Where many of their generation have faded, changed beyond recognition or simply become terrible, Deftones have stood strong. Experts at their craft, they became one of the most respected alternative rock bands of the last few decades by avoiding clichés and largely keeping up a consistent quality.

‘Koi No Yokan’ follows the sublime ‘Diamond Eyes’, and it’s one of the most anticipated rock albums of the year. Overall, the style here is a little sludgier than on its predecessor but make no mistake – when the second opener ‘Swerve City’ kicks in, you know it’s going to be wall-to-wall riffs. Deftones have perfected the art of flowing from patient slow build to awe-inspiring payoff, and the tension throughout the the record is incredible. The band’s ability to deliver riffs has remained unhampered by their advancing years, and ‘Gauze’ is a particularly face-melting example.

The album takes a little more time to sink in than ‘Diamond Eyes’ – not least because of the slightly cautious pace and songs weighted towards instrumentation rather than vocal hooks – but when it clicks, it’s just as impressive. Chino Moreno is still the coolest motherfucker on the planet, and his transitions between silky melody and gritty delivery leave him undisputed as one of the best front men of his time.

Big highlights on the album are the previously mentioned opener ‘Swerve City’, the crunching riffs of ‘Gauze’ and the bruising crawl of ‘Rosemary’, but the overall flow on the record is as impressive as any individual track, so it’s best enjoyed as a whole.

The only real complaint that could be laid against the album by some is one that can be flipped on its head by the sane and seen as the compliment it is: the band’s style has remained fairly consistent over the years, and as it doesn’t have the pure vitriol and pace that metalcore fans may be chasing in 2012, it may go over a few youthful heads. The other side of the coin here is that Deftones should be proud to have remained close to their roots, evolving over time rather than buying into the latest trends. The band have a style very much of their own. It’s enigmatic, and they remain a key band in modern metal and alternative rock.

The record is as moving as it is urgent, and it should see them sail through the next album cycle with new fans gained and old fans satisfied. It might be a little old school for some, but fuck those guys – Deftones are back and ‘Koi No Yokan’ is right up there with the best of year.

TOM AYLOTT