Graphic Nature: Examining the utter brilliance of Deftones’ “Koi No Yokan”

When examining the powerful collection of albums that alternative metal veterans Deftones have created in their 20+ year career, it’s important to note that the general consensus is that it’s “White Pony, and then everything else”. This isn’t an unfounded or brazen statement – it’s well known that 2000’s White Pony changed the nu-metal/alt-metal landscape and completely flipped it on its head.

What, then, of the band’s other albums? You know you’re dealing with a truly special band when 2016’s Gore was a relative disappointment critically, but even that’s an album that many bands in the genre would give a limb or two to make. 2012’s Koi No Yokan, though, is a powerful and pulsing alt-metal masterpiece that reigns in the band’s post-metal and shoegaze influences, and distills them into an album that should be considered a near-flawless classic.

Koi No Yokan‘s best quality, as well as its most underrated one, is how well the whole thing flows. “Swerve City” isn’t necessarily an iconic album opener compared to past efforts (“Diamond Eyes”, “Hole In The Earth”), but it does s(w)erve well to be a memorable one because of how fast and jarring it is. It sets the tone for the album, really, because the way it transitions into the more ethereal “Romantic Dreams” is something to behold.

Besides flowing very well as an album, there’s plenty of highlights as well. Whether it’s the pounding alt-metal of “Gauze”, the slow-developing but excellent post-rock buildup of “Tempest”, or the hypnotic guitar of the last 90 seconds of “Rosemary”, there’s plenty of diversity to be found on Koi No Yokan. That’s not even counting the initial single “Leathers” or the calming album closer “What Happened To You”. In fact, there’s not a bad track here – only fluctuating levels of excellence.

In a previous article from 2016, I ranked Diamond Eyes slightly ahead of KNY in the pantheon of Deftones’ discography. I still feel that way – but I’ll be damned if Koi No Yokan isn’t a really good album. It’s one that shows how Deftones continuously evolves musically, yet never seems to lose sight of who they really are. And that, my friends, is cause for celebration.