw that it had a 4.6 rating; other notable albums with a 4.6 on this website include Radiohead’s absolutely classic LP “OK Computer” and also the timeless hardcore record “The Shape of Punk to Come” by Refused. I thought to myself, “It can’t be THAT good”, so I browsed Google for a bit and found an album stream. Now, after listening, I’m truly convinced that “Koi No Yokan” is certainly just a hype train. Not disappointing by any means… well, maybe in the fact that it doesn’t sound as fresh because of its similarities to the other albums but other than that it’s not disappointing as much as it is alarming. It’s alarming in the sense that maybe Chino Moreno and friends have starting growing tired, as this album is definitely not as creative as their other releases, but still a good release nonetheless.
Though the creative machine appears to be running on empty, the trademark Deftones soft-loud alt-metal style is still here and well executed. Abe and Sergio prove to be one of the better rhythm sections around, Stephen is still riffing about, Frankie is doing his deed on the keys providing a contrasting atmosphere for the intensity, and Chino is well…Chino. Lyrical content maybe isn’t as imaginative as prior releases but at least he’s still screaming like a banshee and belting it out on key. From the sonic standpoint, I see no issues in the band’s approach.
Deftones’ material on this LP can be divided into three categories; aggressive-heavy, conservative-melodic, and or a mixture of both. Honestly, I have to say their better when they’re heavier. Tracks like “Swerve City”, “Goon Squad” and “Poltergeist” do pretty well, with “Goon Squad” being the strongest of the three. “Goon Squad” starts with a Chavez-esque intro but then segues directly into classic Deftones; loud, aggressive and confrontational. Chino does very well on this track, contrasting the atmospheric melodies in the choruses with his now recognizable growl. The conservative side is where they’re at their weakest on this release; it seems like they kind of forced themselves to make softer material. It doesn’t sound bad, but these tracks have a dull tendency about them bogging down the release as a whole. “Entombed” is well put together in spots but one can’t help but think of Circa Survive when listening to this track. All in all it’s a unified release though it’s riddled with inconsistencies.
Secondly, my pick for best track on the album is “Leathers”, which shows the group--more or less--using their creative side. Starting off with a ill-omened soft dynamic ambience, the band then takes a page from Hum’s notebook, starting abruptly into the main riff, catching fans by surprise. This song bares a glossy chorus after the initial wall of strumming, proving that there is still some of that creative fuel left in the tank. It’s a nice single, but it causes the rest of the album to appear a bit frail in comparison.
In conclusion, Deftones craft a solid release but it’s very inconsistent and some songs feel like they were forced and incomplete. It’s good to see one of my “faves” releasing albums still but I’d rather them release something that’ll blow my mind instead of something that I’ll listen to about 5 times and push aside. Though it’s a good Deftones release, it just feels like a tired one too. They had a good run, but time is seemingly catching up to them even if they’re still way ahead of their peers.