Koi No Yokan – Deftones – Album review – by Jordan Kimberley

27th November 2012

I’ve never actually formally reviewed an album before, but this album has made such an impact on me that I felt compelled to write about it. This is Koi No Yokan, the seventh album from Deftones and the follow-up to 2010’s Diamond Eyes. For many, including myself, Diamond Eyes was an impressive return to form, and proved that they could still offer up fresh, inspiring and well-crafted music 20 years into their career; it showed that their best was certainly not in the past. With this album, however, they have created something truly incredible, honest and unique; 52 minutes of dynamic riffs, beautiful ambience and heartfelt musicianship.

From the moment the vigorous rhythms of opener “Swerve City” blast through the speakers, it’s clear that Deftones are back with an agenda that’s as dangerous as the title suggests. If Sergio Vega’s bass were any heavier it would have its own gravitational pull. Vega has been standing in on bass while Chi Cheng recovers from a car accident that occurred in November 2008 and left him in a coma. While the group have since pulled together despite this tragedy, the emotions of losing someone are painfully apparent and raw on this record.

One of the stand-out qualities of this record is how it manages to combine so many layers to the songs and still flow seamlessly from heavy to light. The unpredictability of where a song will go makes this record exciting; it can flip from being dark, brooding and heavy to light, ambient and mesmerising from verse to chorus. Chino Moreno’s enthralling, haunting vocals are the focal point of the record; his harsh vocals mixing well with the heavier parts whilst also providing atmosphere during the calmer parts. Whereas on Diamond Eyes the song writing focused more on riffs rather than ambience, this time around they have struck the line perfectly between both.

This record succeeds because it refuses to be more than just a band resorting to any former glories; it is forward thinking, innovative, and wholly absorbing. The drumming intro to “Graphic Nature” echoes faintly of “Digital Bath” from 2000’s White Pony, yet ends up being blisteringly heavy and an inventive piece of music in its own right. The influence of the keyboards, turntables and samples from Frank Delgado allow this album to have an extra element of atmosphere, particularly on “Goon Squad”, which starts off as a serene sequence before jumping straight back into the heavy. It gives the album a chance to breathe from the down tuned heaviness and have its own feel of originality.

With Koi No Yokan, Deftones have simply destroyed the competition. Even into the third decade of their career they show no signs of slowing down, and have entered 2012 with their best album to date, and the best album of the year. Wrongly shoehorned into the nu-metal genre, not only have they made a name for themselves, they have developed into one of the most interesting and influential rock bands in history.