Review Summary: Saturday Night Wrist finds Deftones embracing their previous explorations with ambient rock, but defying expectations as well. Songs here are tightly focused and unique.
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While many artists each year are discovered, signed, stripped of all talent, packaged for the masses and released to the radio, Deftones have always had their own sort of defiant style. With Adrenaline
, they created one of rap-rock’s first good acts. Verses marked by palm-muted guitars and slow, tuneless vocals shifted into restrained but explosive choruses. Around the Fur
cemented their stand as one of rock’s finest, although more melody appeared. White Pony
and the self-titled merged the group’s earlier heaviness with deeply atmospheric prog, confusing fans of Adrenaline
and ushering in a newfound respect for the band.
Still, the genre-wandering left many without even a remote clue as to what Saturday Night Wrist
would sound like. Some insisted that it would be heavy, while others argued that vocalist Chino Moreno’s side project Team Sleep would be an influence. Three years after the enigma that was Deftones
, Saturday Night Wrist
hits stores and reveals both views to be true.
“Hole in the Earth” is the obvious single, as it is the first track on the album and probably the easiest to pick up on. Although it is slightly repetitive, this proves to be something common on SNW
. While repetition is normally considered a flaw, it doesn’t bore on this album and instead strengthens the identity of each track. Every song has its own style here, like a movement within one master composition. All of the songs are recognizably Deftones, but none really sounds quite like the next.
“Rapture” and “Rats! Rats! Rats!” both display Chino’s scream, though neither really moves too far beyond the territory covered by “When Girls Telephone Boys.” Surprisingly, these are two of the weakest tracks on the album. Atmosphere is clearly the strength of Saturday Night Wrist
, as the beautiful “Xerces” demonstrates.
“Pink Cellphone” is a minimalist ambient piece unlike anything Deftones has accomplished so far. A strange ending is less music than crude vocal experiment, but it creates a rawness that hitherto was masked on the album. Granted, it goes on a little long and ends a little over the boundaries, but the track belongs on this album. “U, U, D, D, L, R, L, R, A, B, Selct, Start” also covers new territory for Deftones, sounding like something straight off of an Isis release.
Throughout, the new Deftones record is consistent and reaches nearly classic levels (although some might say that’s extreme, I thoroughly enjoy this album even after many repeated listens). It is structured nearly perfectly and flows great. My only true complaint is that the instrumental track seems to divide the album into two portions, but it still works fine.
Saturday Night Wrist
’s ending half is as epic as anything else Deftones has done. “Kimdracula” picks up speed just as it’s needed, and “Combat” boasts soaring verses. “Riviere” concludes the album with a haunting, uneasy melody and rhythm. While it is still new, Saturday Night Wrist
is sure to reveal itself as up there even with White Pony
. Continuing the progression of that release and perfecting the heavy ambience of the self-titled release, 2006 proves that Deftones can sustain their talent and continuously break the boundaries between rock and other genres, even five full studio releases into their career.