Premonition: More Love, Less Anger
The Deftones continue their musical evolution with their seventh full-length studio album, Koi No Yokan. They have all but abandoned the Korn-like sound they rode in on seventeen years ago, and all but embraced a post-grunge, pop-influenced Foo Fighters essence. For the most part, the songs on Koi No Yokan (which translates from Japanese to “Love’s Premonition”) are not as screamy-angry as Deftones have shown in the past, and they’re not as singy-sentimental as they could be, though this album leans towards the latter.
That is not a knock. Vocalist Chino Moreno has a knack for melody and possesses an instrument capable of delivering. The precedent set by the band’s back catalog allows him the ability to scream when appropriate, but it’s mostly unnecessary on Koi No Yokan. The strength is in the moods created by the instruments. “Entombed” is an example of Stephen Carpenter’s riffs and effects supporting the smoothness of Moreno’s voice, a slow but not mellow gem. Album opener “Swerve City” is deceptive in its heaviness, as Moreno bends his lines unexpectedly around the chords. That’s not to say they don’t kick ass when necessary. “Poltergeist” and “Gauze” pound as heavy as anything else, and create important contrast against relatively calmer tunes like “Rosemary.”
There are spaces of droning instrumentation that lead into some of the heaviest parts of the record, and they provide clarity to the psychedelic sheen that covers much of Koi No Yokan. If Deftones’ albums had a scent, 1995’s Adrenaline would smell like stale cigarettes and sweat, whereas Koi No Yokan would be closer to pot and Patchouli, with a little Budweiser in the background—as if they don’t want to completely abandon their roots. But they’re further than ever before.