Sound — 8
With every album the Deftones release, they always manage to bring a new sound to their audience. Diamond Eyes is no exception. Lead guitarist, and also main songwriter for this album, Stephen Carpenter is a fan of Swedish progressive metal band Meshuggah, which is very evident here. This is also the first Deftones album to have 8-string guitars, a feat Meshuggah are known for. This influence easily makes Diamond Eyes their most progressive, and not to mention heaviest album to date. Diamond Eyes is by far the Deftones' most radical change of sound. However, they have still managed to preserve their distinctive feats which still makes Diamond Eyes a recognizable Deftones record; Chino Moreno's lush vocals are still floating like a feather on top of the distorted guitars, their etheric, melodic choruses are still present, and the songs bear a sense of taint, danger and urgency.
Lyrics — 10
I am currently reviewing the leak, so lyrics are hard to get a hold of at the moment. But from what I've heard at the moment, this has got to be Chino Moreno's best lyrical effort to date. The lyrics on Diamond Eyes are reminiscient of the lyrics Chino provides for his side project Team Sleep. As stated by himself, on Diamond Eyes, Chino has refrained from story-telling. Instead of singing about personal experiences, often through metaphors, which he has on the previous albums, Chino paints visual images here. Not only the lyrics are reminiscient of Team Sleep. Although it would seem absurd to some, being a long-time Deftones fan, I can distinguish Chino's singing for the Deftones from his singing for Team Sleep, and the vocals on Diamond Eyes sound more like Team Sleep-Chino than Deftones-Chino. To be more specific, when Chino sings for the Deftones, his vocals seem sobbing and frustrated, while when Chino sings for Team Sleep, his vocals are more floaty and seem more at ease. But this is by no means a bad thing. After their previous album Saturday Night Wrist, I was afraid that Chino Moreno was losing beginning his voice completely. Although the singing on the album itself was good, seeing him perform live was an embarrassment. He could barely scream anymore, as seemed to be constantly exhausted. However, Chino has now dropped an immense amount of weight, squared up with his bandmates, and is by no doubt back in top shape. He is now more energic live than ever, which shows on the album aswell. To conclude, Chino Moreno has made an enormeous comeback here. The singing on Diamond Eyes is the best since White Pony, and the lyrics are possibly the best Chino have ever written.
Overall Impression — 8
01. Diamond Eyes: a great opening track. The lyrics here are also amazing. "Once and for all. Time will see us realign. Diamonds rain across the sky. I will lead us to the same .. Realm". With a powerful and heavy verse with a clever vocal melody, a haunting and melodic chorus, Diamond Eyes is a great choice for the opening track. 8/10. 02. Royal: the main event of Royal is the chorus, which grips you instantly. Royal is definitely one of the heaviest songs on the album, and Chino's screaming here proves how much he has improved compared to the condition of his voice just a few years ago. 8.5/10. 03. CMND/CTRL: an aggressive song with an almost arrogant attitude. The Meshuggah influence is also very evident here. The verse incorporates odd-time signatures, which only adds to the aggression. I hate using a word like this to describe a song, but if I were to describe CMND/CTRL, it would have simply been "cool". Although this song isn't anything very special in particular, it's still a great song with a very cool attitude and serves it's purpose perfectly. 10/10. 04. You've Seen The Butcher: while Eros (their currently post-poned album that was chronologically replaced by Diamond Eyes) was in the making, Chino Moreno released a track called You've Seen The Butcher. This was, in my opinion, a horrible electronic track which Chino had made. I'm sure fans will be relieved to know that this is not the same track. However, the new You've Seen You Butcher is Diamond Eyes' weakest moment. Slow, heavy, and almost erotic, You've Seen The Butcher doesn't do much. The repetitiveness makes it sound like Diamond Eyes takes a break in the middle of the album. You've Seen The Butcher is simply dull and boring. 3/10. 05. Beauty School: "I like it when you take off your face". One of the least heavy tracks on the record, Beauty School stands out as one of Diamond Eyes' the strongest tracks. If you were following the Deftones' official video diary for Eros, you probably remember the song playing in the beginning of every video. While it's not the same song, the verse here is very similar. Beauty School is a simple, yet fantastic song, and is also Diamond Eyes' longest in length, something you will be thankful for. 9/10. 06. Prince: when the Deftones said that Diamond Eyes was similar to White Pony, they weren't joking. The verse of Prince is so similar to the verse of RX Queen it's crazy that they even put it on the album. The chorus is decent and catchy, but the highlight of this song is heavy, groovy guitars that jumps in occasionally. In my opinion, they should have focused more on this part of the song. 6/10. 07. Rocket Skates: Rocket Skates is Diamond Eyes' main theme, and is a classic example of how the Deftones can be a heavy as hell band, but still manage to be chill and not constantly up in your face with their music. Rocket Skates is incredibly groovy, and if someone is not moving their body to this song, they're either dead or in a wheelchair. Rocket Skates may not grip you instantly. This is the kind of song that will keep growing on you until you're addicted to it. 9/10. 08. Sextape: Sextape is the ballad of Diamond Eyes. The feel here could be compared to the feel of Be Quiet and Drive (Far Away), but with a big touch of Team Sleep. Sextape is an absolutely paralyzing song that will twist your stomache the moment the chorus hits you. This is by far the Diamond Eyes most beautiful moment. But it is for this reason that my only complaint is the length. The song seems to end when you expect it to explode into a powerful bliss like Xerces on Saturday Night Wrist did. Four minutes may be an acceptable length for a song, but the Deftones should have dragged this one out longer, because this really is the melodic highlight of Diamond Eyes. Nevertheless, Sextape is a powerful song, and is one of the few thoroughly [i]positive[/i] songs Deftones have ever written. Sextape can even be described as a feel-good song. Despite the length, Sextape is flawless, and is currently my favorite song on this album. Sextape proves that although the Deftones may have taken a heavy turn, they still got their melodic side intact. 10/10. 09. Risk: the short verse of Risk isn't anything outstanding, but it does build up very well towards the mysterious, haunting chorus. "I'll find a way. I'll confuse her, but I think I can try. I will save .. Your life .. I will save .. Your life .. I'll try .. For you". Risk is a dark, haunting, near perfect song. 9/10. 10. 976-EVIL: starts off with a positive and relaxed vibe. It then bursts into what could be considered Chino Moreno's biggest vocal showoff on the album, which is a dark chorus with a sense of meaning and urgency. This combination makes 976-EVIL a very odd song, and is one of the most melodic songs on the album. 7/10. 11. This Place Is Death: is the album's ender, and is melodically interesting at most. The song consists of a weird, and near psychedelic melody that repeats through-out the entire song. It's just too bad the song that wraps up the album is one of the most uninteresting songs on it. The Deftones' sound is known to be floaty, but this song just floats with no purpose or direction. 5/10. In conclusion, Diamond Eyes is the Deftones' most mature release to date, and is a great progression. The highlight of this album is Chino Moreno's singing, which might aswell be his best performance on any Deftones album ever. The mood on Diamond Eyes is hard to define, as it's less emotional and moody than their previous releases. But the way I see it, Diamond Eyes is more of a piece of art than a compilation personal tales. Since Chino Moreno has abandoned the ego of his lyrics, and now instead paints visual images on top of the music, Diamond Eyes feels much less personal. Some may be disappointed with this, but I'm not - at all. We've been drowning in Chino's life on the previous albums, so this does feel like a breath of fresh air. While it does have it's ups and downs, the majority of the songs on Diamond Eyes are excellent. The worse songs does however drag it a bit down for me, as I personally reckon You've Seen The Butcher to possibly be the Deftones' worst song ever put on an album. Another negative aspect of this record is that it is the Deftones' shortest album to date, with only 40 minutes. It is however short and sweet, and by no means a disappointment. Diamond Eyes is a great chapter in the Deftones-saga, and I encourage anyone to pick up this record.