Diamond Eyes

BY Max DeneauPublished May 18, 2010

As a reactionary piece to 2007's bloated, overproduced Saturday Night Wrist, Diamond Eyes is an effective, yet double-edged, return to what made Deftones such a compelling group in the first place. As an album on its own terms, however, it is lacking a fully developed identity and suffers when compared to the band's watershed moments. Guitarist Stephen Carpenter's use of eight-strings adds a touch of Meshuggah-like heft to the material, but his riffs sound a tad thrown together, at points, almost as if they were strapped for time and asked him to pump out some generic licks to spice up the songs. That said, vocalist Chino Moreno is in top form, smothering the tracks with his lilting falsetto and abstract sensuousness. Quicksand bassist Sergio Vega is drowned out somewhat by the guitar-centric mix, and the first record the group have done without the comatose Chi Cheng on the four-string doesn't lose much as a result of his absence. While Diamond Eyes is not without its standouts (such as the disarmingly aggressive "Rocket Skates" or the hypnotic climax of "Royal"), retaining most of the qualities fans will expect from the group, there is a lack of cohesion and forward-thinking writing that will have to be jettisoned in order for them to move ahead and release another masterpiece.

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