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Deftones - "Saturday Night Wrist" (CD)

Deftones - "Saturday Night Wrist" CD cover image

"Saturday Night Wrist" track listing:

1. Hole In The Earth
2. Rapture
3. Beware
4. Cherry Waves
5. Mein
6. U,U,D,D,L,R,L,R,A,B,Select,Start
7. Xerces
8. Rats!Rats!Rats!
9. Pink Cellphone
10. Combat
11. Kimdracula
12. Riviere

Reviewed by on November 28, 2006

"“Saturday Night Wrist” comes off as a successful flip-side to 2003's self title album."

The Deftones could have settled for going down in history as cofounders of both the nu-metal and screamo movements. The band's debut "Adrenaline" and sophomore release "Around the Fur" secured a devoted fan base by balancing shoe gazing angst with melodic hardcore fury. But the Deftones turned a corner with 2000's "White Pony," their most critically acclaimed and commercially successful venture to date. "White Pony" was an eclectic, nearly all encompassing affair that mixed elements of alternative, acoustic, metal and trip-hop into an equally cohesive and diverse statement. The ride from popular-underground to mainstream stardom must have been a jarring one, as the bands self-titled follow up paled to all previous works. An impotent b-side collection followed, which omitted nearly all of the bands strong obscurities while favoring neutered, half-finished songs that should have remained vaulted. It is with some surprise that the Deftones' latest album finds the band dodging one trick pony status, "Saturday Night Wrist" is something of a triumphant return for the band.

The ricocheting drums and tuneful, emotive vocals of "Hole in the Earth" are the first and best indicators that the Deftones still have much to offer their patient fans. It is the band's strongest single since "Change (in the house of flies)" surprised everyone more than six years ago. "Rapture" initially drops the ball with singer Chino Moreno sounding awkward within the jagged rhythms but by the one minute mark he seems to regain his footing. In keeping with previous albums, the band put on a new face for every song: ambient post-rock (U,U,D,D,L,L,R,R,B,A,Select, Start), piano-power balladry (Xerces) and alternative tension builders (Riviere) are all acounted for. "Saturday Night Wrist" is sorely lacking in outright hostility however, a strong selling point for the band not so long ago. "Rats!rats!rats!rats!" and "Combat" attempt to compensate but only highlight the strength of fan favorites like "Teething", "Damone", "Engine # 9" and "Elite" from previous records. The minimalist electronic detours that sounded more like Teamsleep (singer Chino Moreno's side project) and less like Deftones have been mercifully amputated. "Pink Cellphone" is the only exception, with monotonous hip-hop drums, washed out synths and a purposeless spoken word diatribe, this track will perplex even the most devoted of fans.

Lacking the visionary focus of "Around the Fur" or the quirky, boldness of "White Pony", "Saturday Night Wrist" comes off as a successful flip-side to 2003's self title album: a functional mishmash with it's share of glaring flaws (Pink Cellphone, Rapture) and dizzying highs (Cherry Waves, Beware and Hole in the Earth). The album fails to reach any kind of milestone mark but should re-energize a fan base, who have been dealt two dud albums and a 3 year waiting period rife with breakup rumors.

Highs: Top shelf vocal melodies abound on “Hole in the Earth”, “Beware” and “Cherry Waves”.

Lows: Guitarist Stephen Carpenter’s heavy riffing and Moreno’s cornered jaguar vocals lack the tenacity of previous albums. “Pink Cellphone” is worse than disposable.

Bottom line: Staurday Night Wrist makes a strong case for fans who have stuck by the band.

Rated 3 out of 5 skulls
3 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)