March 2, 2024

New Fury Media

Music. Gaming. Nostalgia. Culture.

This Place Is Death: Revisiting Deftones’ “Diamond Eyes”

Of all the albums in the impressive Deftones canon, Diamond Eyes certainly has to rank up there in terms of both the circumstances surrounding it, as well as the overall quality and depth it offers listeners. While many (for good reason) point to their career-defining 2000 album White Pony as the band’s best album, it might well be Diamond Eyes that is their most important.

Released in 2010, it was Deftones first album in almost 4 years – mostly due to scrapping an entire album’s worth of material because of the late Chi Cheng’s serious car accident. The opening one-two punch of the title track and “Royal” will surely knock you on your back – just as much as track 5, “Beauty School”, will put you at ease with the world. There’s standout tracks everywhere – the hyper aggressive “Rocket Skates” certainly qualifies – but it’s the sludgy, Kyuss-inspired “You’ve Seen the Butcher” that really takes the cake.

The 1-2 punch of the title track and “Royal” are equally punchy metallic riffs as they are shoegaze-influenced, and can we just talk about the “guns, razors, knives, FUCK WITH MEEEEEEEEE” refrain of “Rocket Skates” It was this song that told me Deftones weren’t going to let even tragedy prevent them from making a great album. Bassist Sergio Vega (of Quicksand fame) even gets into the act, laying down some sludgy grooves on “You’ve Seen The Butcher”. It goes without saying that Chino Moreno delivers a memorable performance here, but it’s the performances of drummer Abe Cunningham and DJ Frank Delgado that are felt the most here.

Especially in the heavier tracks, you can tell that guitarist Stephen Carpenter has been listening to Meshuggah quite a bit, while Chino Moreno hones his always dynamic vocals to a razor-sharp shine. Abe Cunningham proves his dexterity on tracks like the aforementioned “Beauty School”, while Quicksand bassist Sergio Vega and electronics wizard Frank Delgado provide the important soundscapes and textures that make tracks like “This Place Is Death” so memorable.

A complete lack of filler makes Diamond Eyes an accomplished Deftones record, but so too does the pain and emotional turmoil the band was able to overcome. Tracks like “Rocket Skates” and “976-EVIL” are among the best songs in the band’s catalogue, and considering it an alternative metal classic isn’t a stretch at all.

Diamond Eyes is absolutely an album that any fan could call their best, especially given the circumstances it was written under. It would be an untouchable career highlight for most bands

New Fury Media