Diamond Eyes

Deftones

Reprise, 2010

http://www.deftones.com

REVIEW BY: Cory Galliher

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 11/10/2010

People tend to associate metal with anger. I suppose this might be an accurate impression; who hasn’t driven around at night blaring some Slayer when they’re pissed off? Some wailing guitars and guttural screaming can do wonders for the soul.

But what about metal that’s not really angry? Deftones’ newest album, Diamond Eyes, came about after bassist Chi Cheng was injured in automobile accident and sent into a coma. The band was originally going to produce an angry, dark album called Eros. After Cheng’s accident, though, the band worked with Sergio Vega to create my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Diamond Eyes, an album that combines mellow and intense sound into a cohesive whole. Like many of the band’s’ albums, post-production is kept to a minimum here, giving it a more realistic, grounded sound than what you might expect from a metal album.

The highlight of this disc, by far, is the more mellow tracks like “Sextape.” The technical skill on display in these tracks is impressive—rather than taking center stage, the intense bass that serves as Deftones’ signature highlights frontman Chino Moreno’s crooning. It’s music that’s powerful without forcing itself on the listener.

That’s not to say that the album won’t melt anyone’s face. The title track, for instance, slams its point home right from the start. Moreno wails, the bass hammers at the eardrums, it’s classic Deftones all the way. Likewise, songs like “Royal” would be at home on any of Deftones’ earlier albums. Fans that have been with the band from the start won’t be disappointed here.

My pick for the top track of the album is “Beauty School.” It represents the ideal fusion of the mellow and intense sides of Diamond Eyes, in turn showcasing the band’s growth. This is a love song given the Deftones touch, honed just sharp enough to cut the listener while remaining inviting. The lyrics are haunting, the main riff is pounding, and all in all, the song straddles a line that few others can.

One of the key points of this album that sets it apart from the rest is that there are no songs about how hard life is. Nobody sings about how much they hurt, nobody complains. According to Moreno, this was intentional as a shift from the typical dark album to something more positive. In other words, this isn’t just a tribute album for Chi Cheng. It’s Deftones at its finest, and in the end that feels like it’s all the tribute Cheng needed.

Rating: A

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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