A track-by-track review of the new Deftones album, Diamond Eyes!
Diamond Eyes – A jarring, leaden riff pounds away while Chino’s velvet vocals wrap lusciously around the brutality around him. The chorus is a thing of beauty here with its “time will see us realize, diamonds reign across the sky” refrain leading the charge but it’s the intense low-end groove that really hits home hard here, the beatdown that closes the track is one of the heaviest moments in Deftones history. An astounding opener.
Royal – Thick-textured guitars are the order of the day on ‘Royal’. Imagine the ambient leanings of ‘White Pony’ with the immense club-ready sonics of Around The Fur here and throughout the album. It’s worth mentioning how on-point the band’s new rhythm-section are, backing Moreno’s other-worldly vocals and the chunky guitar-tone with versatility and style.
CMND/CNTRL – An instant Deftones classic. A savage riff bounces like it’s 1998 all over again while Chino scats and screams before unleashing another mammoth chorus. This is a straight up banger, begging to be dropped in clubs and will sound epic live.
You’ve Seen The Butcher – the first full-on foray into ambience but it’s worth noting that the track still has heavy almost stoner rock-esque guitars. It’s all power and groove while Moreno once again proves why his voice is one of the few in the modern game that can truly be regarded as an instrument.
Beauty School – A slamming drum-pattern from Abe Cunningham, killer bass lines and subtle guitars linger while Moreno croons over the top. The building throughout the verse gives way to a stunningly gorgeous chorus. Floating and euphoric, it’s a thing of beauty and one of those moments that sets the Deftones apart from most other bands.
Prince – Reminiscent of Digital Bath from White Pony. It’s all off-beat hi-hats and bass rumbles before an epic chorus breaks out. It seems as though it’s going to be another more subtle track before exploding in an eruption of pounding guitars and all-out aural assault. Moreno really shows his versatility on this one.
Rocket Skates – You’ll doubtlessly have had your mind blown by this one already. Rhythmic detonations interspersed with the dreamy Moreno vocals and that “Guns! Razors! Knives!” refrain. You already know this is a riot-starter. Check out the video below!
Sex Tape – A guitar intro that reminds a little of the Smashing Pumpkins (bizarrely). Blissfully chilled-out and a welcome break from the full-on nature of the album thus far, Sex Tape is the Deftones challenging themselves in the realms of elegant song-writing and reaping the benefits incredibly. One of the best tracks on the album and something that could become a career-highlight.
Risk – A grinding, sinister riff leads the charge here. It’s probably the most forgettable moment on the rcord but it’s not without merit. The break-down around the 2 minute mark is still kick-ass.
976-Evil – A real journey of a track. Progressive and going more on feeling than basic song-structure, ‘976-Evil’ sees the band building through subtlety. It’s got to be said, ‘Diamond Eyes’ probably represents the finest vocal performance of Chino Moreno’s career to date and the way he leads this track is nothing short of breath-taking.
This Place Is Death – A moving note to end on. Sombre in mood and tone, it has a real calm after the storm feel that leads the album out on a solemn yet powerful note.
In summarizing, when Deftones say this is one of the best albums of their career, they weren’t kidding. On first listen, this seems set to become a Deftones classic. A heavier album than Saturday Night Wrist, it has massive influence from both Around The Fur and White Pony. Stunning stuff from the Sacramento alt-metallers.
Deftones release ‘Diamond Eyes’ on May 17th.