While some of the other albums by Deftones are considered more popular when compared to each other, Diamond Eyes is the album which has truly defined and shaped the band into the well-oiled machine that continues to draw immense crowds to this day. When the band was faced with the tragedy of their bassist Chi Cheng almost getting killed while driving with his sister in Santa Clara, they were forced to make a decision: Either complete and finish the album they were working on (Eros), or start from scratch and write a whole new album. Recruiting Quicksand bassist Sergio Vega, they wrote and recorded Diamond Eyes and pulled through perhaps the most critical point in their career.
Part of what makes Deftones so great is their ability to evoke true and heartfelt emotions while writing heavy-yet-catchy music that will appeal to the masses. So with the accident being the most prominent event looming over the songwriting, they formed a true masterpiece about positivity and optimism. The self-titled opening track has drop D bass along with beautiful texture, a contrast that works hand in hand with each other. The added electronic elements are what really define this from a good track to an excellent track. This sets the stage for the in-your-face style of “Royal,” which shows the band expressing hard emotion while also switching to dreamy, body-swaying vibes.
A throwback to the ’90s lies directly with “CMND/CTRL.” Sounding as if it were taken from the Adrenaline and Around The Fur sessions, it has a lot of that same funk-laden song structure that drives the constant energy flow of the track. Even when it gets slightly slower in the song, Chino Moreno still continues the momentum of the flow while the instruments transition with his voice alone.
While there are many bands of all genres that carve their own niche in the music world, Deftones are known for one thing: Playing music that only the Deftones can play. Never emulated, never copied, they are a breed of their own with “You’ve Seen the Butcher” and “Rocket Skates.” Even though it is said by them that Diamond Eyes was written in a positive light, they cannot escape some of the gloom and hurt that they are best known for. “You’ve Seen the Butcher” has an almost stoner metal feel through the instrumentation, and “Rocket Skates” gives old fashioned metal riffs and progression that combines with the alternative new school atmospheric vibes and pitch.
For a proper summary of the album, it can be defined as the amalgamation of every great instrumental and vocal element from their past albums that fully embraces the sharper and more defined alternative feel of the modern era. There just isn’t a single bad moment on this album; it is one of those true masterpieces that will no doubt stand the test of time while also crossing seamlessly into all demographics.
For more information of Chi Cheng and Eros, click here to read my article pertaining to all events surrounding that situation.