on 26 August 2013
"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.
on 23 June 2014
The Californian 5-piece had never been of particular interest to me - since their breakthrough in the late 90's with Around the Fur hits - 'My Own Summer' & 'Be Quiet & Drive' - the former being a scream fueled cauldron of anger, constantly shouting "Shove it", the latter showing the opposite with blissfully clean harmonies. These 2 tracks would later revisit me via flicking through music stations, only this time, thanks to the dire quality of music at the time, made an impact. Late to the party? Absolutely, I'd missed out on 4 albums since then, with only one song grabbing my attention mid-way, 'Minerva' - what I believed at the time to be a desolate and drone-like grimace of a metal track. With an open mind, urged on by a need for new sound, (and keen on the super energetic/melodic force of 2010's Diamond Eyes) I acquired Koi No Yokan - which loosely translates along the lines of 'Feeling of Love' or 'Love at First Sight' - An apt reference for the first listen...
BOOM BOOM BOOM RIFFING BOOM BOOM BOOM
Swerve City is a prime example of being quick out the blocks. A thunderous riff that resonates throughout the song, acts as the cornerstone to a furiously brief bit of musicianship for just 2:45. "She breaks her horses" Vocalist, Chino Moreno's first line pays homage to the bands fan favorite early album, White Pony. "..With strange, distant voices - that travel through the air" ends the verses and forces the song onward until it gets to that oddly tranquil guitar interlude. like a ray of light shone onto a down and dirty song. Track no.2 would always struggle to top that, but Romantic Dreams offers a whole new experience. 2 minutes longer, the pace has slowed with a rolling guitar tab, trailing back and fourth. "So why wait to discover your dreams? Now here's your chance" breaks things up however the chorus of 'I- I'm hypnotized by your name/I- I wish this night would never end" is a third sumptuous part of a mixed up song.
Shedding your skin, showing your texture...
Before this album was released, the track Leathers was used to promote it with a striking image of a heart undergoing Angiography. Besides the hauntingly pretty visual for the single, the song goes one further with a drawn out intro of bristling guitar notes - eradicated by brute force at 39 seconds. Chino's visceral lyrics are amplified by his sheer deliverance - "You're cutting your ties, now and forever, time to let everything outside you". The verses purely build up constantly with massive slides and the odd chug, but it all comes down to that meaty chorus - probably the most energetic song on the album - it's one to check out - if you can tolerate it, you can manage the whole album. Poltergeist has an unusual introduction of oddly timed clapping - culminating to complete loudness. The song itself though is one of the slightly weaker ones.
Entombed's divine introduction needed a title, and there it is, played on G, full of simplistic tapping and pull-offs. This is the kind of song that proves that even guitar driven, metalcore music hidden away from public radio, can be genuinely romantic. "From the day you arrived, I've remained by your side - in chains, entombed." Poetry. Ultra funky drum fillers, bridge the gaps between verse and chorus, along with an irresistible synth effect I can only describe as some sort of Paris-eloping-electro. The hard-hitting lyrics are reason enough to recommend new listeners - "Shades of colors are all I see.. Shapes of colors are all I feel". Graphic Nature returns the sound back to the norm, similar to 'Poltergeist', it boasts strong chords and sinister sounding vocals, "I'm aware of the demons, that you've tucked away. I like to watch you release them". It's the kind of song you'd raise an eyebrow to - if you're feeling it.
This one took time to grow on me, partially because it's one of the longest songs at over 6 minutes. The vocals have always been impressive up to this point, but now they take on a new level intensity that doesn't require screaming or the odd 'WOO'. "Turning in circles, been caught in a stasis" demands you close your eyes and nod along. "I'd like to be taken apart from the inside, then spit through the cycle right to the end". It has bits of everything Deftones are all about; moody vocals, grinding guitars and harsh truth lyrics. Gets better the more you listen, as does its climax. Gauze is harsh in both guitar and vocal, but the delicious bass shines through for its first real stand out moment. Some of the vocal harmonies may grate at first, but if you've got this far already, it wont be a deterrent.
The longest of all the songs due to both build up and fantastical outro, this is Deftones at the pinnacle. Grungey guitar interrupting a sweep melody that returns in flutters throughout. The dreamy lyrics are written like a poem, in layout and content - "Our minds bend and our fingers fold. Entwined, we dream" hallucinogenic in word and sound. "We slow down as the engines stall. Our eyes catch sea. Explode" vivid imagery propelled by purposeful noise. Goon Squad is the albums final heavy track. At this point its worth mentioning that although the technical aspects of the songs - especially the guitars - aren't ground breaking, they are well put together, befitting the mood as they tend to swirl and repeat into a solid platform for the real star, Chino, to do his thing. What Happened To You? closes the album in style - experimental percussion and amplifier feedback gracefully play behind a falsetto vocal. "We’re alive somewhere else. Still asleep someplace new. We’re ahead of our time. Floating through" is the first round of a daydreaming chorus, gaining more momentum for a second go - "The sky is falling down. The night is calling you. A star is burning out. The sky belongs to you." an ultimate finale to what rapidly became my personal, album of the year (2012).
There aren't many times in life when you can sit down and take time to listen to something you initially thought was rubbish, even less so when you are proven wrong in the most spectacular of fashion - it's not very easy either. So I shall close by saying that this is one worth breaking away from the usual mainstream sound and giving a genuine chance, because its impact is significant, it's sound, phenomenal.
on 12 November 2012
Deftones is a strange band to come out of the 90s. At the time they were labelled as nu-metal along with Limp Bizkit and Linkin Park, but it was clear they had more range and artistic ambition than just that misplaced label. The fact they were never shoe-horned into one outdated musical style allowed them to stay relevant and end up as one of the most consistently good bands from the 90s to date. They have never released a bad album, it's always been down to personal preference.
As a Deftones fan, I would confess to skipping some songs on their previous albums, even White Pony! When you're in a car, you only want the best tracks but I don't think I will skip any track when this CD is in. That's because of the variety between each track which shows how great an album it is to play in sequential order. There's not a single dud (which explains my 5 star rating). The best thing is the songs here are long with most of them going from 4 min and above. They even released "Tempest" as a single coming at more than 6 minutes.
The album starts out with a banger, "Swerve City", which shows they haven't forgotten strong metal riffs mixed with Chino Moreno's iconic vocals. Their music is as sexy and ferocious as ever here, which is probably why it's appealed to both guys and girls. "Romantic Dreams" brings a lot of tempo shifts that will knock you around that makes you never want to skip around the song. The dynamics of the song are so strong that they just let the last minute play out instrumentally. "Leathers" was the first song to be released, and it worked as a great return to Chino's shrieking and heavy metal. There's an animalistic style to it with the sludgy "wear your insides, on the outside" bit after the chorus. "Poltergeist" continues the old-school heavy speed reminiscent of "Shove It" that makes you want to jump and freak out.
We finally get to chill down with the spacious romanticism of "Entombed". Even when the lyrics are suggesting a slavish relationship, it's romantic with the theme of symbiotic organisms and poetic guitars. My favorite vocals from Chino come from "Graphic Nature" (opening riff reminds me of "Wax and Wane") where he displays his whole range, and one of my clear favorites from the album. It transitions nicely to the 6-min doomsday prog sprawl of "Tempest" that partners with the 7-min "Rosemary" as the most ambitious songs in Deftones' discography. Sounds hyperbolic, but you'll notice that duo ruminating in your head for a while. "Goon Squad" has a killer oceanic minute opening bolstered by Delgado's keyboards that'll give you that warm and fuzzy feeling before going into Chino's shrieks and old-school heavy guitars. They even go back to their experimental ages of Team Sleep with the last track, "What Happened to You?" where it's mostly instrumental while Chino's sweet vocals swim around.
I think in terms of favorites most people will be hard-pressed to choose between the rock epics of "Tempest" or "Rosemary" if they're prog-inclined, or between "Gauze" and "Leathers" if they're heavy metal fans. Somehow the album caters to all the romantic, metal, and spacy sides of Deftones music from ages past and is bound to please a fan of any of their musical grooves.
on 12 March 2013
Bloomin' marvellous album! Have a been a big fan for years (like a lot of people, 'White Pony' was the starting point) and this really does not disappoint. Enjoyed the bands previous album, 'Diamond Eyes', but it did feel a bit... 'samey'. 'Koi No Yokan', however, shifts from the sublime and beautiful ('Entombed', 'Rosemary') to the heavy and downright dirty ('Swerve City', 'Leathers'). There's a song or 3 in here for everyone. It's not as instant on the ear as 'White pony' or 'Around the fur' by any stretch of the imagination, but give it 2 or 3 spins and the melodies will stay in your head for days to come. As for Chino's voice... immense! Personally, i don't think he's ever sounded so good or sung so well. 5 stars, easily.
on 8 February 2013
After so many fantastic albums I felt Deftones latest release 'Koi No Yokan' wouldn't be as good as previous albums. How I was so wrong as it is possibly their best work yet. It is effectively a combination of all their best sounds from all their albums. Raw heaviness, delicate noise, shoegaze feel, powerhouse instrumentation and romantic lyricism are mixed flawlessly. It's easier to call it a heavier and more controlled Saturday Night Wrist, as it carries the dreamy vibe but with a much heavier sound. It is a heavy album that has tons of beauty.
'Swerve City' opens and has one of the bands catchiest riffs, it shows straight away how tight and controlled the band are. 'Romantic Dreams' is as the title suggests with slick guitar work yet its Chino's wonderful vocals and lyrics that make it standout. Single 'Leathers' shows the band haven't lost their heaviness with hammering guitars and unworldly shrieking yet retaining a beautiful chorus. 'Poltergeist' might be my favourite track, the verses contain blistering guitars and pounding drums and the breath-taking Dream Metal chorus is incredible. 'Entombed' is simply gorgeous and the guitar riff and softer vocals are amazing.
'Graphic Nature' has a brilliant guitar line and powerful vocals, 'Gauze' is similar as it manages to balance the heaviness of the verses and romanticism of the chorus perfectly (something the album excels at). Single 'Tempest' is bordering on Prog-Rock as it shows the bands versatility. 'Rosemary' is another highlight, as it starts and ends with an alluring guitar hook yet it contains a number of superb heavy hooks. The penultimate song 'Goon Squad' is another standout as it mixes crunching riffs with a spacey atmosphere.'What Happened To You?' is an incredible closer and words can't describe how beautiful it is.
I'd go as far as to call Koi No Yokan Deftones best album which is some achievement, simply an incredible album.
on 14 November 2012
As a dedicated long-term Tones fan (first saw them in 1998, and have been at nearly every UK tour since), this album sees a massive return to form following a solid but non-special Diamond Eyes. It seems like the band had to take time to come to terms with the changes in line-up and sound following Chi Cheng's terrible accident, and in my opinion they have sounded weaker for it ever since (years). To me Koi No Yokan sees them re-emerge, coming out the other side refreshed and vibrant. I don't see any point in comparing the album to White Pony etc. - that was certainly the band's pinnacle and it's in the past. In their new form however, this is more than I could have hoped for. It is cohesive, mature, heavy and beautiful. In future years, we might be talking about some of these songs in the same breathe as My Own Summer, Change, 7 Words....it's that good. Listen to Rosemary, if you're unsure. Deftones continue to surprise me with their unique sound, fantastic song-writing, and endurance. Long may it continue. They're back.
on 13 November 2012
The Deftones continue their sonic journey through the soundscapes of alternate metal with their seventh album 'Koi No Yokan' and it won't surprise fans to hear that it's another fantastic album, perhaps their most coherent and accessible to date.
The opening track 'Swerve City' kicks off the album in fine style, instantly landing familiar blows than any fan could recognise from three rooms away. The relentless thrum of Stephen Carpenter's riffing tears through the speakers as Abe Cunningham smashes through the cymbals and Chino Moreno arrives with a melodic vocal that sounds totally new and yet comfortably familiar at the same time. The song is quite literally the perfect introduction and the best opening track I think I've heard from the band, a strong indication of things to come.
The second track 'Romantic Dreams' is a little more traditional in its approach; implying that, despite a few changes, it is still very much business as usual. And from then on in, the album flows with a consistency that was severely lacking in some of their earlier albums, each song flowing perfectly from one to another. The album is not so much a contrast of heavy and mellow as 'Diamond Eyes' or the classic 'White Pony', and more a combination of the two. Almost every song is heavy in nature, yet with delicate subtleties, beauty and texture that you simply won't find on any other metal album. The intimate opening of 'Rosemary', the beautiful serenity of 'What Happened To You?' and the slow patient build-ups on 'Tempest', 'Leathers' and 'Goon Squad' offer some much appreciated moments of respite and reflection amongst the usual onslaught.
The guitars shred and chug as always and the drums roll and thunder along as Chino swings between singing, screaming, crooning and wailing in his usual style. The ambiance provided by Delgado is as crucial as ever and the bass from new lad Sergio Vega proves as effective as it did on the previous album. Most importantly however is the coherence. Ever since the band started to experiment in the early 2000s each album suffered in places due to the odd inclusion of disjointed experimental tracks like 'Lucky You' and 'Pink Cellphone' that probably should have just ended up on Chino's Team Sleep side project. However, since 'Diamond Eyes', the band seem to have gotten this out of their system, and their two most recent albums have really benefited as a result. 'Koi No Yokan' is pure Deftones from tracks 1-10 with only the final track showing elements of experimentation. However, it also acts as a perfect finish to the album leaving the listener with a sweet taste in their mouth.
I almost gave the album 4 stars as there are a couple of tracks that I was less keen on, but I had to bump it up to 5 because the album just works perfectly as a whole and I have a feeling that it is just going to get better and better the more times I listen to it (Which is definitely what happened with 'Diamond Eyes').
In conclusion, I would recommend this to anyone who loves the band or anyone who just knows a good hard rock album when they hear one. Top tracks for me are: 'Swerve City', 'Leathers', 'Entombed', 'Tempest' and 'What Happened to You?'.
on 16 November 2012
I really didn't expect I would like this as much until I actually heard it... It is such a ethereal and crushing experience and Chino's vocals are as beautiful as ever I like every track on this and gave it 2 spins on the day it arrived it was just that great I had to hear it all again in the same day! To sum it all up this is definitely one of my favourites of this year I totally didn't expect to be blown away by it but I was.
on 15 November 2012
This album is absolutely incredible, and probably the best since white pony. Deftones never fail to be so consistent, especially with allot of bands losing their edge nowadays. Every track is consistently good, and they all give us loads of variety, with some real stand-out tracks such as the aggressive 'Swerve City', chilling 'Leathers', and progressive monster 'Tempest'. Brilliant album from a brilliant band.
on 2 January 2013
If your a fan of Saturday Night Wrist and Diamond Eyes, you'll sink straight into this album with joy. From the initial heavy guitar riff of the first track to the beautiful and dreamy final track, for the most part, it was bliss. The singles from the album, 'Tempest' and 'Leathers' are great tracks, but as a fine example of how good this album is, yet again, Deftones prove their is more to chew on, with rich and beautiful tracks like 'Entombed' and 'Rosemary' that gel the album together. Chino's raw screams come to the fore in more heavier tracks like 'Gauze' and 'Goon Squad'.
I cannot really fault this album. Its another fine release from a band that doesnt dissapoint, unless your the type that refuses to let go of the first two albums, as some people do, and I understand. Deftones have expanded and come along way since their raw unhinged beginnings, but in my opinion, have retain the the Deftones style we all know and love. They have evolved, refined and honed this style with grace and beauty. I welcome more material like this in the future.
Keep up the good work. One love for Chi.