Deftones
Koi No Yokan


3.5
great

Review

by GiantMan USER (14 Reviews)
November 12th, 2012 | 325 replies


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Deftones remain at the top of their game, but still with room to grow.

Deftones, formed way back in 1988, have stayed strong in a much more palpable way than some of their contemporaries; while Korn, Linkin Park and Limp Bizkit have descended into gimmicks and nostalgia acts, Deftones produced one of the best albums of their career in 2010, with Diamond Eyes, in the difficult aftermath of the car-crash which left their bassist, Chi Cheng, in a coma. The new record, Koi No Yokan, whose name is based on a Japanese proverb describing love at first sight, most definitely continues their trend at making great music that defines the alternative metal genre. While it may not be as strong as their previous offering, and has some structural flaws, it opens some new ground that has the potential to take the band in a very interesting direction.

The opening track, ‘Swerve City’, plunges the listener head-first into a wall of hard-hitting distortion that throbs with energy. This heavier mode that was so well explored in Diamond Eyes is a place where Deftones have really made their home. They own those unconventional chords washed with a wall of distortion, and it really shows in this album. ‘Leathers’ thunders against its atmospheric opening, ‘Tempest’ truly lives up to its name, and the ‘Gauze’ and ‘Goon Squad’ simply require headbanging with their grungy, colossal riffs. This is, to a fair extent, a result of current bassist, Sergio Vega’s increased influence on the album. He has been involved much more in the creative process, and his menacing, distorted bass lines on ‘Poltergeist’and ‘Rosemary’ most definitely add to the sound. Although this isn't anything new, Deftones have a way of keeping the sound fresh, which, to no small extent is down to Chino Moreno’s constantly improving vocals. Having screamed himself through Diamond Eyes, his approach is much more varied on Koi No Yokan, with more inventive phrasing, fantastic intonation and a great tone. That isn't to say that he doesn't let loose at other times, he most definitely does, and the contrast lends these moments so much more power; the Celtic Frost-style scream that crashes in after a quiter passage in ‘Tempest’ sends a wave of shivers down your spine.

However, the album is more complex than some distortion-coated musical gorilla, and it’s interesting to hear how the group have returned to more ambient passages, which are scattered prolifically throughout the album. On the other hand, it is in these sections that the flaws of the album become more visible. Their potential and subtelty, particularly at the beginning of tracks, such as ‘Leathers’ and ‘Goon Squad’, is destroyed almost immediately by a heavy, sudden guitar entry. They are given some more space to develop on ‘Entombed’ and ‘Rosemary’, that latter of which is probably the best thought-out track on the record with regards to structure, but they lack something. You can’t help but feel that they’re waiting for the next crash of guitars, not least due to the fact that Moreno’s vocals sound a little bored in some of the more quiet passages. There’s definitely room to grow here, and some advice from bands like ISIS would be well heeded – ambient or more space-y sections require building, a gentler hand to integrate them into the song, which takes nothing away from heavier, rougher passages, quite the opposite, but here they just feel arbitrary, like they’re tacked on for the sake of an intro to induce some variety.

Variety is clearly an obstacle that the band has tried to deal with on the album; this kind of forceful music requires a great deal of energy in order to maintain the listener’s engagement. However, the usual method to relieve this tension and add variety to the album structure, appears to have been stumbled upon on Koi No Yokan. While some individual songs lack coherency, whether due to the ambience discussed above or the drastic tempo changes of ‘Romantic Dreams’, this is also a problem for the album overall. It is not until track five, ‘Entombed’, that it really pauses for breath, and even then it seems reluctant, resulting in a fairly mushy-sounding slower track that never quite builds to what it promises, when it might have been better to explore the opening of ‘Leather’ a little more, instead of snatching back towards the heavy distortion that has become safe territory. Equally, by the end, although ‘Rosemary’ goes a great way to exploring something different, ‘What happened’ is a thoroughly underwhelming track on which to finish the album. Following such an intense record, its quieter sound severely lacks the energy to cap it off, despite its promising beginning.

Although this review has dwelled fairly extensively on the albums shortcomings, it is still well worth listening to. It’s great music, and I am glad that the band are branching out again from the solid, riff-heavy sound of Diamond Eyes, but they don’t quite pull it off in the manner one might expect from artists of a calibre as high as Deftones. It's not a game changer, not by a long shot, but it is truly exciting that Deftones have proven that they still have places to go.

http://giantmanmusic.wordpress.com



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user ratings (2133)
Chart.
4
excellent
other reviews of this album
1 of
  • Nick Mongiardo CONTRIBUTOR (4)
    ...

    wwba (2)
    Extremely mediocre (I can't see why so many people overrate it) but it has a few decent mo...

    Bwgrotha1s (4.5)
    Just another great CD you can have in your collection from the Deftones...

    Joe Denby (2)
    Painful in my indifference....

  • stalinrules (2)
    Introducing: 2012's most overrated album....

    NagasakiBomber (4)
    Many bands wish they were able to release an album as consistently jaw dropping as this on...

    Mike Denison (3)
    Beauty that assaults your ears for an hour, begging you to tell her she's pretty the whole...

    Eli EMERITUS (2.5)
    Incredibly tepid and uncharacteristically dull, "Koi No Yokan" sees Deftones forget what h...

  • Greg Fisher STAFF (4.4)
    A remarkably consistent effort from the band that triumphs without altering its style....

    someguest (5)
    Love....

    MezoIsMusic (4.5)
    “Koi No Yokan” is a truly beautiful Japanese concept that is untranslatable. It is the...

    pbass0 (4.5)
    Continuing to blend beauty and primal aggression like no band before or after, Deftones re...

  • Deadwing42 (4.5)
    Colors explode across the spectrum of a new Deftones sound that explores beauty, brutality...

    Adam Edwards (5)
    Deftones shed their superficial skin as an Alt-Metal band and finally show their textures ...

    Jeremy Bentham (4.5)
    Bursting at the seams with energy, aggression, and emotion, Koi No Yokan sits comfortably ...

    Chinomaster182 (4)
    Deftones in their new record have managed to navigate the close gap between staying true t...

  • Spagett (3.5)
    Maybe they're getting tired....

    fiendish (4.5)
    Yeah, it’s a Deftones release, but it ain’t just another Deftones release. They’ve o...


Comments:Add a Comment 
ti0n
November 12th 2012


1591 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

couldn't agree more, finally someone who writes more objectively. the second last paragraph is pretty much what i also think about this album. pos'd

Digging: The Decemberists - What A Terrible World, What A Beautiful World

EvoHavok
November 12th 2012


1500 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

At least it's another one under 4.5 :P and one of the best, too.


Digging: DIR EN GREY - Arche

zxlkho
November 12th 2012


3472 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

jesus fucking christ please stop reviewing this

TronaldDump
November 12th 2012


500 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

but don't stop 5'ing this

BigPleb
November 12th 2012


37960 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

There are bands other than Deftones to fucking review!

Good review, though.

Digging: Arc Iris - Arc Iris

TronaldDump
November 12th 2012


500 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

there are movies other than the big lebowski to base your user name off of

oh wait, the big lebowski fucking owns

BigPleb
November 12th 2012


37960 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Im shomer shabbos

taxidermist
November 12th 2012


7212 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Agreed.

Shuyin
November 12th 2012


12062 Comments


'Oh man I gotta pos, i didn't think the day would go by without a deftones review'

lol

StrangerofSorts
Contributing Reviewer
November 12th 2012


2719 Comments


4.3 average makes me want to go full Baseline.

taxidermist
November 12th 2012


7212 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

A full Baseline of sorts.

StrangerofSorts
Contributing Reviewer
November 12th 2012


2719 Comments


never go full Baseline

foreverendeared
November 12th 2012


14678 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

2 and 10 are the only standout tracks IMO. And this is from a rabid Deftones fan. The rest are either good or meh.

dammets
November 12th 2012


2035 Comments


That's not what koi no yokan means. It's the feeling that you're going to fall in love. Not actually falling in love

StrangerofSorts
Contributing Reviewer
November 12th 2012


2719 Comments


A middle-ground/negative review could do a lot with that...

Insurrection
Contributing Reviewer
November 12th 2012


21817 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

"2 and 10 are the only standout tracks IMO. And this is from a rabid Deftones fan. The rest are either good or meh."

those are two of the weakest ones for me. try giving it a few more listens to see if the others grow on you

Digging: Todd Terje - It's Album Time

Kiran
Emeritus
November 12th 2012


6002 Comments


if this were another 4.5 or 5 review, there would be grounds to complain about 'yet another review' but anything 3.5 or lower should be welcomed for offering a perspective that isn't (and i say this endearingly) as rabid

SlMBOLlC
November 12th 2012


5296 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

rosemar, tempest, leathers and entombed are all 5/5 for me. Not sure bout rest tho

Cygnatti
November 12th 2012


22339 Comments


when will this hype train end plz?

Digging: Jerry Lee Lewis - Live at the Star Club, Hamburg

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
November 12th 2012


16131 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

never



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