It’s difficult to discuss heavy, melodic, or ambient rock music without The Deftones slipping from one’s tongue and into the conversation. Since barging their way onto the scene with their angst-driven 1994 debut Adrenaline, the Sacramento, California based band has woven a tightly knit mosaic of sounds ranging from ear rupturing loud to lullaby static soft. Their latest release, Diamond Eyes, is yet another masterful example of how they seamlessly blendelements of hardcore and heavy metal with rhythmic electronic and hip-hop backgrounds. Stephen Carpenter (Lead Guitar), Abe Cunningham (Drums), Sergio Vega (Bass), and Frank Delgado (Keyboards, Turntables, and Sampling)paint the albeit palpable accent to lead singer Chino Moreno’s undenibale vocals – which is ever prone to switch from skin melting sultry to stroke impelling turbulent.
Diamond Eyes totes a series of tracks reliant more on guitar, drum, and bass, unlike their previous album Saturday Night Wrist, which held more electronic/trip-hop elements. That isn’t to say these sounds have disppeared entirely.Tracks “CMND/CTRL” and “You’ve Seen The Butcher” carry with them the sleak ensemble of keys at their backbone, kicking in flawlessly with drum and bass upon the apex of each tune. “Rocket Skates“ hits you with the familiar brunt edge of their old work. At the other end of the spectrum, “Sextape” showcases their softer egde – slowing down rifts, and focusing more on Chino’s meloncholic musings, as he cants the looming chorus. “Prince”, “Beauty School”, and “Risk” are more about painting vague hews of the old with a deep shade of the new. Fashioned at the album’s brim withrazor-sharp wordplay, filled with assorted references to glass, teeth, knives, and other potentially sharp implements,Diamond Eyes tutors all on the anatomy of chaos when merged with melody.
It’s easy for onlookers to slap the band with the label “mainstream” when assesing known songs such as “Minerva”,“Change (In the House of Flies)”, and “Hole In The Earth”, however, one is hard-pressed to deny the list of Indie bands that have taken root from Deftones’ influence. Idiot Pilot, Poison the Well, and Finch (to name only three) all carry with them notes strikingly similar to the Deftones and have been traversing a road they helped pave for independent music. It’s easy to forget that every band is underground at some point. The underlying fact is that longevity and mainstreamexposure are not synonomous. On the contrary, vitality within mainstream music today seems to be an increasinglyrare commodity. The reason being not all bands can redefine themselves to effectively stay afloat in the often fickle seas of the music world, while simaltaneously keeping the music at the band’s core. The Deftones do this effortlessly(though never carelessly), and have inspired others in the indie scene to do the same in the process.
Diamond Eyes (released on May 4, 2010), already having garnered positive acclaim by critics, is bound to be just as great a success within mainstream and indie circles alike, for genuinely good music holds within the ineffable quality to gather appreciative crowds.