Though the band emerged on the fringes of nü-metal, one of metal's more unfortunate pushes into the mainstream, Deftones' steady shift toward a more artful, experimental sound has made them one of the more enduring and influential groups to come out of the '90s. In their continued exploration of the intersection of heaviness and harmony, Koi No Yokan finds the band returning with a warm, dreamy sound that feels more like heavy dream pop or shoegaze than light metal. Always finding new ways to use old tools, the driving sounds on the album feel more like they're meant to envelop the listener than enrage them, with a sonic gulf -- created by Chino Moreno's soaring vocals and Stephen Carpenter's shuddering, extended scale riffs -- so large and inviting, it feels like the only option is to dive in and explore its depths. This kind of push and pull between driving and drifting elements makes the album one that's best experienced by simply letting go and drifting wherever its currents take you. This allows you to fully appreciate the beautiful dynamic between songs like "Poltergeist" and "Entombed," which feel like a bomb and the resulting fallout, respectively, with the pummeling, bottom-end assault offered by the former giving way to the more open and melodic approach of the latter. While a lot of bands out there have been tinkering with the loud/quiet dynamic for decades now, what makes Deftones so special is their ability to do both at the same time, effectively blending the calm and the storm into a single sound. And even though it's a trick they've been pulling off for over 15 years now, it's one that remains, as always, impressive.
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Review by Gregory Heaney