"Koi No Yokan" sees the Deftones' music reach a maturity that allows them to navigate rougher textures and beautiful soundscapes with great dexterity. Very much building on from previous album "Diamond Eyes", the subsequent evolution and refinement of their sound makes "Koi No Yokan", to me, one of the Deftones' stand out works.
Lead single 'Leathers', which caught my interest and pulled me into buying the album almost on the weight of it alone, is a key demonstrator of this prowess. Refinement for the Deftones does not mean losing the edge which hooked so many in with the visceral anger on songs like 'My Own Summer' and 'Back to School'. 'Leathers' haunting opening is violently punctured by the full weight of the band and Chino Moreno's vocals, and the song continues with these harder elements, soundscaped by a melody which is never overpowered, only matched; but then, a bridge which is both seductive and insidious really demonstrates the skill of these musicians.
Album highlight for me is 'What Happened to You?', a dynamic, soaring masterpiece whose only fault it that it is just under four minutes long, when it could easily be the same length as 'Rosemary' due to its scale and scope.
The Deftones' original bass player, Chi Cheng, passed away about six months after "Koi No Yokan" was released. Sergio Vega is a great replacement and his contribution is more noticeable here than on "Diamond Eyes", but listening to the album again in light of Chi's death, there is a certain poignance I found which was not immediately apparent in the album, but gives it a moving extra layer.