A Perfectly Cut Diamond

Diamond Eyes by Deftones

I became an ardent fan of Deftones when I heard their single “Teething”, from the soundtrack of The Crow: City of Angels, during the mid-90’s. I haven’t turned away from them, never doubted their musicianship ever since. But when I heard that they’re going to make a new album with a new bassist, Sergio Vega of Quicksand, doubt did cross my mind. I was concerned that, after the tragedy that happened to Chi Cheng (Deftones’ original bassist) and the scrapping of an almost complete Eros (their sixth album with Chi), the band has been unhinged. But I was wrong to ever doubt them. Deftones produced a gem of an album amidst tragedy.

While White Pony is still my favorite album from Deftones’ oeuvre, Diamond Eyes is perhaps their perfect album to date. All the sounds they have experimented with -the heavy, the rap metal, the ambient, the melodic- during their entire career, they have fused together in this album and smoothed out all the rough edges. The result is an ambient White Pony or a heavier Saturday Night Wrist, which ever way you prefer. But no matter how you view Diamond Eyes, either way, it’s exceptionally brilliant from start to finish.

The opening song “Diamond Eyes” immediately showcases the contrasting sounds -metal guitar riffs layered with shoegaze vocals- that will be heard throughout the album, giving you a bit of a preview of what’s to come. “CMND/CTRL”, the third track in the album, dives back into the rap metal era of Deftones’ career with Chino spewing lyrics manically only to switch to his sleepy, silky voice in the chorus. Chino then continues to display his delightfully lazy vocal style in “Beauty School”, tying up Carpenter’s subtle riffs and Cunningham’s excellent drum works to create the most stunning track in the album.

Diamond Eyes is a pure aural treat. It has different flavors and vibes, from chaotic to atmospheric, that all flows fluidly in one direction. You can be brutalized by “Rocket Tapes” this moment and then be enchanted by “Sextapes” the next. But the experience isn’t disjointed -unlike listening to “Teenager” after “Street Carp”- because the songs, while heavy and melodic, aren’t too extremely aggressive or timid.

I don’t know if, or when, they will release Eros. I don’t know what Eros sounded like, or what it will sound like. But I’m glad that Deftones, even though at the state they are at right now, decided to move on and honored Chi Cheng with a great album. While it isn’t as adventurous as White Pony was, Diamond Eyes is the culmination of Deftones’ music, all their best sounds refined and rolled into one. It’s a perfectly cut diamond, a perfect album to keep us fans satiated while we wait for Chi’s return from his coma.

“Diamond Eyes” by Deftones
Score: A

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One Response to A Perfectly Cut Diamond

  1. Pingback: The $25 Tunes: May 2010 « The Frugal Nerd

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