Within the huge surge of nu-metal of the late 90s/early 00s, very few bands managed to survive, at least not without reinventing themselves and their sound, with the likes of Papa Roach, KoRn and Linkin Park opting for said route. Others hid in the shadows and chose to come back a few years later, namely Limp Bizkit and Spineshank. The others either disappeared from the limelight or disbanded all together, usually from jumping on the bandwagon and ultimately delivering subpar records. However, Deftones are one of the very few acts who have managed to consistently retain their strength through it all.
Indeed, Deftones may have been one of the few bands birthed from the nu-metal genre who weren’t really in the thick of the genre specifics. Disregard ‘Back To School (Mini Maggit)’ and the band have very little material that borders into nu-metal. Instead, especially from 2000’s ‘White Pony’ onwards, the Sacramento quintet opted for music that was equally crushing and heavy as it was dreamy and etheral. The riff work of axe-man Stephen Carpenter delivering the former of their qualities and frontman Chino Moreno delivering the latter, with the rest of the band forcing them both further in abundance.
Twelve years on from that record and with their latest full-length, ‘Koi No Yokan’, not only are they maintaining this ethic, but they’re also still creating some of their best work to date. The title translating to “premonition of love” in Japanese, which essentially means love that isn’t immediate, but is totally inevitable. Similarly, the record is much the name, by no means not an album you might love in instance per say, but one that reveals floods of rewards upon each listen and also the closest the band have been to returning to their critically acclaimed aforementioned record, ‘White Pony’.
Following on from 2010’s hugely successful return, ‘Diamond Eyes’, the album carries all of the signature anthemic choruses and inevitable hooks in signature Deftones style. The chorus of ‘Graphic Nature’ is simplistic yet massive, opener ‘Swerve City’ gets the pace of the record in fast and thick from the first second and first pre-release offering ‘Leathers’ holds one of the band’s heaviest riffs on the whole of the record.
It’s endearing just how the instantly recognisable and insatiable vocal work of Chino Moreno can connect so effortlessly with the juggernaut of a background his fellow bandmates create. ‘Poltergeist’ and ‘Tempest’ being prime examples of this at some of its strongest moments, with the former showcasing one of the band’s catchiest choruses in recent years. Their more stripped back moments are indeed noteworthy too; ‘Entombed’ is a nice breath of air from the first few tracks of the band’s return whilst closer ‘What Happened To You?’, albeit an odd choice of closer for Deftones, is also one of their strongest and beautiful send-offs.
It’s not often that a band can constantly deliver music which is just as beautiful and euphoric as it is energetic, adrenaline pumping and just downright heavy. Succeeding once again following previous effort ‘Diamond Eyes’, it is more than clear that Deftones are fully rejuvenated and have just as much life in them as they did since their 1995’s debut, ‘Adrenaline’. One of the greatest bands of our time, without question.
Written by Zach Redrup