After a tumultuous year and a bit, today finally saw the return of Sacramento's Deftones - one of the most influential and adventurous metal bands to emerge from the varying quality of the nu-metal years - with their new track 'Rocket Skates'. After the horrific accident of November 2008 that left bassist Chi Cheng in a coma from which he is still recovering, this is both a pleasure and a difficult reminder of how the band came to this point.
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The song itself is a vicious affair, harking back to the unremitting, shred-heavy sound forged on sophomore effort Around The Fur. Chino Moreno's vocal in particular comes across deliciously, wavering from that characteristic ethereal float to a razor edged screech, part joyous, part bloody murder. Meanwhile, Stephen Carpenter's signature guitar tone is present and correct to back up the reinvigorated singer with a sharp, serrated riff. This is a bold statement of intent from a band that have perhaps wandered around their core sound for some years now, but who now sound every bit as intense as when they began their rise over a decade ago.
With new album Diamond Eyes slated for a mid May release, it's time for Deftones to get back on track with the music and honour Cheng's fight with an album of equally vigorous hope. Rocket Skates is a pulsing indicator that the band will take up this gauntlet and then some.