Saturday, July 10, 2010

Deftones Diamond Eyes Album Review

The Deftones Saturday Night Wrist album from 2006 introduced a new sound for the band, and was their best album to date. In May, the band released their sixth album, Diamond Eyes, which is an even better album.

The Deftones, based out of Sacramento, have been cranking out hard-edged alternative music since 1988. There was a pretty long gap between Saturday Night Wrist and Diamond Eyes, due to serious injuries to their bassist, Chi Cheng. He is still recovering from an automobile accident and did not participate in making their latest album (or supporting tour).

Diamond Eyes was released on May 4, which was two weeks earlier than planned, probably because the entire album had already been leaked out onto the internet. The band’s line-up was the same, except that Sergio Vega (formerly of Quicksand) played bass.

As I said, this is a fantastic album. Listeners will do themselves a disservice if they go to iTunes and cherry-pick a few songs. This is not the product of today’s typical one-hit wonder band. Diamond Eyes is very well-crafted and the unification/integration of the songs is something that is hard to find from any artist.

The Deftones’ music is still as heavy, perverted and violent as it has always been, but their most current albums have been increasingly melodic and (dare I say) hopeful. Perhaps the best way I can put it is that their sound has matured since the angrier White Pony years. The first track on the album (also titled Diamond Eyes) is the one that most obviously combines these two diverse themes: both heaviness and new-found sensitivity. The remainder of the songs waver back and forth between these two extremes. Pulling this off would be impossible without the genius of producer Nick Raskulinecz (Rush, Coheed and Cambria, Foo Fighters, Danzig, Marilyn Manson, Velvet Revolver). Of course, the musicians had to pull their weight too.

Frank Delgado’s synthesizer work sets the mood for the whole album. The synths are not overdone, and sometimes are quite simple, almost like special effects in a movie. They really help to combine the tracks into a unified theme.

The rhythms of Sergio Vega and drummer Abe Cunningham are about as good as it gets. On the first listen they seem very loose, but if you listen closer, they are super tight with each other. Their pinnacle on Diamond Eyes is "You've Seen the Butcher", which is some of smoothest metal you will find.

Stephen Carpenter’s guitar riffs are probably the most diverse stylistic elements of the album. He is a metal god, and can groove like a madman. He also has the ability to pull off some amazingly melodic lines, like you will find in "Sextape".

Chino Moreno’s vocals are not as brilliant as they were on the manic White Pony album, but he still has a lot of chops. His efforts on Diamond Eyes range from the subdued "Beauty School" to falsetto on “976-EVIL” to outright howling on "You've Seen the Butcher". None of the tracks would have been special without his input. Imagine Tool without Maynard, if you will.

Anyway, these guys pulled it off again. It is hard to outdo yourself, and the Deftones have done it twice in a row. Head on over to iTunes and download Diamond Eyes. You will not regret it.


  1. Loved the review, it is totally what I feel like !

  2. Thanks for checking in! It is a fabulous album, for sure!