on April 18, 2010
As if any of them aren't?
I've seriously listened to this thing (since I downloaded it, shhhh, relax I pre-ordered it too) probably close to 30 times straight. It's just 'off the wall' (as Chino vocalizes in one of the tracks, lol)......
There are a couple of light tracks that take a few spins to click, but once they do, they're just as addicting as the heavy numbers. 'Rocket Skates' and 'Diamond Eyes' are honestly just teasers, even if fantastic ones, to prepare you for the rest of the album.
After more than a couple spins, it was obvious that we can at least partially thank Stephan's love of Meshuggah for what I feel is his most crushing guitar tone to date. Frank's creativity with the samples and keys doesn't let up either and it's really cool what he's come up with on this one. As for Chino (one of my all-time favorite vocalists), he's of course in top form........whether he uses his insane scream or his soothing whisper of beauty.....the range and variation is here.
The album contains at least 2-3 tracks that should be solidified in Deftones setlist from now on..........some of my favorite tracks by the band. This album will take listeners through a wonderful journey of fresh noise, while building anew from Saturday Night Wrist, White Pony, and Around the Fur.
Chi would be proud guys......no worries......and my hat goes off to you for losing a brother (hopefully only temporarily) and continuing on, since we all know by now how hard it was to get through SNW in one piece. What's even more disturbing to me is that there is ANOTHER Deftones record, entitled Eros, just sitting on the shelf prior to Chi's accident. Wow......just wow. If they could pull Diamond Eyes off within a mere 6 months, and Eros already before that, I CAN'T WAIT for what else these 5 guys can do in the studio.
on May 11, 2010
I have a habit of buying albums and then selling them eventually.
It is this habit that led me to buy pretty much all of the prior Deftones albums, and then sell all of them.
Diamond Eyes makes me feel like a total idiot for doing that, because it is so good it has caused me to re-think my opinion of the Deftones completely.
In the context of this masterpiece of an album, it's now very apparent that the Deftones are one of the greatest modern bands.
Basically, this album took me by complete surprise - I got it because of all the positive reviews I was seeing, but my attitude was "Well, it can't be as good as everyone is saying, right?". But it is. This album is lots of things. It kicks you in the face with aggression at times. It also demonstrates the mellow, melodic influences of the band at other times. At all times, it is clearly the work of a lot of effort by the band to put out the best record they can - it is an emotional record in many ways, likely due in large part to the tragedy of Chi. And it needs to be viewed in the context of Eros, the record they recorded right before this one and then cast aside as not being good enough. Clearly they were determined to put out something great, not merely something they could get some album sales off of and promote on a tour.
What stands out the most for me on this album is how good of a singer Chino is, and how his voice can be so melodic, and yet so harsh, sometimes pretty much at the same time. I think he is one of rock's greatest singers, alongside a diverse array of singers with unique never-will-be-replicated voices such as Robert Plant, Mike Patton, Maynard James Keenan, Morrissey, and others.
There really is no need to go further in this review, because the task at hand for you, the reader, is simple. If you truly liked any Deftones album in the past, you will almost certainly like this one, as long as you appreciate both the aggressive and soft sides of the band - therefore you NEED to buy it, and give it plenty of listens to digest it before deciding if you like it or not. If you only like one of those sides of the band, or if you never liked the band at all, then you are unlikely to like this album, because it really is a culmination of all of the best aspects the Deftones have offered in the past.
Essentially, while adding nothing really new to their music, Diamond Eyes is the perfect crystallization of years of effort by the band to achieve a certain type of sound - a sound no other band comes close to pulling off - the Deftones sound.
on February 27, 2011
It is no secret that the Deftones have had quiet a few bumps in the road as of late. In fact, some kind of trouble or another has followed in-toe of literally every one of their releases of late. 2000's "White Pony" may have a commercial breakthrough, but its musical direction also produced some complaints. Guitarist Stef Carpenter (who grumbled about its lack of heaviness) was even be found getting into a shoving match with his peers once or twice. In addition, after "White Pony," these Sacramento, California stalwarts arguably seemed a bit stumped about where to go next. (A theory that was brought to life when they finally emerged with a self-titled follow-up in 2003, a release that was unnecessarily long considering it did not bring anything really new to the table.) The `Tones released "Saturday Night Wrist" three years later, but not before undergoing an almost complete collapse. The story goes that Chino Moreno spent time dabbling in a side project. experimental/electronic rockers Team Sleep, and essentially blowing off his main one. All of the inner-turmoil came to its head when the frontman wrote angry, stream-of-consciousness lyrics upon hearing the rumor that the rest of the members considered kicking him to the curb. (Of course, he eventually came to his senses and made peace with everybody.)
And here we go yet again. It has been said that the Deftones have had a new album (by the tentative title of "Eros") in the can for quite some time now. But even though they spent the better part of a year making it, all of the material written with bassist/co-founder Chi Cheng has (at least for the time being) been supposedly scrapped. Why? Because it just doesn't seem right to release it when the man is in a coma! (Chi and his sister were tragically involved in a rollover auto accident auto accident on November 4th, 2008.) This loss came as a huge shock to the band - in fact, it rocked them so hard that they almost could not recover from it. (In a situation similar to the one behind the above-mentioned "Saturday Night Wrist" in 2006, breaking-up was actually a possibility at one point.) All of this considered, it is easy to understand what Chino and the Gang are feeling right now, and why things like "chipper" aren't a good descriptor. Fortunately, everybody came to their senses by reforming, and, challenging their emotions into musical form, coming back sounding stronger than ever. Wonderfully accomplished, contagious, meaningful, potent, enthralling, and well-rounded, 2010's "Diamond Eyes," just might be the crown jewel in the Deftones' discography. This album, their sixth-full length, oozes with inspiration -- including palpable angst and anger, understandable frustration, and raw, primal, full-bodied, and at-times even borderline-sexual urgency. Fortunately, these feeling never resort to whiny or emo-ish levels; instead, they produce a pleasantly surprising amount of grit and friction.
Another unexpectedly awesome treat is how heavy and viscerally satisfying it is. Stef Carpenter digs deep and challenges himself to produce as well and technical as he possibly can. Trying to out-do oneself is always a very admirable task, and in this case, it is an equally rewarding one, too, because the resulting guitar work is easily the band's best, meatiest, and most metallic and intricate to date. It is such a shame that the Deftones are often categorized as "nu-metal" because that genre is not usually known for its guitarists. But for crying out loud...sit up and take notice of this one, already! Seriously, folks, there is a lot of positively killer guitar riffage to be heard, here.
The first few tracks showcase the Deftones at their meanest and hardest rocking. They are deliciously nasty and immediately memorable riff-fests that play like a series of swift kicks to the head. Sure, Stef clearly draws from the same well as Black Sabbath's Tony Iommi and fellow seven-string axemen Fredrik Thorendal and Marten Hagstrom, but his playing always still manages to sound fresh and original. The eponymous set opener trades off between deceptively simple verses (centered around one big, juicy, crunching main guitar lick) and harmonic, beautifully-sung choruses; and does so to excellent effect. Next up comes what is not only the record's most brutal moment, but also possibly the heaviest and most aggressive thing the `Tones' have put their name on. "Royal" is driven by deep, propulsive guitar grooves, a steady rhythm section, and a powerful vocal performance from Chino (including some unnerving, lung-stretching screams reminiscent of his earliest days). "CMND/CTRL," and "You've Seen The Butcher" are two other very punishing numbers. The former is of note for its complex, polyrhythmic drumming; and the latter for its intro that evokes pure doom/stoner metal. And they are both ripe with one catchy, gut-punching riff after another, accentuated by an impenetrably thick guitar tone that could have been ripped straight out of Meshuggah's playbook. The odd melodic vocal section and eerie synth line are also tossed into the mix here, giving off a brief but effective bit of ambience.
The first curveball of the bunch, "Beauty School," is a very epic, docile, and, uh, beautiful piece of progressive rock in the vein of Tool/A Perfect Circle, Coldplay, and The Cure. It boasts huge choruses, soaring, gently wailing clean singing, crashing drum beats. Solid keyboard work and noteworthy, moody, looming bass lines (from Cheng's fill in, Segio Vega) are also prominent throughout. "Prince" has an epic scope, too, and is a good showcase for Chino's amazing vocal range by turning another one of his signature soft-hard blends. The tune begins on a proggy note with calm, nearly whispered vocals before slowly yet surely gaining momentum, and eventually hits a climax of dense, crunchy, churning guitars and strong, grumbling bass lines topped off by lengthy, hardcore howling. Next up, the mosh pit-ready and kind of thrashy lead single "Rocket Skates," is backed by more great guitar chops (including lots of mammoth, fiery, angular, and sometimes booming riffs), thus serving as a nice compliment to its pounding drums and screamed vocals. However, on the flip side, the band again show off their unique knack for melody soon thereafter. Clean, lightly-strummed guitars and soulful, angelic-sounding make "Sextape" a positively gorgeous ballad. And once that song draws to a close, the stuttering, industrial-esque, lock-step unison rhythms, strong (and, again, oh-so-Meshuggah-ish) riffing, and really cool and memorable breakdown (that kicks in around the two-minute mark) of "Risk" lumber out of your speakers. Finally, the curiously named "976 Evil" (which builds well, flowing from "White Pony"-esque atmospheric verses to chunky and aggressive choruses) is a lead-in to "This Place Is Death," a dreamy and textured set closer. And when these two pieces are combine together, the end result is the possible pinnacle of the album.
The point is that, sure, over the course of the last decade, this band has had more problems than probably any one should ever have to deal with. And their hiatuses do keep getting longer and longer ("Diamond Eyes" finally marked the end of an excruciatingly long four-year gap between records.) But never mind all that -- because as long as the Deftones keep kicking out new music like this, there will never be any cause for concern. Outstanding!