Deftones Koi No Yokan Album CD Review
By: A. Estes
Like a good cheese or a fine wine, Deftones just keep getting better with age. Maybe it’s a sense of pride in the fact that they have outlived many trends in rock music or perhaps it’s the newfound resolve the band acquired when bassist Chi Cheng was put out of commission in late 2008 following a car wreck that left him comatose. Whatever it is, it’s working. While most bands their age are slowing down, Deftones seem to be prolonging their prime.
Like 2010’s “Diamond Eyes,” the seventh offering from Sacramento’s finest, “Koi No Yokan,” throws in all the dynamics that made the group so special when they first arrived on the scene nearly two decades ago and delivers a highly refined and tightened sound with little fat to spare. With producer Nick Raskulinecz (Coheed & Cambria, Alice in Chains) once again in their pocket, Deftones deliver yet another home-run. Opening with the adrenaline rush of “Swerve City” and merging ever so slightly into the lush ambience of “Romantic Dreams,” it is apparent that the group is once again on top of their game, inspired and intensely focused. Nowhere is this more evident than on deeper album cuts and instant classics such as the beautifully dense “Rosemary” and the appropriately creepy and aggressive “Poltergeist.”
While admittedly less aggressive than past offerings, “Koi No Yokan” makes up for what it lacks in heaviness with heaps of intensity and ambience. Frontman Chino Moreno screams a lot less than on any album before, but the trade off is an emotionally charged and moody performance that serves as a highlight of the frontman’s career. True to form, Stephen Carpenter’s riffs still buzz through the woodwork, drilling the songs into your head almost instantly. Likewise, Abe Cunningham proves once again why he is one of the most criminally under-rated drummers of his era with a performance that is technically impressive and consistent, and yet, serves the songs perfectly well without showing off. One would also be remiss if they didn’t mention bassist Sergio Vega and his contributions to the group. While Cheng is certainly missed, Vega has almost effortlessly blended into the band, proving to be the perfect match. What we have in Deftones circa 2012 is a band that has been around the block a few times and knows how to create music that their fans want to hear without repeating themselves.
Nowhere on this album is there a clunker or something that doesn’t feel like it fits. Much like “Diamond Eyes,” this is a seamlessly perfect Deftones album from front to back. It’s hard to imagine the band that put out “Adrenaline” becoming the band they have become, but Deftones have survived the years with grace and creative fire to spare. Even though it’s sad that the band are enjoying a renewed sense of purpose while Cheng remains out of commission, it’s rather remarkable given all they’ve been up against that they’ve remained this consistent and interesting for so long. Longtime fans and newcomers alike will find much to relish in “Koi No Yokan,” an album whose title roughly means “Anticipation of love.” So put on the headphones, turn out the lights, and prepare to fall in love all over again.