Deftones/Diamond Eyes

Diamond EyesDeftones is an American rock band from Sacramento, California, formed in 1988 consisting of Chino Moreno (lead vocals and guitar), Stephen Carpenter (guitar), Chi Cheng (bass), Frank Delgado (keyboards and turntables), and Abe Cunningham (drums and percussion). They have released six albums to date, with their most recent Diamond Eyes in spring of 2010.

Diamond Eyes is the sixth studio album by American alternative metal band Deftones, released worldwide on May 4, 2010 through Warner Bros. and Reprise Records. An album tentatively titled Eros was originally intended to be their sixth full-length release and follow-up to Saturday Night Wrist (2006), but was not released due to bassist Chi Cheng entering a coma after a serious car accident that occurred in November 2008. The release of Eros was put on hold in favor of Diamond Eyes in June 2009. Former Quicksand bass player, Sergio Vega is featured on the album in substitution for Cheng.

Diamond Eyes was a critical and commercial success; obtaining a normalized score of 78 on review aggregator Metacritic, while achieving top 20 chartings on the Billboard 200, UK Albums Chart, and German Albums Chart. [Wikipedia]

Diamond Eyes—-Coming from the silence with an aggressive hum, the vocal enters and you feel comfortable at the familiarity of the whole thing. The vocal style of Chino is pretty distinguishing and it is nice to hear it after such a long absence. The aggression is a bit toned down, but this still plays as really great Alternative metal. Nice!!

Royal—-This is much more in the vein of the progressive sound that the band smacked us in the face with at the onset of their recording career. the music is much muddier and full of sludge…the vocal alternates between a magnificent holler and a pleasant clean vocal. This is classic..does not get much better than this.

Cmnd/Ctrl—-Deeper in sound and layered with an even more aggressive vocal, the drums are upfront in the mix and are stellar. The lazy drawn out vocal of Chino is so nice and welcome…I really could not ask for a better outcome with this release. The guitars remain a bit muddled, but the voice and the drums seem to magically levitate above the whole thing giving the track many emotional levels…this is fantastic!

You’ve Seen The Butcher—-With a huge bass line intro, the song already has a deep, morose sound by the time the rest of the band join in. The vocal seems to be a bit altered…at times sounding a bit removed. The drums are erratic and the song seems to lack real direction…this is a bit of a disappointment, but every release has one..right?

Beauty School—-Wow….this is awesome from the very onset. The vocals are lazy and reminiscent of the best Alternative Metal delivery you would ever expect. The band produces a magnetic, swirling sound that is relaxed and easy for the listener to get really lost in. this is wonderfully written. played and produced…a favorite.

Prince—-Again, this track is bass centered with the lines a deep dirge and the cymbal high hats setting off everything. when the song really lets loose, Chino delivers a vocal that is full of aching emotion. This is fantastically delivered…the band sounds remarkably in tune with each other and the emotional quality of the song carries the entire thing right to the center of your brain where it sits there for a while….

Rocket Skates—-This is nice, but at this point in the disc the ‘sameness’ of the sound becomes a bit tedious…the production team needs to beef things up a bit or move the songs around a bit. I will admit that the delivery is pretty awesome…Chino manages some great screams, but they do not sound natural…more like they were put thru a machine to make them a bit more powerful. This is nice, but it is a case of almost too much of a good thing.

Sextape—-Now….from the intro to this track, it is almost as if the producers read my mind…this is a nice diversion as the band delivers a ballad style song that is full of swirls and atmosphere. the bass in much lighter, while the drums still remain in the spotlight. the vocal is quiet and has a remarkable emotional edge to it that makes me smile on the inside. The song is weighty..the emotions are all over the place…but in my opinion, this is a triumph. Remarkably excellent!!!

Risk—-Returning back to the full-fledged dark and bass heavy delivery of past songs, the vocal enters and is interesting. This sounds awful generic for Chino…the emotion never really hits the strides that i expected it would. None the less, this has that great Deftones sound that I expect…this bass is so deep, it rattles my brain. Incredibly well delivered.

976-Evil—-This begins with a more relaxed but layered tone that sounds remarkably like the last song Pt. II. The vocal is classic, Chino sounds like no other singer around, his style is his own. This lacks the aggression of the early Deftones material, but still has a nice punch in the gut to go along with the emotive quality of the track. I just keep asking myself…where is that power!?

This Place Is Death—-This sneaks up on you and delivers a nice subtle punch that gives me a slight smirk on my face. It is classic chino…the vocal is wonderfully delivered. I wish there was not all the preposed vocal manipulations…the producers have messed with the vocal whether they admit it or not and in the end robbed some of the power and intensity. none the less, it is nice to have a new release from this band…even if a times it is lackluster.

***3 3/4 out of 5


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