Review Summary: In summary, there is so much to love about this album that any small flaws or negative aspects are completely overshadowed. There is really something here for everyone, and I would not be surprised if Deftones got huge after this album.
After three very long years, the harsh, beautiful, and atmospheric Deftones have finally returned with their new CD Saturday Night Wrist
. I shouldn’t say that they’ve returned since, in my eyes anyway, they were never gone.
Deftones are a hard working and hard playing group out of Sacramento who burst onto the scene with their 1995 debut Adrenaline
. Now, over a decade later, they release the absolutely astounding Saturday Night Wrist
. From the spacey and ambient first track, “Hole in the Earth”, to the chaotic and punishing “Rats!Rats!Rats!”, all the way to the final beautiful strains of the closer, “Riviere”, this album will never cease to amaze and surprise you.
The sound of this album could be described by so many different words. Ambient, heavy, beautiful, creepy, and huge all come to mind. I hope you understand what I mean when I say that tracks like “Cherry Waves” (my personal favorite as of right now) and “Xerces” sound HUGE. Their choruses make you feel like you’re in a different time and place, they just surround you. That’s something Deftones have been able to do since White Pony
, and is very prominent on their last release, Deftones
. In fact, “Cherry Waves” reminds me very much of “Minerva”, but in a good way, not like they copied the same format of an older song. That’s never been a problem with Deftones, they constantly come back and give you something that you’ve never heard before or at least never expected, which makes me love them as much as I do.
Another aspect of the trademarked Deftones sound is the dynamics presented within each track. They perfected the “quiet verse, heavy chorus” style back on Adrenaline
, but these days, they get much more into the dynamics of their songs than that. The perfect example of this is the track “Rats!Rats!Rats!”. It goes from a heavy verse to a big ambient chorus to a punishing breakdown section you’d expect from Soulfly. This one is the most chaotic on the album, and is incomparable to anything the band has ever done.
I think the biggest surprise on this album comes in the form of the track “Pink Cellphone”. The sort of trip hop beat and almost techno atmosphere of the song isn’t the shocker, it’s the appearance of the band Giant Drag’s singer Annie Hardy on vocals. She reads what seems to be a combination of a poem and an old prayer over the beat for a few minutes (along with Chino singing at parts), and then there’s a break. After a moment, the beat comes back and Annie starts going off on some hilarious and disgusting topics including “hot carling” and “butt f***ing”. This was totally unexpected, but I seriously love it. The band obviously left it in there to be funny, which it is, but I think that it also perfectly conveys the power of an innocent, sexy female voice talking about dirty things.
Lyrically, Saturday Night Wrist
does not disappoint in any way, shape, or form. There seems to be a general theme in regards to the lyrics, that being Chino writing about nature and outer space. The words “universe” and “Earth” appear countless times in many of the tracks, but they never get repetitive. On the natural aspect of things, “Cherry Waves” and “Beware” revolve around bodies of water, with “In a sea of waves/We hug the same plank” coming from the former, and “Do you like the way the water tastes like gunfire"” coming from the latter.
Also, there is a lot of confusion and stress evident in Chino’s writing, which has always been there on past albums, but is right in the forefront on SNW
. This confusion and even anger obviously stems from the problems that the band went through during the writing and recording of this album. Whether it be difficulties between Chino and producer Bob Ezrin, or hard feelings within the band because of Chino’s long absences or conflicting ideas, some tracks are just riddled with confusion. The songs “Rapture” and “Combat” are great examples of this. Here’s some lyrical choices that fit this claim: “You twist everything else around/Now you’re ***ing with me/Waste of/Waste of my time” and “This time the fingers pointed right at you/Whose side are you on"/Whose side are you on"”. You really get the feeling that Chino is going through something that’s tearing him apart inside. I could seriously talk about his writing forever, but for the sake of keeping this review somewhat shorter, I’ll stop there.
Individually, every member contributes a wealth of talent and influence on every song. Frank’s spooky and ambient effects/keyboard playing really shines on this album, Chi’s crushing bass lines run right through your body, Chino’s voice absolutely soars, Abe’s excellent beats get you moving so damn well, and Stephen’s unbelievable ability to make simple guitar lines sound like so much more really make this album what it is: amazing.