Hey, do you remember those nu metal bands that completely ruled the late 90's/early 2000's? Have we heard from them recently? As you should know, nu metal is pretty much dead now and the majority of the bands that ruled that genre pretty much went into either obscurity or have abandoned the genre itself to keep up with the times, with average results. The reason for this was because they never evolved in terms of sound and maturity. Out of all the heaps of nu metal bands in that era, one has survived and managed to evolve and mature in a spectacular way. They have evolved so much that they've completely shed away their nu metal skin and are not even classified as that one off sub-genre any more. Enter Deftones and they are, in my opinion, the best thing to ever come out of the nu metal scene. Not Linkin Park, not Korn, Deftones. Hell, even the band themselves threatened people not to lump them into that genre and it's an important statement that backs up the band's expansive and varied discography. Their first two albums, Adrenaline and Around the Fur were definitely part of the nu metal area with songs having the typical metal riff , screams and rapping (though Deftones had the least number of songs with rap)but what made them so unique in comparison to other nu metal bands is their willingness to experiment with different dynamics and sound, which is evident in their next albums. White Pony, their third album, was a nail to the coffin on their given identity as an nu metal band and the album established Deftone's experimental route that makes them so awesome to this day. This year, Deftones graced us with Koi No Yokan, their newest album and after the brilliance that is Diamond Eyes, Deftones are still on a roll with their 7th album. Let's go track by track.
1. Swerve City
Just to get things started, Swerve City comes blasting with a riff that sounds like a throwback to their early days. Even the guitar tone reminds me of Adrenaline. The riff is unfortunately quite generic but fortunately, Chino Moreno's vocals and the layered instrumentation, especially in the verses, are brilliant and a sign of wonderful things to come. 4/5
2. Romantic Dreams
You will start to notice the difference between this album and the previous album, Diamond Eyes through this song. Diamond Eyes was a much heavier album that was brimming full of screams, riffs and a distinctively heavy guitar tone. Here, Chino's vocals are more layered, adding a soaring feel to the song, which will be evident for the rest of the album and Stephen Carpenter has a lighter tone to his guitar as well as another guitar layered on his riff. As for the song, it is as layered as Swerve City in terms of instrumentation but has a very consistent structure with three distinctive parts playing off each other in a fluent way. A great song. 4.5/5
I... I don't know what to say about this song. Actually, I do have something to say about this song. I absolutely love this song. This is one of the finest songs Deftones have ever crafted and one of the three best songs in this album. A perfect verse and chorus, has probably in my opinion Chino's best vocal performance ever and the guitar is just incredible - both in tone and riff. It is just an incredible song. 5/5
Definitely the heaviest and fastest song in the whole album and is reminiscent of Saturday Night Wrist, their fifth album which featured a sample and synth heavy influence, desperate vocals and rushing guitar riffs and all of those things are what this song is. The song is another great one and it flows and complements well with the next song. 4.5/5
Nearly every Deftones albums has a mellow song to let the listener take a break and Entombed is another one or should I say, another great one. Entombed showcases layered sampling, synths and etheral effects that the band is known for. Nearly every instrument has an effect on it, which adds to an almost hypnotic yet at the same time, a chaotic sound that dominates the majority of the song. The last part is a result of a build up from the sampled first and second part that makes it feel like a conclusion. 4.5/5
6. Graphic Nature
This is one of the weakest tracks in the album as it was a bit forgettable, even though it is a quite good song. While Chino continues to impress with his vocals, the guitars felt a bit repetitive and it wasn't as atmospheric as the other tracks were. 3.5/5
I have already said that their are three stand out tracks in the album after a lavishly praised Leathers. Tempest is one of the three. This song is the amalgamation of what Deftones have been gathering through what they have been experimenting with. With a varied structure , thoroughly layered composition, clever use of effects and samples and great instrumentation, Tempest is another Deftones classic. 5/5
Is there such thing as a heavily smooth? Well, I felt that way with Gauze. The song is consistently heavy throughout but it has a smooth flow in its composition and instrumentation. The song is brimming with effects throughout and it is ever flowing throughout the majority of the song as well as many touches of keyboards. 4.5/5
Just to make things not suspenseful at all, this is stand out song number three. Rosemary is the longest song in the album, which leads to many opportunities to put as much content in it as possible. This is the most layered song in the album as there is a lot going on with this song. While it bombards with a short but brilliantly heavy chorus, there are different effects and samples everywhere in this song. Vocals are thrown around to make a room like effect and the guitars play off each other to make one whole sound that blankets and complements the vocals. It is also another three structure song like Romantic Dreams was with three mellow parts in the beginning, middle and end while the heavy parts are sandwiched in between. An immaculately brilliant song. 5/5
10. Goon Squad
This is one interesting song. It immediately starts of a soft introduction which lasts for more than a minute then the songs fully kicks off in typical Deftones fashion. Chino's distinctive sing-scream vocals and Stephen's drop tune guitar riffs are apparent in the verses and has a very strange structure when going through the verses as while Stephen's guitar structure doesn't change, Chino's vocals are always different in every part, which makes the song very fresh in terms of execution. 4.5/5
11. What Happened To You?
On finishing a spectacular album, What Happened To You? in all honesty is probably one of the weaker tracks of the album and it isn't a strong finisher after a barrage of great song after great song but it's still a good song. While not a strong finisher, the band never falters as Chino doesn't lose his consistently brilliant vocal performance throughout the album and the song is still willing to give a sample heavy atmosphere to a very typical Deftone song. 4/5
Deftones have outdone themselves again. There is not one bad song in this album; even the weak ones are good. Chino Moreno is at his best in this album when it comes to vocal performance and the rest of the band sounded comfortable backing his voice up to extremely great effect. It isn't the heaviest Deftones album but its layered, more experimental nature makes it wholesome and ambitious. While this album is excellent, it's not perfect and has its problems. The dynamics are a bit too balanced and at some points, the album gets so layered that it is quite hard to pin point which instrument or sound is which and it doesn't close as strong as it should have. Overall, this is another solid outing from an outstanding band.