“Koi No Yokan”. A Japanese phrase that when translated means “The sense one can have upon first meeting a person that the two of you are going to fall in love.” A beautiful sentiment if ever there was one. It is also the name of the seventh studio album, by Deftones, a band that dabbles in beautiful sentiments wrapped up in barbed wire riffs, a band whose legacy speaks for itself. With “Koi No Yokan”, Deftones had the unenviable task of living up to the impossibly high standards they set for themselves with its predecessor “Diamond Eyes,” which itself was an album that many thought they band had lost the ability to make.
Opening track ‘Swerve City’ bounces along on a riff that is reminiscent of so many great Deftones riffs that have come before it, before Chino Moreno let’s out of his incredible melodic vocals and the whole song draws you back into the fold immediately. It’s an arresting opening and probably the best opening track on a Deftones record since ‘My Own Summer (shove it)’ on the bands sophomore album ‘Around The Fur’.
“Koi No Yokan”, much like the band’s third album “White Pony” has once again refined the Deftones sound. It’s still absolutely heavy in places, with chainsaw riffs that could take down empires, but there is a softness to found amongst all the many layers this album provides, which is an ideal way to describe “Koi No Yokan”. It is an album full of layers and moods, that lives and breathes and shifts in its own ways, you get tracks like ‘Swerve City’, ‘Leathers’ and ‘Gauze’ that bring the riffs. Then there is a track like ‘Entombed’ which is one of, if not the most, tender and beautiful tracks that the band has ever written. It feels more in keeping with the material written by Chino Moreno in his side projects Team Sleep and Crosses and is the real emotional linchpin the album rests on.
For a while, it seemed like Deftones were a band that was happy to coast along, and just release albums of varying degrees of quality in their own sweet time, but them after the release of “Diamond Eyes” it seemed like they had been reborn. “Koi No Yokan” sees them take what they did with “Diamond Eyes” and expand it in an even more organic and textured musical path. “Koi No Yokan” is the sound of a band taking a long hard look in the mirror and remembering exactly who they are, one of the metal world’s most interesting and incredibly gifted bands.
“Koi No Yokan” may have a warm sentiment behind it, but in this context it could quite easily be translated as ‘Album of the year.’ Deftones are now 2 for 2 with no signs of slowing down, and I for one am excited to see where the next chapter of their career takes them.