Sound — 10
I'll start this review with the purest, simple analogy I can possibly give about this album. It's stunningly beautiful. It's almost tear jerking. Not say it isn't heavy, it's technical, brutal and downright gritty as well. But Deftones are highly praised and well known for their beautifully heavy songs, their loud-quiet dynamics where the biggest and loudest of their songs can send you to sleep. And on this album they band the nail on the head. It is by far one of the most precious and, by the hype, prestigious albums I have heard in a long time. I have been waiting for this kind of album for so long. Melodies? Fantastic. Heavy moments? Crushing. Technicality? Just right. Length? Perfect. There is not one thing wrong with this album, which was a monumental surprise for me as I've never really liked Deftones that much. I've lived with them all my life, but the same as Disturbed I've never really thought much of them. White Pony was a good album and I liked songs here and there (no, not Back To School) but I am a complete sucker for rave reviews and even if a band I don't like gets phenomenal feedback from a new album, I have to take a look. And I'm so glad I did. The production is ace. The big epic sections like the chorus of Beauty School are balanced just right as Chino's voice swoops and dives through Stephen Carpenter's trademark chord patterns and Abe's crashing drums. The absolute damn right badassness of CMND/CTRL and its verses makes it one of the best off the album as a simple descending riff over a clever time signature booms behind Chino's angry wails. The album is a monument. It's put together so well it reaches new heights. 01. Diamond Eyes: this truly is a perfect song. It's short but incredibly sweet which is one of the reasons I like it so much. The verse and how the guitars contrast with Chino's vocals is a feature that I've always been eager to hear. The chorus will remain in your head for ages and it won't get boring. Trust me. 10/10 02. Royal: Complex... priestess... come down! I have no idea what it means but Chino is just a genius at vocals. This reminds me of typical Deftones. It has a very old school style to it. Mainly I think because of the chorus and the general feel of the song, the tempo, the vocals. It takes me to a very awesome place. It's dark but light at the same time. Damn. Cool. 8/10 03. CMND/CTRL: this is one of my favourites off the album. I love the technicality yet unbelievable simplicity of the verses. The chorus again simple but Chino's soaring vocals give it that extra depth that makes it one of my favourite choruses off the album. One of the more brutal songs off the album. And I can't possibly the resist the way he yells Switching command just because I can!. 10/10 04. You've Seen The Butcher: this song is one that I'm not too keen on. Not a bad song at all. But it's a little strange to me. I think it's the verse riff and the drums of the main riff/verse. It bores me a little. I like the very classic style of the verses vocals though. Almost southern rock. You'll possibly understand what I mean when you hear them. But by far the best part of this song is the change from Chino's wail at the end of the verse that continues to the chorus that is truly delicious. The catchy riff and the catchy melodic hook is just a match made in heaven. Not the best off the album but definitely an interesting one and a bit of a grower. 7/10 05. Beauty School: this one I can't leave alone. The tinny drones at the beginning of the song lull me in straight away and the lush guitar over it is quite post-rocky. The main reason I love this song so much. The strange guitar noises, the big expansive chorus, the crunchy guitar playing behind the main guitar in the verses. I love how epic this song is. And every time I listen to it, it takes me somewhere different. There's so much going on in this song it's hard to ignore or call a filler. I love it. 10/10 06. Prince: I love how dark and strange this song is. It reminds me of something that would be on the soundtrack to a Matrix film. It's the dissonant crash of the guitars in the verses and the style of Chino's vocals that many old fans will love that make this song very distinctive. Mindset of a killer with your gaze you paint the room. Lyrics are a very prominent feature on this song. Amazing concept, awesome breakdown riff, another interesting one that is very typical Deftones. 10/10 07. Rocket Skates: the most badass song on the album. This song is pure gold. The crazy verses and mental style Chino takes on this song makes it so cool. The whole song takes a very serial killer style. Crushing riffs, psycho vocals, it's all there. Especially the truly memorable chorus of GUNS! RAZORS! KNIVES! f--k WITH ME!. Chino really is a genius isn't he? 10/10 08. Sextape: another spacy song that would make an excellent lullaby for sleep (I've tried it). The echoing guitars and beautiful, gentle tone Stephen delivers makes the song what it is. Chino as usual is on top form with the most passion I've heard from this album yet. It's obviously a love song and a damn good one at that. It's in one word: gorgeous. 9/10 09. Risk: I can easily see this being the next single. It's slightly similar to Diamond Eyes. The lyrics are some of the most interesting on the album: I will save your life, I will try it for you. Harmonized vocals and memorable chord structures are what give me the impression that it will be on music vid channels sometime soon. Hopefully. 9/10 10. 976-EVIL: my guess is that this song is about Chi. But then again that's only for reading the first few lines of the lyrics. This is probably the lightest, happiest song on the record. I like to think of it as a more upbeat version of Sextape. It's quite lovely and delicate in a way. 8/10 11. This Place Is Death: I'd say this is the worst song off the album. It's not so bad that it ruins it at all, it fits with everything on here but it's just not the best. The start sounds really promising with synths and every instrument crashing together as if a platform for Chino's voice. But it just sounds like a constant build up. In a word nothing really happens. I appreciate it a lot, another interesting one but so interesting I don't know what to make of it. A weird way to end the album. 6/10
Lyrics — 10
The lyrics as usual are confusing, thoughtful and just cool to be honest. Even though half the time I don't know how to decipher them I still love reading what's come out of Chino's mind. He's a very interesting lyricist and an even better vocalist. I'm glad that this album doesn't have any of that whispering business he used to do. At first it was cool but then it got kind of annoying. The vocal delivery he gives on this album seems more passionate and focused and all the different style match the songs perfectly. The lyrics fit well with the music, me never hoping "I wish he did this melody here" or anything like that (something I tended to do with older material). Deftones really have taken me by surprise in every aspect of this album.
Overall Impression — 10
I can't compare it to any other Deftones albums as "White Pony" is really the only other one that's interested me enough to listen to it. I can't say it's their best but my God this is truly a spectacular delivery from a band I never thought would capture me. It seeps excellence and every band member is on top form. I was gutted to hear about Chi as I thought it might have been the end of the Tones and it may have affected the album. But I think he'd be really pleased to see what his boys came up with and I think it'd be the best thing for him to wake up to =)