10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
A beautiful, powerful record,
This review is from: Diamond Eyes (Audio CD)
Although I have long been fanatical about this band, I will always admit their faults. For me, self-titled was a record on which they sounded well and truly stuck in a rut. It was plodding, lacking urgency and inspiration. Saturday Night Wrist was more promising but wildly inconsistent. It contains some of their best work - Combat and Rapture stand among their best songs for me - but also some of their most insipid - Xerces, Pink Cellphone, Mein. All the songs in between such as Cherry Waves and Beware, although decent, failed to really stick in my conciousmess for too long. That record was very much the victim of the fractured nature of its own recording.
I worried about Eros as it seemed they were getting bogged down in creating a masterpiece, but as we all know fate tragically intervened. The band was floored by Chi's accident and Eros was indefinitely shelved.
All of which makes Diamond Eyes one of the unexpected triumphs of recent years. Throwing off the shackles of grief and getting back to what they did best on ATF and WP, all with a renewed sense of purpose and energy...well, I can think of no better tribute to their stricken compadre.
The record opens with the title track, which I actually didn't really like at first. It sticks in your head after time though and I now think its the perfect way to kick off the record. It's positive, upbeat, uplifting. Life-affirming. Which is a recurrent theme throughout.
Next up is Royal which, just like Rapture does on SNW, throws you off kilter after a melodic opener in brutal brilliant fashion. Deftones at their powerful best.
CMD/CTRL almost reverts to the hip-hop stylings of Back to School. This one draws you in with its persistent chug and thud.
You've Seen the Butcher is a real standout. A slow, menacing riff underpinned with some nice atmospherics and a knockout bridge/chorus combination. This really takes me back to White Pony era 'tones. Beauty School follows and a brisk, sparse almost 80s sounding arrangement during the verses leads to a powerful chorus that builds in intensity. This pairing of tracks leading up to midway in the record really does build momentum and excitement for what's to follow, absolutely brilliant stuff.
Prince is the most White Pony track on the album, owing mainly to the fact that they seem to have entirely ripped off another one of their own songs, Rx Queen. It's rumoured that this is a response or follow-up to that tune, but in places it really is almost entirely identical. Still, if you're a fan of Rx Queen, as I am, it follows that you will enjoy this a lot.
Rocket Skates we all know very well by now. Again, I wasn't actually too sure about this on first listen but you cannot help but get drawn in by its relentless chugging riff and it works well in the context of the album. This is followed by Sextape which is by turns horizontally chilled and soaring.
What follows next is, in my opinion, astonishing stuff. Deftones do have a knack of peaking towards the end of albums. Around the Fur had the Dai Th Flu and Headup combination. White Pony has Passenger, Change and Pink Maggit, while SNW had the neat Combat/Kimdracula pairing.
Diamond Eyes has Risk and 976-EVIL. These tracks, to me, are two of the most powerful the band have produced to date. Chino has stated that not one song was written specifically about or to Chi but many of the lyrics allude to his feelings around the situation. It's on these two songs where you can hear this most. Risk has to be one of the most emotionally charged songs they've produced and I'm not exaggerating when I say it's one of thir finest career achievements. I could listen to it a thousand times on a loop and get lost in it more with every listen. Ditto for 976-EVIL. This song is epic, stunning and overflowing with emotion. It makes the hairs on the neck stand up every time.
After that pairing of tracks, album closer This Place is Death is something of an inevitable anti-climax, but on its own merits is another powerful tune.
Diamond Eyes has the urgency and inspiration so lacking in self-titled, and the cohesion and consistency so lacking on Wrist. Without a shadow of doubt, their finest record since White Pony. Given the circumstances surrounding the birth of this album, what they've given us really is some achievement and they should be rightly proud.
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Initial post: 4 Mar 2011, 13:31:50 GMT
A Canadian says:
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