It was both a touching tribute to a departed band member, and a surprising insight for fans clamouring to hear material from an unreleased Deftones record.

But it didn't take long for record label Warners to stop it from happening.

One year ago, Deftones bassist Chi Cheng passed away from a heart attack after a car accident in 2008 had left him in a semi-comatose state.

The hard rock band had been recording the album Eros at the time of the accident, but shelved plans to release in and instead recorded their fiery comeback Diamond Eyes with stand-in bassist Sergio Vega.


Eros has remained unreleased ever since, reaching mythical status amongst fans desperate to hear what has become the last material Cheng worked on.

On Monday, Deftones surprised everyone by releasing the track Smile - taken from the Eros sessions - through their Twitter and Facebook feeds as a tribute to Cheng.

It came with the message: "Chi, We miss you today and everyday. -deftones."

The atmospheric song, firmly in the classic Deftones style, was welcomed by fans on Facebook, but the YouTube link was quickly taken down by the band's record label, Warners.

Anyone clicking on the link now gets the message: "This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by Warner Music Group."

Fans were outraged.

"Screw Warner. They took a copyright claim to a song of a deceased man? Not even cool," wrote Sam J Hodge.

"Don't understand how Warner can claim rights to this song if it was never released on their label," said Cody Marshall McKenna.


"This release needs to see the light of day. I hope somebody with the band or associated with them reads these comments. It needs a release not (only) for us fans always craving for new Deftones stuff, but because it was Chi's last recordings," wrote Donny Waters.

Other fans re-posted Smile to different YouTube accounts. You can listen to one here.