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Deftones, ‘Diamond Eyes’ (Warner Bros.)

These nü-metal holdouts’ best album, 2000’s White Pony, gets pegged as their most experimental, but that’s wrong: 2003’s self-titled follow-up was unwittingly stranger, and 2006’s Saturday Night Wrist searched hard for the as-of-yet-unlocked optimal combo of accessibility, anger, and art. So Diamond Eyes‘ resemblance to Pony is an aesthetic retrenching. Blissed-out and surreal, featuring queasy slides between loud and soft, it’s a work of patient design and bloody fantasy. Brutal beauty abounds, but for the first time, Deftones are imitating rather than exploring.