Even now I get tingles down my spine every time ‘Minerva’, or ‘Be Quiet And Drive (Far Away) smash into their opening riffs. The tones, textures and rhythm never get old, so take a deep breath in and out, grab a long cold beer and click play. Deftones are back with a monster, entitled “Diamond Eyes”. You all know their sound by now; big, heavy and unique. From the early days, with those infamous skater socks, this band were destined for their niche sound to flow through the world in abundance.
Obviously the Chi Cheng situation has become such a big part of their world over the past two years, so has it diverted their music? No, it darn well hasn’t. 2006’s “Saturday Night Wrist” blew up into a slightly different style as to their previous works. It had this cage wrapped around the music, that left a bigger impression, yet this is only obvious after several listens. Tracks such as ‘Hole In The Earth’ and ‘Beware’ showcase this texture as a sort of reverbrial, echoey hug. “Diamond Eyes” has the same desired output along with the typical Deftones “sound”. Taking on the workmanship of producer Nick Raskulinecz and bassist Sergio Vega, the sacramento metallers pump the speakers full of ammunition for one of the biggest rock/metal albums of 2010.
Chino’s voice is used as this instrument of pleasure. No one else achieves some of the squeeks and squeels that he pulls off within the tracks, not to mention the harmonies and croaky shouts. The infamous “Wooooh” appears on ‘Rocket Skates’ for a brief moment, reminding the listener just how sick he is, mixing up disturbing lyrics with excitable noises. The only down side to Chino’s voice is a lot of the chorus’ do sound very similar, meaning the skip through each track has little differentiation. It’s so easy to forget that this is Deftones sixth studio album though, as the material is still fresh, even with all the similarities.
God damn those guitar tones, it’s like being ripped apart by a chainsaw. I mean, what bloody tuning is Carpenter in? (Anyone who has heard 2003’s ‘Hexagram’ will know exactly what I’m talking about). Maybe they trap a Bull into a red Marshall cab and poke it with a stick to achieve that sound. And the drums; what can I say? Cunningham has been such a big influence in my drumming style since I started, so to listen to any track played by him is a pleasure. He absolutely smashes the shit out of his kit and keeps it cool and technical. Not overdoing it in some parts just to add the right amount of punchiness the tracks need. Using ‘CMND/CTRL’ as an example; those guitars are heavy as shit, but don’t go down the route that all technical metals bands are doing at the moment, you know, that Meshuggah guitar tone with the 4/4 hi hat and snare with the bass pedal following the bass guitar. Carpenter and Cunningham keep their own unique approach that works so well for them.
Bow down to the self titled track ‘Diamond Eyes’ – it’s by far the strongest of the bunch. With a big chorus, technical time signatures, spacey samples, juxtaposed with heavy, heavy, HEAVY guitars. Written so well, it could make my ears pop off at anytime, especially when listening to this during a workout (by far the best band to gym it too). Deftones also have this ability to create lyrics and vocal patterns that you just can’t resist to sing along too. ‘Sextape’ draws you in with a calmer with lyrics “Tonight, tonight / the sound of the waves collide” that are so hard to resist.
1989 is where it all started, 2010 is where we’re at, and Deftones are still going strong. “Eros” the previously announced album is something to look out for in the future but “Diamond Eyes” delivers with gracious intellect. Long live Deftones, get well soon Chi.