0056. Deftones – Diamond Eyes [2010]


Mmmm… This album is beautiful.  Lyrically, musically, everything.  I have no complaints about this album at all.  I mean, I love pretty much all the Deftones albums, but certain ones like White Pony and Diamond Eyes stand out, in my opinion.  If you’ve never heard the Deftones before, this album would be a great introduction.  If you have, you probably already know about this album and love it.  If you don’t love it, please, let me know why.  I’d seriously appreciate some intelligent commentary on why this album isn’t as good as others in their catalog.

Wikipedia Says:

Diamond Eyes is the sixth album by the American alternative metal band Deftones, released worldwide on May 4, 2010 through Reprise Records. An album tentatively titled Eros was originally intended to be their sixth full-length release and follow up toSaturday Night Wrist (2006), but was not released due to bassist Chi Cheng entering a coma after a serious car accident that occurred in November 2008. The release ofEros was put on hold in favor of Diamond Eyes in June 2009. Former Quicksand bass player, Sergio Vega is featured on the album in substitution for Cheng.

Diamond Eyes was a critical and commercial success; obtaining a normalized score of 78 on review aggregator Metacritic, while achieving top 20 chartings on the Billboard 200, German Albums Chart and many other European charts. It was the band’s highest charting album on the Billboard 200 since their album, Deftones. Diamond Eyes debuted at number 6, while previous album Saturday Night Wrist debuted at number 10.


For more details on this topic, see Chi Cheng’s car accident and Eros (album).

Deftones started writing for their follow-up to 2006’s Saturday Night Wrist in early 2007. The band was dissatisfied with the lengthy writing and recording process ofSaturday Night Wrist, and wanted to release a quick follow-up record in the same manner as earlier albums released by Deftones. Earlier records such as 1995’s Adrenaline and 1997’s Around the Fur were recorded without the digital audio program Pro Tools. Instead, they were recorded as just a band “in the room with just our instruments, no other distractions” according to front-man Chino Moreno.[3] The band recorded and completed their Terry Dateproduced album, tentatively titled Eros, in 2008, and was expected to be released in early 2009.[4]

In November 2008, Deftones bassist Chi Cheng was seriously injured in an automobile accident, leaving him in a coma and putting the release of Eros on hold. Unsure of if or when Cheng would recover and be able to play in the band again, Deftones started playing various shows and festivals starting in early 2009 with Sergio Vega, former bassist of post-hardcore band Quicksand. Vega had previously filled in for Cheng during tours in 1999, and is a close friend of the band.[5] At this point, Deftones were not sure if they wanted to break up or continue writing and performing music.[6]

In June 2009, Deftones decided to indefinitely put the release of Eros on hold and start writing a brand new album with Sergio Vega.[7] The band still hopes to release Eros at some point, but Deftones wanted to wait until Cheng was no longer in a semi-conscious state, and they did not feel that it represented who they were as artists or as people at the time.[8][9] Deftones wanted to make an optimistic record, as opposed to the dark and angry album they just finished.[10] Diamond Eyes was recorded in two months with producer Nick Raskulinecz (Foo Fighters, Velvet Revolver, Stone Sour, Alice In Chains).[11] Deftones avoided using Pro Tools on the album in favor of writing songs together as a band and practicing them “a million times ’til they were perfect” in order to achieve a more raw and “personable” sound.[10]


Diamond Eyes was originally scheduled to be released on April 27 through Warner Bros. Records/Reprise Records,[11] but was pushed back three weeks to May 18,[12] and later pushed forward to May 4, 2010.[13] The latter release date change was possibly due to the album leaking onto the internet two months before the release date in March 2010.[14] The first single released off the album, “Rocket Skates“, was available for free download through the band’s official website on February 23, 2010.[12] The song had been included in Deftones live performances starting in October 2009,[7] and was released as a limited edition 7″ vinyl single for international Record Store Day on April 17, 2010.[15] The first radio single was the title track, “Diamond Eyes“, which was released for airplay on March 30, 2010.[citation needed] The single was also released as a digital download on March 23, 2010.[16] Deftones performed a live webcast of songs from Diamond Eyes and answered fan questions on May 4 in Dallas, Texas.[17] A music video for the track “Sextape” was released on September 3, 2010. The video was directed by Zak Forrest and Chad Liebenguth, also known as team ZFCL, who are also recognized for their work with Foxy Shazam and Fang Island.[18]

On October 28, 2010, Deftones released the official video for “You’ve Seen the Butcher” filmed by Jodeb Films.[19]

In August 2011, Deftones released the official music video for “Beauty School”.

Lyrics and themes[edit]

After dealing with the tragedy surrounding Chi Cheng‘s car accident, Deftones wanted to create an album with an overall positive and optimistic vibe. Describing the band’s state while writing for the album, Chino Moreno stated, “Our inspiration and unity as a band is stronger than it has ever been before and we needed to channel that energy into our music.”[20] The album doesn’t feature songs about complaining, hurting, or how “life sucks” – a common lyrical theme Moreno has noticed since the early 90s.[10][21] Moreno describes the overall theme of the album as a “positive zest for life”, and also having “a fantasy vibe” similar to White Pony.[10][21]The song lyrics for “Rocket Skates” contain “beautiful yet violent imagery,” and was compared to the Deftones song “Knife Party” from White Pony.[10] Deftones also thought it would be difficult to tour in support of a new album with memories of Cheng attached to it. Commenting on song writing, Moreno stated:

I don’t like listening to people’s problems — I like music. Music has been smothered with that complaining since the early-’90s. It gets old. Instead of going to the opposite side of the spectrum and listening to The Black Eyed Peas, which is just straight silly, I choose to listen to more instrumental music. I do very little singing about myself on this record. I love songs where I can totally take myself out of being human. I can sing about really odd things, and they don’t necessarily have to pertain to me at all. It paints a picture. Those are the kind of lyrics I grew up with — like The Cure. Really visual images and no storytelling.

—Chino Moreno[10]


Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 78/100[22]
Review scores
Source Rating
The A.V. Club B[23]
Allmusic 4/5 stars[24]
Alternative Press 4/5 stars[25]
BBC Music favourable[26]
Blare 4/5 stars[27]
Entertainment Weekly B[28]
Kerrang! 4/5 stars
NME 8/10[29]
Q 4/5 stars[30]
Rock Sound 8/10[31]
Rolling Stone 3/5 stars[32]
The Skinny 4/5 stars[33]
Slant 3.5/5 stars[34]
Spin 7/10[35]
Sputnikmusic 5/5[36]

Initial reaction to the album from music critics was highly favorable. Stephen Thomas Erlewine of Allmusic gave the album a four out of five star rating and wrote, “Naturally, there is quite a bit of roiling darkness here — they’re Cure-loving metalheads, it’s in their blood — but there’s shade and light, control of texture, with the band deepening rather than expanding.”[24] Jason Pettigrew of Alternative Press magazine also awarded the album four stars out of five. He wrote, “Unlike their alleged ‘peers’ (do they really haveany?), Deftones learned years ago that a whisper can be more terrifying than a scream and power isn’t always about BPMs and downstrokes per minute.” He also added thatDiamond Eyes “belongs in a pantheon of amazing albums born from tragedy”.[25] BBCwriter Mike Diver was also impressed and opined that the album, “knocks every pretender to the band’s throne into the middle of next week”. He praised the band for playing to their strengths and summarized by stating, “Eros is reportedly their excursion into weirdness, while this is a statement of consolidation, a neatly segued set that finds Deftones playing to their well-established strengths.”[26]

Joshua Khan, writing for BLARE magazine, also awarded the album four stars out of five in his review. He wrote, “Tired of the same old restless metal scenes eating up the airwaves? Then grab your $20 iPod headphones and devour the sixth studio release from the California alternative metal quintet. Deftones give birth to a refined sound that makes creations like ‘Prince’ and ‘976-Evil’ enslaving.”[27] The Skinny‘s Mark Shukla likewise gave a four-star rating, as he explained, “The first four tracks set a blistering pace as churning riffs transition relentlessly into fret-burning breakdowns; all the while Chino Moreno deploying his wounded croon and lacerating howl with an intensity that remains impressively undiminished.”[33]Sputnikmusic staff writer, Nick Greer, gave an unequivocally positive review. He awarded a “classic” five out of five score and stated the album is “better than White Pony“. He described the album’s sound as, “intense and visceral, but introspective and sensitive in ways Deftones have never been before”, before finally adding, “I can honestly say it’s Deftones’ best album to date.”[36] Scott Gordon of The A.V. Club states that while there are moments on the album that Deftones “sound a bit like a band on auto-pilot”, many of the other tracks on the album “stomp such limp moments with pleasingly crude riffs that claw and scrape through the verses, then release Chino Moreno’s voice into glimmering, menacing choruses.”[23]

Album of the year lists[edit]

Diamond Eyes was named “Rock Album of the Year” by the iTunes Store.[37] The album was also named the best album of 2010 byKerrang!,[citation needed] #2 in Rock Sound ’​s top 75 albums of the year[citation needed] and #3 in Metal Hammer ’​s top 50 albums of the year.[citation needed]

Charts and sales[edit]

Diamond Eyes was expected to sell between 55,000 and 60,000 records in the U.S. during its first week, based on day one sales, according to Hits Daily Double.[38] The album sold 62,000 copies in the U.S. and debuted at number 6 on the Billboard 200 making it the fourth consecutive Deftones album to debut within the top 10 on the Billboard 200.[39]

The album has sold around 236,000 copies in the US as of October 2012.[40]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Deftones[41].

No. Title Length
1. Diamond Eyes 3:08
2. “Royal” 3:32
3. “CMND/CTRL” 2:25
4. You’ve Seen the Butcher 3:31
5. “Beauty School” 4:47
6. “Prince” 3:36
7. Rocket Skates 4:17
8. “Sextape” 4:01
9. “Risk” 3:38
10. “976–EVIL” 4:32
11. “This Place Is Death” 3:48
Total length:


Diamond Eyes personnel according to CD liner notes.[41]

Art and design
  • Frank Maddocks – creative direction and design
  • John Ross – owl photos
  • 13th Witness – band photo
Production and recording


Chart (2010) Peak
Certification Sales/
Australian ARIA Albums Chart[44] 22
Austrian Albums Chart[45] 13
Dutch Albums Chart[46] 55
German Albums Chart[47] 8
French Albums Chart[48] 23
New Zealand Albums Chart[49] 8
Swedish Albums Chart[50] 25
US Billboard 200[51] 6 62,000
UK Albums Chart[52] 26

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