Sacramento, California alt-metal pioneers Deftones were all set to release their 5th album, Eros, last year; but then disaster struck. After a tragic accident left bassist and founding member Chi Cheng in a coma, the band chose to scrap that album out of respect for their fallen comrade, and began work on a brand new album. Their 6th album, entitled Diamond Eyes, is therefore a musical statement born out of tragedy and loss, and its near-perfect execution stands as a testament to the artistic excellence that has marked damn-near every Deftones release since their 1995 debut album, Adrenaline.
Diamond Eyes is not to be missed.
Since the release of arguably the band’s masterpiece, 2000’s White Pony, subsequent releases (2003’s Deftones and 2006’s Saturday Night Wrist) have been routinely compared to that album. And although both were enthralling listens, neither is considered to have reached those heights. But all of that may change with Diamond Eyes, as it showcases a band that has taken a focused and meticulously-measured approach to songcraft this time around, resulting in a collection of songs that bring all of the band’s strengths to bear.
Vocalist Chino Moreno’s trademark oscillation between hyper-emotive, quixotic crooning and serrated, downright violent screaming are as effective as they’ve ever been, reflecting a musical dichotomy the band revels in, between violence and romance. And the band fires on all cylinders throughout, constructing gorgeous, almost ethereal passages that descend at a moment’s notice into one hellish, practically suffocating groove after another. Tightly constructed, Diamond Eyes has more than a few standout tracks, like the bruising “Prince,” or the sultry and aptly-titled “Sextape,” but what elevates Diamond Eyes from the band’s previous material is how well the album’s tracks hang together as a cohesive unit.
So if you’re going to listen to one Metal album this year, (thus far) this is the one.