Koi No Yokan
UG Team, on november 17, 2012 4 of 5 people found this review helpful
Sound: Back in the early 2000s, nu-metal had reached its commercial (if not critical) peak. Limp Bizkit's "Rollin'" had gone straight in at #1 on both sides of the Atlantic, while the polished angst of Linkin Park's "Hybrid Theory" was selling millions. But, while these second wave acts were turning the genre into a commercial pop viability, Deftones, one of the groups who had pioneered the form during the 1990s, were about to take a quantum leap away from nu-metal territory and into something very different. White Pony, the band's 2000 record, achieved something seemingly impossible; effectively creating a heavy metal soundscape album, which segued from ambiance to brutality, often within a single musical frame.
12 years on, and the heavy metal musical landscape has changed. As nu-metal imploded in the years after the genre's commercial peak, many of its star bands quickly became nostalgia acts. Yet, Deftones, over all of their contemporaries, have persisted, consistently innovating and pushing the envelope. "Koi No Yokan" is the band's seventh full length album, and feels like the sound of what they started with White Pony taken to its logical conclusion. As the opening riff of "Swerve City" drops, the aural impact is something akin to being repeatedly twatted in the face with a giant spade. Yet, as Chino Moreno's vocals, accompanied by a rich palette of synthesizers, soar over the doomy intro, you could be forgiven for thinking that you're listening to a cover of a mid-period Pink Floyd track, albeit in standard C tuning. It's a juxtaposition that persists throughout "Koi No Yokan's" 51 minutes and 40 seconds of runtime, and one which makes for a consistently compelling listen.
"Koi No Yokan" is an immersive experience. It is a record that you can get lost in for days, with the impact punishingly heavy slabs of riffage that the band unleashes at any given moment always adding to, rather than detracting from what is a lusciously detailed sonic panorama. Such is the cohesion of the album, which effortlessly transitions from heavy to light, dark to euphoric, that it at times feels like, dare say it, a concept album. // 10
Lyrics: For a record is so sonically layered, it is strange that the lyrics on "Koi No Yokan" seem so much about peeling back what is on the surface. Deftones, in the past, had always seemed to write in abstracts. Passenger, from White Pony for example, is ostensibly a song about dogging, yet is as much an allegory for feelings of misplaced security and control. On "Koi No Yokan" though, such dualities are stripped away in favor of lyrics which are far more explicit in their meaning:
"Shedding Your Skin, Showing Your Texture.
Time to Let Everything Inside Show.
You're Cutting All Ties Now and Forever
Time to let everything outside you"
As if in support of this, Moreno gives some of the cleanest vocal performances of his career on this record; the blood-curdling, vulture-like scream that had characterized Deftones' earlier work is only employed here when absolutely necessary. Part of the group's success as a whole has always been their control of dynamics, but Chino's vocals suggest here, a mastery of the sonic landscape in a way that no other Deftones record has ever expressed. // 10
Overall Impression: "Koi No Yokan" is everything that you'd expect from Deftones' fourth post-"White Pony" offering. And, given the caliber of that record, meeting those expectations is certainly no bad thing. Dynamic, ambitious and emotive, knowing just when to cool off and when to kick the listener's face in, the disc is a reaffirmation that Deftones were always, and still are, the best band of the nu-metal crop and the most innovative metal act of the post-2000s.
Koi No Yokan
davey77, on november 23, 2012 0 of 1 people found this review helpful
Sound: The thing I love about the Deftones is that they're albums are always different, for good or bad. With that said, this album has a great sound. Every time I listen to I feel like I'm dreaming or I'm freakin' high on something. The mood is definitely... Well moody. The songs are dynamic, not like a soft then hard then soft like in their past but really groovy. Chino's voice is awesome as usual; very soothing yet not as aggressive in the past, his guitar work has gotten way better as well, using more delay effects, the bass is very thick and loud, the synths shine a lot in this album, Abe's drums are the best that I've heard in this one; its really jazzy, and almost dancy in a way yet it grooves hard like some metal bands, to me he really stands out with chino the best.
Now for the bad and I mean this in a sad, sad way. When I started out playing guitar back in 98' all I want to sound like was like Steph, and it makes me sob that is guitar, well sucks. Its really weak and repetitive on all the songs. His tone with the 8string just sounds muddy as hell, and its sounds too much like Korn/nu metal crap. Honestly I feel like he was just thrown in their, its boring with him on their. I mean the guitars on the last record was phenomenal! What happened Steph, you where known for your tone! In my opinion he needs to get back to 6 string, "Around The Fur"/"White Pony" tone. The album sounds like everyone has progressed except for Steph (man that hurt typing that). // 7
Lyrics: Lyrically Chino has the best out there, it sets the tone of the album. I feel like I'm having a wild dream when I list to his lyrics. He doesn't scream in this one, it would be just pointless if he did though. His voice is the best by far in any other albums. I really think he out did himself on this one but then again I thought he did on "Diamond Eyes" too! The music is really dreamy and moody which compliments Chino's voice, its almost like his voice is leading you to messed up dream. By far "Leathers" is the best song with the lyrics, I can't imagine what kind of story he's singing in his head. Its by far the best he's written since "White Pony". // 10
Overall Impression: Honestly I was expecting something more because "Diamond Eyes" was such a good album maybe even their best to debate but this could of been a better album but its not a horrible album either. I would compare it to "Saturday Night Wrist" or the self title with a sprinkle of "White Pony". The songs are good in their own way, yet theirs something in each that bothers me for example the opening track sounds like nu-metal Korn riff, but Chino's voice with Abe's drumming saved the song. The second song "Romantic Dreams" is such a cluster of songs mushed into one, its good but it sounds like I'm listening to 3 sample songs of Amazon into one. "Leathers" is a solid track kinda takes forever to get going though, "Poltergeist" is great too, "Entombed" sound good but all to familiar like it should of been on "Saturday Night Wrist". "Graphic Nature" is has an okay hook but its too repetitive. "Tempest", "Gauze" and "Goon Squad" stand out as the best for me. Again "Rosemary" sounds too familiar. And lets not forget the synth pop song they made so famous/infamous like in "White Pony" with "What Happened To You?" which is probably a good closer to the album.
Over all it took me 3 listens to really get the album and enjoy it. Its not like the self-title or "Saturday Night" where I felt like it was rushed and kinda lazy but really melodic and different and well polished production. If you're expecting the crushing sounds of "Diamond Eyes" then think again, its not better but different in a good way. The album would probably sound better if the heavy guitars weren't involve or at least go back to the "White Pony" tone. I give it a solid 7 for dynamics, good production and originality! // 7
Koi No Yokan
cyclonus, on november 23, 2012 0 of 1 people found this review helpful
Sound: Deftones return with their anticipated follow up to "Diamond Eyes" with an effort quite reflective of that innovative release. The 8-string guitar of Stephen Carpenter is still out at full force, making use of every possible riff at his disposal from both ends of the low and high end spectrum with full backing of Abe Cunningham, Frank Delgado and Sergio Vega, warping the sound into a very atmospheric outing.
Comparatively, "Koi No Yokan" is to "Diamond Eyes" as "White Pony" was to "Around The Fur"; the smoother and more experimental follow-up while still featuring some heavy riff-based songs. There are the straight-up headbangers like "Swerve City", "Gauze" and "Polterheist" as well as the soft, mellow compositions of "Rosemary", "What Happened To You?" and "Entombed". In the middle, we also have the songs that blend the two opposites to form the likes of "Leathers", "Romantic Dreams" and the impressive "Tempest". There's a lot to like here, particularly for the more eclectic Deftones fan with little to be disappointed with.
Conversely, if there is anything to be said negatively of the album, it would be that it does sound like a more passive outing of "Diamond Eyes" which may not necessarily be a bad thing but does not give it a lot of ground to stand on its own. Some songs may even sound identical to ones on the previous outing like "Swerve City" slightly resembling a more up-tempo version of Royal while others sound reminiscent of other artists, the low F# riff on "Polterheist" sounding too close to Meshuggah and Chino's chorus vocals on "Romantic Dreams" loosely reflective of U2's "With Or Without You". That said, none of these aspects make "Koi No Yokan" a dull or uninspiring listen, rather the complete opposite. // 8
Lyrics: Chino's back with his dream-like vocals that perfectly capture the atmospheric nature of the album, along with his loud yells to enhance the more aggressive parts of the songs. A notable absence from "Koi No Yokan" are the pterodactyl screams he has previously employed on the likes of the self-titled album but they are not missed too much on this occasion.
With Moreno's lyrics, it's safe to say he does not explore unfamiliar territory with his subject matters with his writings reflecting romance at most opportunities (no doubt a concept of the album's title this time round). Compared to previous albums, there are a lot less songs referencing drugs and more based on personal feelings from a first or third person perspective. While not covering new ground, there's no doubt Chino knows how to graft a well-written song with the likes "Romantic Dreams" and "Tempest".
A minor gripe to be had with Chino would be that his vocals tend to blend into each other when listening to the album as a whole. Often it's hard to differentiate the songs by their choruses for this reason but it is this same aspect that brings out the best of his voice and is something that can be looked aside after a few listens. // 8
Overall Impression: There's no doubt that "Koi No Yokan" is an impressive album with the band putting their full effort into making it. There is little here to dislike and features a wide range of sounds that expands beyond Deftones' entire back catalogue. The complaints of the album would be that it may appear to have used "Diamond Eyes" as a template when creating it which hurts its originality and it may not appeal to the more heavy fans of the band who would expect a few brutal songs reminiscent of the likes of "Hexagram", "Cmnd/Ctrl" and "Elite", instead opting to blend their heaviness with their soft side a little too often here. It's also questionable whether this album will stand the test of time for the aforementioned reasons but that is merely a matter of debate. "Koi No Yokan" is a strong effort and will satisfy most Deftones fans with its broad musical integrity. // 8
Koi No Yokan
Jessica-Lyn, on january 24, 2013 0 of 1 people found this review helpful
Sound: "Koi No Yokan" is, essentially, a hybrid of "Saturday Night Wrist" and "Diamond Eyes" and it does not disappoint. Very rarely when I listen to a new album does it blow me away. Only a select few from my memory have ever made me as giddy as a school girl on the first listen. This is one of them, upon the first listen I knew all the songs, some of the lyrics, and I was blown away. The opener, "Swerve City", has blaring, heavy instrumentals mixed with Chino's soft crooning. The two work perfectly together, and it doesn't hurt that the melody is catchy as Hell. This track also features something similar to a guitar solo, which is rare in Deftones' music.
Deftones has their own original sound down to a T. The key their sound always has been and always will be the battle between loud and quiet, soft and heavy, delicate and making your soul hurt. // 8
Lyrics: "Romantic Dreams" has a waltz vibe to it, which switches into a groove and a more relaxed chorus. The song is a monster, and has a very ethereal quality. The first single, "Leathers", opens with an ambient, peaceful intro, which is shattered in seconds by Chino's screams and the crushing guitar riffs. "Poltergeist" has an old school Deftones vibe, fused with their new sound. It's the shortest track on the album but it's abrasive, memorable, and a definite stand out.
"Entombed" is reminiscent of a Crosses/Deftones hybrid, and is without a doubt one of the best songs on this record. The lyrics are fantastic and the song is very emotional. "Graphic Nature" is the least memorable song on this record. I find myself forgetting what it sounds like, yet once I listen to it, I find myself singing along and grooving along to it as much as the other songs.
"Tempest" seems to have more of a mainstream metal sound that singles tend to have, making it less appealing to me (although it loses most of that in the context of the album). It's with out a doubt great and is catchy as hell, and emotional. The lyrics are great - like most of Deftones' work - and the perfect choice for a single. "Gauze" is odd, in that when I first listened to it, the vocal melodies in the verses bothered me. There was just something in the way that were sung that didn't seem to fit, but after repeated listens it's grown on me. The chorus is killer as well.
The next two tracks are the peak of the album. "Rosemary" and "Goon Squad" are easily the two best tracks, "Rosemary" being slower and droning while "Goon Squad" is more aggressive. The two segue into each other seamlessly via an ambient interlude that encompasses the tone of both songs into one.
The closer "What Happened To You" is probably my least favourite track. It's great, but it doesn't hit me as hard as all the others. It's softer and more melodic, but there isn't much to the song. It's simple, but the section where Chino sings:
"The sky is falling down
The night is calling you
A star is burning out
The sky belongs to you"
Makes the song so much more enjoyable. It's a very satisfying conclusion to the album but could have been much better. // 6
Overall Impression: This is a fantastic record and one of Deftones' best to date. The only real downside to this album is that the band hasn't really introduced any new elements to their music. It's basically a mixture of "Diamond Eyes" and "Saturday Night Wrist". Although that's not a band thing it would have been nice to see what new innovations to their sound they had made. I'm extremely looking forward to the band's next album, and to the recuperation of bassist Chi Cheng. Seriously, buy this record. It's worth the money. // 7