Deftones – Diamond Eyes
Surely only if you've been living under a particularly large rock without WiFi reception will you not be aware of the sad news surrounding Deftones bassist Chi Cheng and the car accident in November 2008 which left the 39 year old bass player in a coma. Around the time of the incident the influential quintet were putting finishing touches on what was to be their sixth studio album Eros. After much deliberation the Terry Date produced record was indefinitely shelved and in June last year the Sacramento outfit recruited ex-Quicksand man Sergio Vega to stand in for Cheng as they began to write and record an entirely new album with Nick Raskulinecz (Foo Fighters, Velvet Revolver, Alice In Chains) from scratch. It certainly says something about Deftones' unwavering quality and rightful standing at the top of the modern metal world, that said new long-player Diamond Eyes has been turned around so swiftly, and never for one second feels like a rushed job.
The absence of their talismanic five stringer casts a huge influence over Diamond Eyes, as the band sought to write an optimistic record in reaction to Cheng's misfortune and the reportedly dark and angry Eros. This inspiration is never more evident than in its majestic title track, which opens proceedings in quite astounding style. Incorporating everything that makes Deftones so special, its simplistic ugly metal riff drives the track along to a gloriously immersive chorus. Yes, it's an unsophisticated trick, yet it still knocks each and every pretender to their throne for six. Next up, 'Royal' and 'CMND/CTRL' are built around Stef Carpenter's killer heavy riffs that will please enthusiasts of their heavier output, before the expansive soundscapes of 'You've Seen the Butcher' slows matters down to a snails pace. Fans should already be well acquainted with lead single 'Rocket Skates' – one of the album's heaviest moments, and its safe to say that the familiar dynamics of recent years haven't changed significantly, particularly across Diamond Eyes's second half, with 'Prince''s brooding bass lines even bearing such a similarity to White Pony's 'RX Queen' that lawyers would already be seeing dollar signs in their eyes if any other band came out with the track.
A lot has already been hastily scribbled about Diamond Eyes after it leaked across the net back in March, with many prematurely rushing to claim the long-awaited comeback record to be their finest work to date. While the album's undoubtedly a cut above Saturday Night Wrist and 2003's self titled effort, in truth Around The Fur and White Pony are such towering, boundary pushing achievements that Diamond Eyes can't help but fall short given there's little on offer to surprise experienced listeners. Nonetheless, from pretty much any other band around today Diamond Eyes would be a career defining masterpiece, but for Deftones it's another great addition to a phenomenal legacy.
- Diamond Eyes
- You've Seen the Butcher
- Beauty School
- Rocket Skates
- This Place Is Death