Deftones began their career as one of the creators of nu metal along with Korn back in the mid 1990’s. Unlike many other nu metal bands, they have been able to stay relevant without commercializing their music because of their use of sounds beyond those that just mix groove metal and hip hop. Along with being nu metal pioneers, they added elements of alternative metal and atmospheric metal into their albums to create a sound all their own. Their newest album, Koi No Yokan, is no exception.
The album doesn’t really bring anything new to the table as far as Deftones’ sound goes, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. In an ever changing and experimental metal landscape where many bands refuse to stick with the sounds that they are known for because they want to keep evolving, Deftones continue with their unique sound and haven’t ever really strayed from it. There is also no effort to commercialize their sound, like most other nu metal and alternative metal bands. If you like the Deftones, you like the Deftones. If you don’t, you never will. It’s kind of refreshing. Having said all of this, Koi No Yokan brings their best material to the table since 2000’s White Pony. I would dare to say that it’s even better.
It starts off with the heavy tracks “Swerve City” and “Romantic Dreams”. The band couldn’t have picked two more engaging, heavy, and beautiful songs to begin things. They contain that awesome mix of heavy riffs and the raspy yet calming vocals of lead singer, Chin0 Moreno. Along with this heavy sound, there is a lot of great use of atmospheric metal sounds throughout many of the tracks including, “Leathers”, “Tempest”, and Rosemary” These songs start off with hauntingly perfect tones that then kick into really heavy riffs. However, not everything on the album jumps into the heavy. There is a good mix here and songs like “Entombed” and “What Happened to You?” have that great intertwining of atmospheric metal and melody.
Songs like,”Poltergeist”, “Graphic Nature”, and “Gauze”, keep the heaviness rolling. All the songs are well written from both a lyrical and musical standpoint, so it’s almost impossible to pick the best songs on the album. The production by Nick Raskulinecz who has worked with acts like Rush, Shadows Fall, Death Angel, and Trivium is near perfect. The musicians are at their best and you can clearly hear how much their skills and technique have improved over the years. Chino has always had those great screaming to soothing vocals, but here he kicks them up a notch to give Koi No Yokan a strong heavy and melodic feel.
From front to back, Koi No Yokan, is nearly perfect and it’s nice to see a metal band with the ability give us something familiar and experimental at the same time. There are only two things keeping this album from a 5 out of 5. One is the atmospheric interlude that flows from the end of “Rosemary” into the beginning “Goon Squad”. It is unfortunately overdone and misplaced. It takes too much away from the strong momentum of both of these tracks. The second is the placement of “What Happened to You?”. This is a great atmospheric metal song, but it should not have ended the album. It should have been placed somewhere in the middle tracks. The slow tempo makes the album finish like someone was blowing out the fire.
All in all, if you are a fan of the Deftones and metal as a whole, you need to check out this album. I assure you there is nothing like it out there right now. Here’s hoping that the Deftones continue to work with the sounds that have made them great and unique, and that they don’t fall into that hard rock, pop, and dub step commercial trap that many of their former nu metal and alternative metal brethren find themselves in.