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Deftones - Diamond Eyes Review

Scott Newman
Scott Newman

The Deftones are a mainstay in the alternative rock and metal scene since 1988. They released a new album Diamond Eyes in May 2010. Here is a review and background on the Deftones latest work.

The Deftones are from Sacramento, California in U.S.A. The band came to be through a freakish accident where founding member (guitarist) Stephen Carpenter was hit by a car whilst skateboarding and became wheelchair bound for months. This is when he learned to play the guitar. The rest of the band members were skateboarding friends of his at High School who found out he played guitar and began jamming together. After finding a bassist in Chi Cheng the band then started to gain popularity playing in the Los Angeles underground scene with bands like Korn & Orgy.
They have now released six albums in Adrenaline (1995), Around The Fur (1997), White Pony (2000), Deftones (2003), Saturday Night Wrist (2006) & Diamond Eyes (2010) The new album was supposed to be released as Eros but this has been delayed due to a terrible car accident in November 2008 resulting in Chi Cheng going into a coma which he is currently still going in and out of. As he recovers Sergio Vega has joined the band temporarily in his place. The album will be released probably if and when Chi recovers.
There albums have many appearances on songs of other artists who are popular in alternative rock like Scott Weiland, Maynard James Keenan, Max Cavalera & Serj Tankian. They have also songs on soundtracks including the Matrix, The Crow (City Of Angels) & Escape from LA compilations. The b-sides and rarities compilation (2005) featured many of the bands favourite covers of artists such as Duran Duran, The Cure, The Smiths, Sade, Cocteau Twins & Lynard Skynard. It is a very good selection of songs with broad styles in the music.
The band has 13 singles to date and could be one of the biggest unheralded alternative metal group of the nineties. White Pony is in my opinion their best album. It is also the one I recommend to new listeners.


The two singles (so far) off this album are Rocket Skates & Diamond Eyes. This is the first album that Chi Cheng has not been involved with as he was part of the Eros recording that is still yet to be released.
This album is the most experimental of the Deftones album as they are exploring similar territory as in White Pony. The sound is very imaginative with the familiar set of guitar arrangements in some songs. I like the boundaries they have pressed for on tracks like You’ve seen the butcher, Prince & 976-Evil. The album does not display a theme of doom, death and despair like some of the other albums instead it presents the depth of their sound. I imagine that a lot of Eros has brushed its way into this album too.
They have genuinely stepped into a different playing field as they have identified that the current state of music is rather bland or formulaic lacking real adventure like the artistic bands of the eighties and nineties. (To a degree) Chino Moreno (lead singer/guitarist) isn’t all about screaming this time and attributes the influence of the Cure to the imaginative sound scope of the new record.
I am under the impression that a lot of the production and delay with this album is due to the tragic news within the band regarding Chi. Though this sad event the Deftones have been able to create something powerful and trying different styles as throughout each release. The new direction of the Deftones is positive. There a still a lot of similar sounds to some of the songs but overall it commands to be listened through time and time again. The sound is indeed heavy but there are a lot of experimental parts to the songs. This album has a real raw sound in some respect.
Sergio Vega (the new bassist) adds a different edge to the band in place of Chi. I think this adds to the overall broadening aspect to Diamond Eyes. Fans of the previous albums will notice this as well. I believe that this album may not be as immediately accessible as Saturday Night Wrist but as I have taken the time to listen through the album many times you realise the depth present on this album.
They are currently on tour in Russia and then on to Europe. They will be joined by Alice in Chains & Mastodon on their North American tour. (I have every intention on seeing this show!)
Diamond Eyes overall is an album that has appreciation given from the depth of the previous albums to give a new edge to their sound. I wish all the best for the recovery of Chi Cheng and that is family are with him. You can donate to help his recovery by going here.

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