Happy 10th: Deftones, DIAMOND EYES

Monday, May 4, 2020
Deftones DIAMOND EYES Cover

A decade ago today, Deftones released their sixth studio album, an LP which led the Sacramento-founded band to achieve the impressive feat of securing four consecutive top-10 albums on the Billboard 200.

Produced by Nick Raskulinecz at The Pass in Los Angeles and Amerycan Studios in North Hollywood, DIAMOND EYES was the first Deftones album to feature bassist Sergio Vega, who stepped into the spot left by Chi Cheng, the band’s original bassist. Cheng had been in a car accident in November 2008 which left him in a coma, and although the Deftones had already begun the process of recording an album with him – it was tentatively to be called Eros, and only one song from those sessions has ever officially been released – Cheng’s fellow Deftones opted to set aside that material and work on some new material which was ostensibly more uplifting.

“With everything we were going through, the Deftones needed to pour all of our thoughts, energy, and emotions into something new… something more optimistic,” Deftones singer Chino Moreno told Spin in 2010. “I couldn’t tour behind a record with all these memories of Chi attached to it.”

[Trust us, the unfinished Eros album deserves its own piece, but we can’t take the time to stop and write one now, so you’ll just have to hit up Google for more information.]

The songs from DIAMOND EYES were written organically rather than via ProTools, with the members penning them together a band. When Spin asked Moreno what fans could expect from the album, he replied, “The dynamics Deftones are known for — aggressive overtones and lush openness. They’re on opposite sides of the spectrum, but we meld them together without sounding contrived. There are a few heavy songs, too, like our first couple records, and there are also experimental tunes — but there’s not a minute on this record that feels like it doesn’t need to be there. Each sound complements the other. I’ll straight-up say it: it’s definitely one of our best albums.”

As it happens, Moreno was not wrong: both critics and fans agreed wholeheartedly with his assessment of DIAMOND EYES, with the fans sending the album to #6 on the Billboard 200 in its first week and AllMusic, Alternative Press, Blare, Kerrang!, Q, and The Skinny all giving the album four-star review. The real critical proof, however, came from Revolver, which called it the album of the decade.


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