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Album review: Deftones, "Diamond Eyes"

By Allison Stewart

Back in the day, the Deftones were dubbed hard rock's answer to Radiohead. Sacramento-based, they were technically the confederates of don't-call-them-nu-metal acts like Korn and Tool, only smarter, more ephemeral and half in love with the Cure.

The band's thunderous new disc, "Diamond Eyes," will be leading this summer's not entirely welcome alt-metal comeback charge, but it's not the album the Deftones were supposed to make. The band had been recording a new disc, the more experimental (and now indefinitely delayed) "Eros," in 2008, when a car accident landed bassist Chi Cheng in the hospital, where he remains.

(Moreno the moper, after the jump.)

Ex-Quicksand bassist Sergio Vega ably fills in, but Cheng's absence is palpable throughout "Diamond Eyes," which takes the five-piece band's last few discs (2000's fabled "White Pony" in particular) and throws them in a blender, along with liberal helpings of sludge and gloom. Most of the latter comes courtesy of inestimable singer Chino Moreno: If alt-metal frontmen can be divided into mopers and tantrum throwers, Moreno is definitely a moper. He operates here at near-Olympic levels of doominess, investing tracks like "Risk" ("I will save your life / I will find a way") with equal amounts of heartbreak and defiance.

Otherwise, "Diamond Eyes" mixes the ambient and the brutish with almost surgical precision. "You've Seen the Butcher" recalls a more atmospheric Queens of the Stone Age; "Rocket Skates" is not only home to the chanted "Guns! Razors! Knives!" refrain (one of the disc's few unabashed hooks), it's the closest "Diamond Eyes" gets to a '99 vintage, nu-metal roundhouse kick.

Recommended tracks: "Diamond Eyes," "Rocket Skates," "Risk"

By David Malitz  |  May 4, 2010; 10:00 AM ET
Categories:  Quick spins  | Tags: Deftones  
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Next: Album review: The Hold Steady, "Heaven Is Whenever"


I love love love this album. Ive been listening to it everyday. Each song is a gem, plus I got to meet the guys (the deftones), last week, awesome time!

Posted by: sahararex | May 4, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse

"Sacramento-based, they were technically the confederates of don't-call-them-nu-metal acts like Korn and Tool, only SMARTER"

I agree that Deftones music is more thought out and "smarter" than that of Korns, but Tool? Look up Tool songs like Lateralus and The Grudge. Their music is definetly more complex and intricate than Deftones, not that i dont like them.

Posted by: GaryS2 | May 4, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Tool has never been a typical nu-metal act like Reviewer tries to say and trap them in this genre.
Typical nu-metal bands died a long time ago. This summer's releases bring great bands, not nu metal bands.

Posted by: Plnzet | May 6, 2010 8:39 AM | Report abuse

This album is ethereal. It's best when listened to from beginning to end. When it all sinks in, this may be my favorite album of theirs.

Saying they are smarter than Tool is saying a lot, but I'd agree. Just because they infer aliens and mysticism in their lyrics doesn't make them smart. Chino is the best lyricist out there, this album solidifies that claim.

Posted by: homiegskillet | May 7, 2010 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Tool is NOT nu metal; whoever wrote this article obviously has no idea what they're talking about.
Deftones is an amazing, smart band, but they are not smarter than Tool.
Diamond Eyes is a fantastic album.

Posted by: willium47 | May 9, 2010 1:30 AM | Report abuse

i have never read such rubbish in all my life, who reserches for you? they are simple deftones not the deftones you knob,and as for the likeness to radiohead bugger me!! no lady stay away from alt metal, but you dont know what gene they are do you? a not very happy fan of DEFTONES, RESERCH RESERCH RESERCHE,

Posted by: umergumer | May 11, 2010 4:49 AM | Report abuse

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