Release Date: May 4th, 2010
Reviewed by Evelyn Miska Krieger

For those who might not be so familiar with the Deftones’ music, it could be easy to imagine that they’d fall into a category of screaming, unintelligible and incredibly heavy music. What might then be surprising is that their latest album, Diamond Eyes, is melodic, interesting and quite surprising to the uninitiated.

Lest one make the mistake in thinking that all is sweetness and light on Diamond Eyes, the opening title track proves quite the opposite. Its opening has some crunchy guitars and a heavy feel, but the vocals, especially on the chorus, is far more dreamy and melodic than one might expect. Even for those listeners who aren’t usually into heavy metal, there’s something surprising about the Deftones. For those who have been long-time fans, the band continues to develop the sound they’ve been working on for years. Tracks like “Royal” still have that incredibly intense sound but balance it and it helps keep things interesting for listeners.

“You’ve Seen The Butcher” is driven by some strong drumming and a teeth-rattling bassline but still feels contiguous enough with the rest of the tracks so as not to seem like it should have been on a different band’s album. “Beauty School” returns to that slightly dreamy vocal style and makes great use of this approach. The songs are easy to listen to, but aren’t so obvious as to bore listeners after one playing of the collection. “Risk” begins with that same approach as “You’ve Seen The Butcher” and has some great guitar and vocal work as the song develops.

Diamond Eyes is simultaneously what long-term fans have come to expect from Deftones and not at all what newcomers might anticipate. The album shows a continuity and development from previous albums, something that isn’t always easy for bands to achieve the longer they’ve been around. Diamond Eyes only becomes more impressive when one realizes that the band had almost completed recording a different album but when their bassist, Chi Cheng, suffered severe injuries in a car accident, the band had to scrap their work and begin over with a new bassist, Sergio Vega. Although there was a great deal of turmoil and difficulty surrounding Diamond Eyes, the album itself is a success.

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