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Diamond Eyes
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Reviewed: 5/4/2010 by Chris

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Add Diamond Eyes to the list of great albums born out of tragedy. In November 2008, Deftones bassist Chi Cheng was rendered comatose following a near-fatal auto accident. With Cheng sidelined indefinitely, the band chose to shelve their nearly-completed album Eros, opting instead to start fresh with producer Nick Raskulinecz (Foo Fighters, Alice in Chains) and a new batch of songs that more accurately reflected the band's emotional state. Rather than wallow in despair, however, Diamond Eyes is more hopeful than expected. It's considerably more focused than 2006's uneven Saturday Night Wrist, and their most solid effort since 2000's White Pony.

Overall, it's a near-perfect distillation of the quintessential Deftones sound: a marriage of brooding, groove-laden alternative metal and dreamy atmospherics, with a pinch of pop sensibility. Vocalist Chino Moreno still knows how to give a whisper as much bite as a scream, but it's his hauntingly melodic crooning on songs like "Sextape" and the title track that's equally impressive. Kudos also to guitarist Steven Carpenter, whose deceptively simple, propulsive and sometimes punishing riffs knock a song like "Rocket Skates" out of the park. Every Deftones fan certainly wishes Cheng a speedy recovery, and for Eros to one day see release. For now though, they'll have to make do with one of the band's best albums to date.

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