The new Deftones album Koi No Yokan is Arnold Schwarzenegger. I should probably explain what I mean by that. It is difficult for me to describe music at times, so I use the tried and true method of analogies. Imagine for a moment if the Deftones albums White Pony, Deftones and Diamond Eyes were used to artificially inseminate a blank CD, but instead of just one album you wound up with two. The result would mimic the movie Twins, and one of the twins would retain all of the worst crap like Danny Devito did in the flick, and all the great admirable qualities would result in Arnold Schwarzenegger. Koi No Yokan is Arnold Schwarzenegger.
I do not want to build up some unattainable hope for the fans by saying the album is the best ever, but I will preface this review with one very important fact: I am indeed a Deftones fan. Be forewarned that this album is not for every fan. If you enjoyed and prefer the Deftones' sound from the first two albums then this new record is going to be a nightmare for you. They have matured to a level where they are comfortable creating music that suits the style of where they are in life, which means they do whatever they please with their writing. Heavy, angry music that is littered with screaming is not the style of the Deftones anymore. It seems that Chino is heavily influenced by his side projects Team Sleep and Crosses and those vibes transfer into Koi No Yokan. The Deftones use some abstract sounds that would have been really foreign in earlier works but not completely out of place in the White Pony era. The guitar work is reminiscent of early 90’s Seattle grunge in the way that it is heavy and dirty, but still discernible. At some parts of the album it is difficult to distinguish you’re listening to the Deftones without Chino’s vocals. The opening riff of the song Entombed made me feel like I was listening to a Thrice record. Even though it is not the usual Deftones sound, the simplistic, catchy guitar work in a few of the songs still exudes the unmistakable trademark of the band.
The album starts off with a strong kick to the face with hard, grungy guitars and upbeat, melodic vocals which transfer into a happier, more ethereal sound. Even when songs seem like they are going to be heavier there is always a breakdown that swings the tone towards a slower tempo, which is present in almost every song on this album. Chino’s vocals seem to be emulating more of a deeper emotional connection than his usual sex and drugs style on Koi No Yokan. We started to see their musical landscape begin its metamorphosis towards the end of the Diamond Eyes album, and Koi No Yokan is where the butterfly has burst free of its cocoon. The song Poltergeist opens with a killer bass line that hooked me into the song immediately, and stands out as one of the harder tunes on the album. The screaming part of him seems to have moved to the background for mere sound effects. The screeching Chino of yore has hung up his hat. The song Goon Squad is slow and has quiet guitar notes before it explodes into a heavy beast with yet another melodic chorus, which seems to be ever present on this album.
Koi No Yokan is one of the Deftones' more polished albums, encapsulating an amazing interpretation of human emotion into music. It is a rare thing when an album comes out that you can listen to while having no desire to skip a single song. The gritty guitar sound and ambient noise of fuzz mixed with Chino’s vocals has impressed this long time fan of all facets of their style. Koi No Yokan may not be my favorite album in their discography, but it is getting better and better with every listen. It is already rising fast in the ranking of my favorite Deftones albums.