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Originally published in The Hindu Sunday Magazine on December 9, 2012

http://www.thehindu.com/arts/music/same-yet-different/article4171062.ece

Deftones – Koi No Yokan

Warner Bros.

To get straight to the point, Deftones’ new album Koi No Yokan is proof that the California alt-metal band simply have not (and cannot) wrong with their discography. They continue to leave their mark despite the absence of their bassist Chi Cheng, who is slowly recovering from an accident-induced coma in 2008.

There are no radical changes in sound on Koi No Yokan, but therein lies the challenge for Deftones. All their regular fans are pulled back in, and yet treated to something different; Like the opening track ‘Swerve City’ which just pounds in the riffs and beats. Unfortunately, the band follows a pattern of vocals and tone too similar to that on the second track ‘Romantic Dreams’. This leaves their second step forward to be a bit misplaced.

Where they win everyone over is with longer, more progressive songs such as ‘Tempest’, ‘Goon Squad’ and ‘Rosemary’, which is easily the masterpiece on the album. It’s exactly what you would call slow metal, a patient, calculated melody that sets in only to make you later realise it did have a few wicked grooves.

While the lead single ‘Leathers’ does well to keep things mainstream, it’s unbelievable how Deftones throw in a clap track and guitarist Stephen Carpenter’s monster 8-string riffs in ‘Polterheist’. There’s more familiar territory trudged upon in ‘Graphic Nature’, with its spiralling beat matching vocalist Chino Moreno sings “Go on explain/Tell me how you do it now/Your poison is glowing/Against the night”, a theme which fans know all too well.

Seven albums through, Deftones have definitely gained bragging rights to being one of the most consistent bands in metal. Koi No Yokan is that seventh medal they wear around their neck, while occupying the highest stand on the podium, of course. This is a more dynamic, experimental Deftones, featuring a sound more reminiscent of their third album White Pony, an album they recorded more than a decade ago. It’s not exactly back-to-basics if you never abandoned the basics, though.

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