A few days ago I loaded Koi No Yokan, the latest album by the Deftones, onto my phone as I went out running. As my feet the ground, music hit my ears and I was in love. I can’t help but feel that love is an appropriate emotion to feel for this release because love is the theme that runs throughout. Love, and all the joy and pain that can go with it.
Deftones have always been a band that can tap deeply into emotion in their music. Chino Moreno’s vocals can scream out frustration and fury, or softly sing out hope…or despair. With the heavy sound that defines the Deftones, it would be easy for these vocals to get lost or overpowered in the mix but the band is so tight and precise in what they do that they always remain in perfect balance with what is happening around.
Koi No Yokan is an engaging album. The fury and power of songs like Swerve City, Poltergeist, or Gauze is palpable. Sharp pounding drums, thundering bass lines, power chords that hover on the edge of dissonance without ever taking the plunge. These are the hooks and riffs that make it impossible to stop listening. They aren’t the defining moments though. What makes the album really work are the dynamics. Songs such as Entombed, or Romantic Dreams still carry the same passion but at a slower more thoughtful pace.
If you want to hear where the magic of Koi No Yokan truly comes together, put on the track Tempest. The song starts with soft vocals and a guitar that is felt more than heard. When the rest of the band enters, they come in strong and are relentless in their execution.
Over the last decade, many of the Nu-Metal bands like Limp Bizkit gradually faded to the wayside or dissolved. Deftones have shown that they not only are sticking it out but that they are still relevant and capable of making truly great music.