By now, (relatively newfound) fascination with the Deftones is very, very, very well documented. For those of you just joining us, a few months ago, I realized that I was entirely unsure of how I felt about the alt-metal legends, so I set a week aside to figure it out.
And I like them. A lot.It’s a treasured moment in every music fan’s life when they stumble upon a new artist with a rich and consistent discography. And with the purchase of Diamond Eyes, my Deftones section is complete (I have almost no interest in the first two albums, and the covers is a good curiosity piece).
There’s no good reason why this was the last one I picked up. It’s certainly not my least favorite. Deftones’ consistent mastery of their idiosyncratic sound makes it nearly impossible to have a favorite.
While every record features heavy-hitting riffs and slinky atmospheres, I’m pretty sure Diamond Eyes is the sexiest Deftones record. There’s an animalistic charisma that weaves through the entire album.
The opening track features both some of their djentiest guitar riffs and Frank’s most atmospheric synth parts. “CMND/CTRL” rolls with a hip-hop flair that outswaggers any of their rap/rock material. “Beauty School” leans heavy into their love of shoegaze and post-punk with an angular guitar riff and as climactic chorus as they’ve ever made. “Sextape” and “976-EVIL” stand toe-to-toe with ballads like “Digital Bath” and “Cherry Waves.”
The heart of the record is “You’ve Seen the Butcher.” The tune broods with a heavy, plodding menace as Chino’s vocals languish and yearn in the upper atmosphere. Were the song a man, it’d be the sort of charming murderer type that Mads Mikkelson keeps getting cast as.
As the rest of the record toes either extreme, it never strays far from Butcher’s ominous tenderness. And so while I can’t definitely say this is my favorite Deftones record, it’s certainly a contender (with like…almost all the rest of them).