Deftones: Koi No Yokan
We’ve all got bands that we have grown up with. They crafted our favorite albums with songs that seemed to speak directly to our troubled youth and got us through the angst of pre-adulthood. For those of us who grew into our musical tastes during the early 90’s, myself included, the Deftones have been a guiding line along which new bands are judged and categorized. With their incredibly potent and uniquely melodic sound they rise deftly above the oft-reviled category of “nu-metal” and continue to amaze.
In 2010, after losing long time bassist Chi Cheng to serious injury, the Deftones released Diamond Eyes. Hailed as a much-needed return to form, Diamond Eyes re-established the Deftones as the modern rock powerhouse they truly are. With the release of Koi No Yokan, the Deftones continue to grow into themselves and exhibit a great deal of creative maturity.
One of the first things I noticed about Koi No Yokan is that it shares a great deal of atmosphere and emotion with 2006’s Saturday Night Wrist. The songs take their time to develop, often creeping up on you thanks to Frank Delgado’s excellent sampling and sound manipulation (which is thankfully quite prevalent on this record!). Additionally the world-cracking riffs (courtesy of Stephen Carpenter) are prone to unexpected turns that draw out some rather upbeat-sounding moments that really glow.
The best example of this is on “Romantic Dreams”. The chorus recalls an unparalleled evening of bliss with a lover with the goal of satisfying their desires in mind. Surpassing mere physical pleasure, the lyrics sweetly mention raising children and being a strong support amidst the difficulties of life. This concept is carried over somewhat into “Entombed”, which takes on the life of a new father’s promise to love and protect his child. This song is incredibly heartfelt and is easily one of the best, and most unique of the Deftones’ new compositions.
Conversely the second half of the record explores a darker element. While its themes are difficult to pin down, “Tempest” retains an apocalyptic mood from start to finish and absolutely demolishes with doomy riffs and thick drums. From here we move into the tumultuous “Gauze” which emotes futility in a hopelessly stubborn course of action. The chorus on this one takes an otherworldly tone that is carried over into the next track.
The longest track on the record, “Rosemary” is a cosmic journey of hallucinatory imagery. Delgado really shines on this track, layering gorgeous synths beneath the combined energy of the guitar and bass. The fantastic voyage is punctuated by a violent breakdown that gives way to a soothing moment of enlightenment. This leads directly into “Goon Squad” which carefully builds on Delgado’s synth work and Sergio Vega’s creeping bass line into yet another standout track that recalls the intensity of Around the Fur.
The album closes with the song “What Happened to You?”. Drummer Abe Cunningham opens this one up with a cool beat that carries Vega’s rather funky bassline very well. This song seems like the perfect cap to this truly amazing record, swelling wonderfully with stellar guitar work and Chino Moreno’s soaring vocals. After more than two decades as a band, it’s good to find the Deftones are far from stagnated in their sound. In fact I found Koi No Yokan to be an incredibly refreshing listen with plenty of heart, impressively deep song structures, and just a dash of experimentation. Whether you’re a long time fan or just getting into the Deftones, this album is a great addition to their awesome catalog.
MP3: Deftones “Entombed”
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