Back in early 2007, the plan was for Deftones to re-team with Terry Date (the producer behind the group’s first four albums) and record the follow-up to Saturday Night Wrist with as little post-production interference (ala ProTools) as possible. Unfortunately, while that follow-up (Eros) was taking shape, bassist Chi Cheng was involved in a near-fatal car accident that left him comatose. With the Eros recordings shelved indefinitely as Cheng recovers from the accident, the band brought former Quicksand bassist Sergio Vega into the fold, and re-entered the studio with producer Nick Raskulinecz to record Diamond Eyes.
This album found Deftones keeping things simple, channeling their adventurous impulses into songs that favored precision over exploration, and keeping the number of guest appearances to zero. Harder tracks like “CMND/CTRL” and “Rocket Skates” best exploit this newfound focus, melding Chino Moreno’s indomitable voice with tunes that hearken back to Around The Fur. This back-to-basics approach doesn’t keep the group from bucking trends, as the surprisingly tender (if unsurprisingly named) “Sextape” illustrates. Diamond Eyes might not offer the same invigorating growth spurts as previous Deftones albums, but for a group recovering from personal tragedy, the album’s a testament to their unwavering perseverance a fine tribute to their friend.