Review Summary: Colors explode across the spectrum of a new Deftones sound that explores beauty, brutality, and everything in between in a perfectly calculated ratio.
It begins with a bang- an explosive, propulsive riff that bounces and swings unlike any Deftones riff to come before it. Instead of pummeling the listener with trademark Deftones brutality, opener Swerve City launches the listener –and the band- into the stratosphere, and we are never given a chance to look back. When the verses kick in, Chino’s vocals allow the song to soar, and we are fully introduced to the Deftones of Koi No Yokan, a group as concerned with their own musical evolution and dynamics as ever, but also one that has retooled their style enough to create a sound that reaches beyond anything they have ever done before.
The greatest shift offered by Koi No Yokan is a textural one. Though the duality of Deftones sound has been widely recognized throughout their career (how many people have described the band as “Cure loving metal heads” at this point?), they have never before created an atmosphere as all-encompassing as the one found on their 7th LP. Stephen Carpenter’s chugging, bludgeoning riffs have relinquished their typically dominating control over the music just enough for the rest of the band to shine through in new ways, especially in concerns to the keyboards. From the lush synthesizers found on “Entombed” to the subtle, underlying keys carrying the chorus of “Gauze”, Frank Delgado has imprinted a unique texture on the album that makes his work more apparent than ever before. This prominence, which can be found all throughout the record, is a big part of what holds Koi No Yokan together and makes it the group’s most cohesive album yet. Each track segues excellently into the next, sometimes almost seamlessly, and with every song displaying a consistent level of high quality, it makes for an album that can easily hold a listener’s attention throughout its entirety. From the ingenious attention-absorbing tempo changes of “Romantic Dreams” to the driving aggression of “Poltergeist, to the frantic urgency of “Graphic Nature” to the tension-filled “Tempest” and “Rosemary,” there is hardly a dull moment to be found on Koi No Yokan.
As colors explode across the spectrum of a new Deftones sound that explores beauty, brutality, and everything in between in a perfectly calculated ratio, it feels fully possible that time will reveal this album as the band’s masterpiece. At the very least, it has certainly proven, for the seventh time, that the Deftones are always at least a few steps ahead of their peers. They are always capable and willing to evolve, and for that, they will always remain a vital component of today’s music scene.