Friday 16 November 2012

Deftones - Koi No Yokan

It might be a rare occurrence, but some bands just get better with age.  Many have argued this is the case with Deftones, whose career spans from their debut album ‘Adrenaline’ in 1995 to ‘Koi No Yokan’, their seventh album to date.  2010’s ‘Diamond Eyes’ was hailed as some of the band’s best work, setting up huge expectations for this new release.

But what does ‘Koi No Yokan’ provide for a relative newcomer to the band?  It’s certainly one of their more accessible albums and a suitable gateway into their back catalogue.  It’s also a great entry point into their style, that combines elements from different rock genres like nu-metal and prog rock, as well as a touch of hip-hop in the drum beats and occasional rapping.  What’s undoubtedly clear, even to newcomers, is that ‘Koi No Yokan’ comes from a tight, mature band with a wealth of experience behind them.  The guitar riffs may not be technically complex, but they offer a fluidity and power that few bands can match and suggest a confidence in the band’s abilities.  Add in some muscular drumming, light touches of keyboards and a raw vocal, and Deftones’ music truly erupts from the speakers – from the opening chords of Swerve City, through the screaming chorus of Leathers, to the lurching rhythms of Rosemary.  That said, this album is one of their most tuneful – whilst screams are employed for full effect, the focus is more on Chino Moreno’s melodic singing.

The music arrives on a tidal wave of emotion.  Bassist Chi Cheng was involved in a horrific car accident in 2008 which has left him in a partially conscious state.  The band’s turmoil has therefore informed much of their output since.  Moreno’s vocals and ambiguous lyrics are often overpowered by the guitars, but there’s enough rawness in his voice to imbue the music with inescapable emotive power.  Even then, the connotations of tracks like Entombed are clear – “From the day you arrived I’ve remained by your side / In chains, entombed, placed inside, safe and sound”.  The greater emphasis on melody allows the vocals to act as a conduit for feeling – slow-burning tracks like Tempest and What Happened To You offer a more delicate take on the band’s sound.

‘Koi No Yokan’ is perhaps not as revolutionary as the band’s earlier material, which inspired a generation of other metal bands.  Yet this still sound fresh – there are few other mainstream bands that are making music like this.  For this reason alone, Deftones are worthy of your attention, for both fans and newcomers.


Gizzle's Choice:
* Leathers
* Tempest
* Rosemary

Listen: 'Koi No Yokan' is available now.

Watch: Deftones will be performing in the UK in February 2013.