Deftones - Saturday Night Wrist
Warner Bros. Records
Ambient / Electronica Infused Metal
15 songs (51'33")
Release year: 2006
Deftones, Warner Bros. Records
Reviewed by Al
Major event

Some guy called Benjamin Disraeli once said ‘Change is inevitable. In a progressive country change is constant’. Now I know what you’re thinking, ‘What in the seventh level of hell does that have to do with a Deftones album?’ but just bear with me here. If we were to take that principle and apply it to bands by way of switching the word ‘country’ with ‘band’ it fits somewhat snugly. (That Nobel Prize for tenuous links is so mine) The majority of bands follow the first half of this quote with little exception, sometimes the change is slow and sometimes sudden but I can guarantee that if you were to listen to the debut and most recent albums of any one band with a substantial career you would find a significant amount of difference. If you were to engage this exercise with the Deftones however, it’s highly likely you would think you were listening to two different bands. From the release of their full length album Adrenaline in 1995 the band has consistently altered their sound with every album. While the change in their second album Around the Fur was slight, their third, 2000’s White Pony, was a massive leap to the leftfield for the band, incorporating atmospheric aesthetics and somewhat more sedate but no less intense tempo. The album was the high point of the band’s career in terms of mainstream critical acclaim and fan approval. Instead of trying to repeat this however their self titled fourth album was instead a departure from everything they had become known for. A mixture of ambience, strange and oft unmelodic riffs, schizophrenic vocal styles and extremely abstract lyrics resulted in an album that exhibited startlingly little resemblance to its predecessors. This brings me to the present and the Deftones’ fifth album Saturday Night Wrist and the second half of the quote. If the Deftones were to be classed as progressive then another big change would be expected. Would this occur or would the band finally settle on their laurels and reproduce an element of their past?

The answer is that they have achieved a combination of both. While there is significant amount of change between the self titled album and this, there are also distinct elements of the sound that can be traced back to the band’s previous work. Some tracks fuse the crunching melodic riffs of Around the Fur with the ethereal, slower tempo aesthetics of White Pony. Prime examples of this are the seminal Beware, which starts out slow and brooding and slowly picks up steam before exploding into a soaring chorus and Mein, which features a guest appearance by System of a Down vocalist Serj Tankian and a distinctly Around the Fur feel in song structure and sound. The progresion is far more slight than that shown on the previous two releases but the sound has changed nonetheless. A big influence on this is easily apparent in Chino Moreno’s ambient side project Team Sleep as many of the tracks contained on this release are infused with elements of electronica and a far lighter and more abstract tone than anything the band has attempted in the past. This new direction is at times interesting and produces one of the albums best tracks in Cherry Waves, a beautiful meandering number with one of Moreno’s finest vocal performances in the band’s history. Other times however the efforts fall the wrong side of pointless as on instrumental number U,U,D,D,L,R,LR,A,B,Select,Start which sounds like an interlude but goes on for four pointless minutes and bizarre spoken word over electronica effort Pink Cellphone which has me reaching for the skip button every time. There are of course times when all of these elements combine and for the most part the results are stellar. The single, Hole In The Earth is the band’s best since Change (In the House of Flies) and combines the ambient elements fluidly with some heavy distorted riffs. Album closer Riviere also deserves an honourable mention by again melding the old and new styles to perfection and providing a damn good close to the record.

This is not the best Deftones album, that honour goes to White Pony, but it is a far better effort than the self titled release and has rekindled my faith in the band’s new direction. The few pointless tracks prevent this one attaining essential purchase status but for fans of the band and for those curious about hearing something different I heartily recommend it. Debate will no doubt strike up as to whether or not this album can fit into the category of metal and while I’m not too sure on that one myself, the simple fact that a band that once played rather simplistic mainstream metal has evolved to the point where it has become difficult to pigeonhole them puts a smile on my face. Rumours heavily abound that after their current tour the Deftones may be done and while I for one do not want to seem them go, I’d be content with this being their swan song. This band has given me a lot of musical pleasure over the years and this album is no exception.

Killing Songs :
Hole in the Earth, Beware, Cherry Waves and Riviere
Al quoted 89 / 100
Adam quoted 80 / 100
Other albums by Deftones that we have reviewed:
Deftones - Gore reviewed by Goat and quoted 85 / 100
Deftones - Koi No Yokan reviewed by Khelek and quoted 87 / 100
Deftones - Around the Fur reviewed by Tyler and quoted 80 / 100
Deftones - Diamond Eyes reviewed by Goat and quoted 86 / 100
Deftones - Deftones reviewed by Goat and quoted 83 / 100
To see all 7 reviews click here
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