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Saturday Night Wrist (Bonus Track Version)

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Album Review

Three long years after the Deftones issued their self-titled album to puzzling reviews, the Sacramento quintet is back with Saturday Night Wrist, a recording that will further muddy the waters of categorization and expectation about who they are and what they're trying to do. After the breakthrough metallic-sounding Around the Fur, the band confounded critics and fans alike with the much softer and atmospherically adventurous White Pony. In 2003 they further transgressed the borderlines of all things boxed and tied with their self-titled album, which seemed to walk the line between rockist and "sensitive." But it's Saturday Night Wrist that fills out the portrait, bleeding though textures from one rock & roll type to another and coming up with something else altogether yet it's definitively "Deftones." The album began with a question and a small conflict in deciding on a producer. Already working with the hip Dan the Automator, after some internal drama the band decided on veteran Bob Ezrin. Ezrin pays off in a number of ways: these songs, as diverse as they are, are utterly disciplined sonically. They have all the tension and dynamic, all the immediacy of yore, but the mix is spacious, and Chino Moreno's vocals soar above it. That said, the vocals were produced by Far's Shaun Lopez. The wall of guitar sound walks a high wire between harder, more metallic rock and angular indie rock, winding them together. Check the opener — and single — "Hole in the Earth." It begins with a wall of feedback and thunderously distorted guitars accented by rim shots and cymbal fire before giving way to a skeletal six-string figure that seems barely able to support Moreno's singing, which combines the euphoria of a young, less pretentious Bono with the attack of, well, the Deftones. Guitars echo and whisper all along the backdrop while Moreno hovers there, until they crackle and spit to bring him back.

Popping muddy drums and distorted guitars introduce "Rapture," as Moreno gobs and screams the lyrics. Even here, the attack is straightforward as it turns and twists, all on sharp corners and rhythmic shifts. There are killer digital dub effects put into play on "Cherry Waves," giving the tune a bit of a blissed-out psychedelic effect as the band marries together the hookery of the vintage Smashing Pumpkins, the big chord riffs of Jane's Addiction, and U2's best shimmer while tossing in a bridge of eight bars from the Who's "Overture" from Tommy! It might have been a terrible mess, but it works beautifully. System of a Down's Serj Tankian helps out with additional vocals on "Mein," and Giant Drag's Annie Hardy helps out on "Pink Cellphone" (what a dumb title). The drippy space pop that is "Xerces" finds Moreno breathing a little too close to Billy Corgan for comfort on the verses. The gear-grinding guitars on "Rats!Rats!Rats!" are a welcome textural change, and the crunchy verse and refrain are downright nasty. The most straight-ahead rock attack comes on "KimDracula," with its bass throb and whiteout guitar riff; it pushes Moreno a little further outside the tune to come to terms with it. Ultimately, Saturday Night Wrist is satisfying, though it may take a few listens given all the changes in individual cuts that tend to blur together the first time or two through. To the faithful, the Deftones once again offer up their own brand of blast and croon. As for everyone else, there's plenty here to like, to argue with, and to be puzzled by. [This is the clean version of the album.]

Customer Reviews


I love this album from start to finish.

Experimentation Pays Off

I can't decide if this is my favorite Deftones album or White Pony. This album is far more toned back than any of the others, but also features the most technical time signature wizardry and whatnot. This album was apparently the one most oddly put together. At this time, Deftones kinda hated what they did, but begrudgingly produced a fifth album.
Hole In The Earth - 9/10 This song is definitely Chino putting out his honest feelings about his life and the band. Great melody. The guitar lines are solid.
Rapture - 9/10 This track is sooo underrated. I would wager it's the heaviest/angriest track on the record, a kind of savagery that reminds me of When Girls Telephone Boys from their last album.
Beware - 8/10 This song really takes its time. It may seem a little slow, but I enjoy it. It's also the first track to feature an 8 string guitar as it appears on the outro. It doesn't show up anywhere else on the album.
Cherry Waves - 7/10 Also a slower track, but makes a great soundscape in the verses. The chorus is very impressive in regards to Chino's vocals.
Mein - 8/10 Faster-paced, but not quite heavy. The chord progressions are unusual, but it flows nicely. Serj Tankian from System of A Down is featured in the bridge and ending.
UUDDLRLRABSelectStart - 7/10 Best instrumental interlude from Deftones! It's very mellow and features more clean guitar than distorted.
Xerxes - 6/10 I used to get turned off by this song because of the intro, but the chorus is definitely worth the listen.
Rats! Rats! Rats! - 10/10 Best track on the record. Very technical, and the bridge is the heaviest part. It reminds of djent a little bit, but not quite there. (Not really a djent fan, if you were wondering)
Pink Cellphone - 4/10 This track is bizarre. It's like trip hop with some intoxicated college-age woman rambling on about someone's delusions. Not my favorite.
Combat - 8/10 Really heavy song! The melody flows nicely too.
Kimdracula - 8/10 Also good track. I love the main guitar lick especially.
Riviere - 3/10 This song is very toned back. It doesn't pick up until halfway through when we get past the twangy, detuned guitar in the beginning. I don't care for it.

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Formed: 1988 in Sacramento, CA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Deftones were one of the first groups to alternate heavy riffs and screamed vocals with more ethereal music and hushed singing -- spawning a fair amount of imitators in their wake. The group first formed in Sacramento, California during 1988, when then high-school students Stephen Carpenter (guitar), Abe Cunningham (drums), and Chino Moreno (vocals) first began to jam together. They chose the name Deftones and began playing out locally shortly thereafter, going through several different bass players...
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