By at 1:02 PM Thursday, November 8th 2012


Deftones Burn Brighter Than Ever on ‘Koi No Yokan’

Deftones, Reviews


Koi No Yokan – the sense a person gets upon meeting someone that the two of them will inevitably fall in love – is as poetically fitting of a title to Deftones‘ seventh LP as one could dream. The term, unlike love at first sight, suggests the full embrace of love has yet to arrive, but it is all around you – an inescapable magnetic gravity, a reality riptide of the most enchanting variety.

Listen to Koi No Yokan in full

This is the point of arrival in a return to confidence that Diamond Eyes promised two years ago. Koi No Yokan conveys a band outrunning the shadow of their agonies, and – aided by returning producer Nick Raskulinecz – constructing a world of spectacular dynamics through peripheral textures and pendular intensity, in the most evolved musicianship of the Sacramento rockers’ careers.

As opener Swerve City makes clear immediately in a galloping burst of power, a sense of committed and confident purpose is a rich flavor weaving through the meat of the album. Where Diamond Eyes delivered a brooding severity built in the tragic wake of bassist Chi Cheng’s sudden departure from the ranks, Koi No Yokan delivers a jet-fuel catharsis of reestablishment in an aural kaleidoscope with surging arcs of dramatic intensity and explosive, confidently sprawling dynamics.

The swing-strut urgency of album highlight Romantic Dreams is pure danger from the get-go, frontman Chino Moreno alternately screaming and crooning through blasting bursts of tempo shifts. He melodically wraps the thrashing instrumentation in a roaring vocal embrace, bridging the planets of aggression, spastic intensity and percussive schizophrenia with gorgeous grace. Raskulinecz establishes a further presence with warm depth in a palette of textures and shifts of gravity in the sound, creating an emotionally-connective atmosphere through nuanced soundscape margins in the negative space. He aids invaluably in bringing home the panic-spaz essence of a space-shuttle crash through Leathers, a romantically epic air of finality rushing toward the ground in grinding surges.

A breath and a scream later, Poltergeist brings the fear with handclaps and bassist Sergio Vega’s buzz-saw low end opening the cage on a sprinting, snarling beast of a song. It’s mean, it’s packed with attitude, and Abe Cunningham’s relentlessly impressive stomping percussion flurries keep us strapped to the animal, wherever it may roam. Meanwhile, the processed & digitized restraint in the drums during Entombed allow the track enough delicate glide to serve as a sister to Sextape, a beautiful riptide pulling us into Stephen Carpenter’s hypnotically circular core riff before a ringing feedback tone brings the flower into a full bursting bloom.

The beautifully reflective, ethereal instrumentation through the seventh minute of slow-grind apocalypse soundtrack Rosemary eases seamlessly into Goon Squad‘s deceptively tranquil intro, the calm before the hornet storm. It’s a final style flex before album closer What Happened to You, which percussively threatens to veer into International Noise Conspiracy range before setting into a decorative, pensive new-wave dream groove. It’s a fascinatingly promising send-off, leaving the evolving Deftones formula open-ended through an enigmatically subtle and complex departure.

With Koi No Yokan, Deftones have delivered a calculated and fragile devastation, a feather floating upward in the calming air of the eye of a hurricane. There are no disjointed moments, no breaks in flow; the album is a richly-layered jedi high-wire dance that makes one wonder where the 52 minutes went, a conveyance of truly impressive growth, while flexing the entirety of strengths the band is founded upon.

To hell with the sky – there are no limits anymore.



Koi No Yokan

Released: 13/11/2012
Label: Warner Bros. Records
1. Poltergeist
2. Romantic Dreams
3. Leathers
4. Swerve City
5. Entombed
6. Graphic Nature
7. Tempest
8. Gauze
9. Rosemary
10. Goon Squad
11. What Happened To You?

Meanwhile, On The Internet...

  1. Reverend Justito says:

    Fuck yeah!

  2. jsun says:

    I don’t listen to as much heavy rock as I once did, but I will never not-love the Deftones. The fact that they’re still putting out stellar music after so many years is amazing. Great review, great album.

  3. zobi says:

    well deserved 5 stars, congratulations deftones, you did it again!

  4. “a breath and a scream” :) Wonderful.

  5. This is one of the most well written reviews I’ve read on this site to date. Really conveys the album’s emotions and those of the listener as well. Great job Johnny!

  6. David Arthur says:

    Wonderful review and excellent album, long live Deftones!!

  7. Drew says:

    Sometimes it’s fun to play this game in my mind, coming up with one song that expresses the dynamic and mood of a band. I think Goon Squad might be that song for the Deftones in this second phase of their career. So badass!

  8. Jaekh says:

    “a feather floating upward in the calming air of the eye of a hurricane” is _the_ perfect metaphor for KNY.

    fantastic review for a phenomenal album

  9. Jaekh says:

    and just a heads up – in the tracklist and album cover above the comments “Gauze” is misspelled

  10. Rob says:

    I just got finished listening to it, objectively. I must say that I was impressed! Its such a great album, and I love Polterheist – I wanted to just rock out all day to this.

  11. Drew says:

    A lot of Chino’s vocal style on this record sounds like a continuation of his work on Crosses…and so some of it doesn’t seem that fresh to me. But I guess when I think of it purely as part of the Deftones universe it doesn’t bother me. This is definitely more deserving of a 5 star rating than Diamond Eyes.

  12. Plastilina_Ve says:

    This was a great review brother. The whole vibe is about evolution all around.

  13. I’d give it four stars out of five–at first I thought it felt like a fiver but not quite bringing me to the five-place. It has a lot of experimental soundscapes and loop which leaves me wanting more and not getting it.

    I’d say White Pony was a five star effort, and Diamond Eyes four stars, this one four, still potentially to grow into a five in my soul. The other Deftones CD I own is Around the Fur but I never was able to get into that at all.

    The fact that they are producing fresh, raw, relevant music after this much time is certainly a five star fact. It is very rare what they are achieving.

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