Deftones: Koi No Yokan [Album Review]
Fire Note Says: Hope that you’re not tone deaf for the Deftones.
Album Review: Roaring to life once again Sacramento, California’s own alt-metalers Deftones present us with a fine outing in the form of Koi No Yokan, meaning promise of love or premonition of love after a Japanese proverb. Their seventh album to date, it shows why the Deftones have influenced countless other bands in the metal scene and even beyond. The reason for this lies in their many abilities that the band possess. These guys allow their sound to soar to the spaciest of heights only to then drop you down into the heaviest chug churners and riff grinds that you’ve ever heard. Also, the subtle ability to inject emotion and sensuality with each careful whisper or each scream of despair. Chino Moreno possess a voice who’s soaring tenor tones can even at its most quiet can elude to hold back fury but remove the dam and crashing through a vocal prowess that bows to no master.
“Swerve City” illustrates many of the concepts above with great ease. A dreadnought march, razor sharp riff that reaches with a choke hold and never lets go. The vocals seamlessly intermix warmth, intensity, and against with effective echo in tow. “Romantic Dreams” sprawls out with a gothic, labyrinthine guitar of despair. It creates a cool collage of hopelessness, sexuality, and wanting as Moreno croons “I’m hypnotized by your name-I wish this night would never end”. “Polterhiest” claps its way into your ears, along with that, ax-slinger Stef Carpenter, brings a bottomed out heft like you wouldn’t believe-I guess it’s the only thing that can be achieved with an 8 string ESP guitar.
Beauty takes over for “Entombed” with its warm guitar tones and chord shimmers that encompass the track with an almost embryonic feel. It’s the Deftones at their best and might even be one of their best “ballads” since “Digital Bath” from White Pony (2000) or Minerva from their self-titled in 2003. “Graphic Nature” invents a sadistic, snuff killer riff that cries out violence, it also is a cross section of pure Deftones and has be key to their sound and sonic intimidation since the beginning. “Rosemary” brings the sonic shoe gaze pleasure that make a bit of a call back to tracks such as “Sextape” from Diamond Eyes (2010). With its slow burn, it shows why the Deftones are still relevant today as the effortless beauty and a soaring wall of crunch shows that no one can pull this off like they can. Floating off the end of the song is a little guitar interlude that erupts my neurons into a frenzy and goose bumps erupt off the skin.
Bassing into your ears “Goon Squad” makes itself known, all the tracks present exceptional drumming but this showcases why Abe Cunningham is a disciple to the heaviest god of drum thunder. Rounding out Koi No Yokan is “What Happened to You?” a bit of an odd duck I feel as I’ve never really heard a song in the Deftones catalogue that could compare to this. Laid back vocals, no rage in sight, and a straight forward shoegaze swirl it’s not enough to sour the experience but I have to admit that it did leave me scratching my head a bit.
On Koi No Yokan the Deftones have found a way to play to their strengths, ripping every page out of the Deftones playbook and using it to great effect. It’s nothing that we haven’t heard before as it could be looked on as a companion to White Pony (2000) or maybe even Deftones (2003) but it’s all here with great tact and anyone interested would be a fool not to follow up on this romantic dream.
Key Tracks: “Romantic Dreams”, “Entombed”, “Rosemary”
Artists With Similar Fire: A Perfect Circle / Glassjaw / Chevelle
Reprise/Warner Bros. Records
-Reviewed by Christopher Tahy
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