Review Summary: A remarkably consistent effort from the band that triumphs without altering its style.
Out of all nu-metal bands that went platinum in the late 1990s, Deftones are truly unique. While the trend they were clearly a part of was hardly long-lasting with many popular acts disbanding quickly or releasing subpar records that could only appeal to their hardcore fans, the Sacramento outfit have remained relevant since pivotal Around The Fur
. The following disc White Pony
took their style to the new level integrating notable ethereal qualities into the band's endearing, if basic brand of alternative metal. Their music was still based on sharp, down-tuned riffs of Stephen Carpenter and outstanding vocal skills of Chino Moreno, yet the layers of haunting atmosphere on many tracks coupled with masterful songwriting resulted in their magnum opus. Even though their three subsequent releases were great in their own right drifting either in relentless heaviness or a dreamier, more shoegaze-inspired territory, the quintet's elusively titled new record Koi No Yokan
is certainly the closest they've ever been to recapturing the magic of formidable White Pony
As opposed to “love at the first sight,” the Japanese phrase “koi no yokan” refers to love that isn't immediate, but it is totally inevitable. Similarly, the seventh Deftones album may not be instantly alluring, yet it easily ranks among the band's very best work. Chino Moreno was the first to admit that the band feels rejuvenated now. This kind of statement tends to be overused these days, but in this case the music perfectly justifies it. Although Koi No Yokan
doesn't represent any significant stylistic shift settling in a signature Deftones style, its refreshing approach to meshing familiar influences cuts through the entire disc.
The album mostly revolves around dynamics, and the act's fusion of sounds heavy and fragile is in a class by itself. “Leathers” softly kicks off only to suddenly burst into bombastic verses climaxing in an enthralling chorus. In contrast, “Tempest” avoids jarring shifts gradually releasing tension to supremely chilling effect. Both these tracks heavily rely on Moreno's vocals that seem more passionate and emotionally wrenching than ever before. The singer has always been amazingly versatile, and his performance on Koi No Yokan
is no exception. He expertly contrasts intense screams with wistful, frequently ethereal melodies. The songwriting has vastly improved though giving him an opportunity to shine in a multitude of memorable choruses.
Koi No Yokan
also flows way better than the previous three releases of the outfit. The infectiously straightforward “Swerve City” makes room for the brooding sensuality of “Romantic Dreams,” while the colossal groove of “Poltergeist” is juxtaposed with atmospheric dreampop of “Entombed”. The album’s second half is more ominous in its tone with sinister “Graphic Nature” and jaded “Gauze” that's packed with atonal riffs. The production of Nick Raskulinecz seems more spacey than on Diamond Eyes
allowing listeners to trace the subtlest nuances more easily.
Overall, Koi No Yokan
is a remarkably consistent effort from the band that triumphs without altering its style. Deftones seem to believe in the power of quality song craft rather than innovation, and that attitude has turned out to be extremely rewarding for them. The album glitters with supreme melodies as much as crushes with massive riffs showcasing the quintet's most accomplished material in over a decade.