April 22, 2024

New Fury Media

Music. Gaming. Nostalgia. Culture.

On ‘Saturday Night Wrist’, Deftones continued to evolve their sound in exciting ways

Sometimes it’s difficult to be sure of what to make of Saturday Night Wrist, even over a decade after its release. Their previous self-titled record faced the pressure of being “White Pony part II”. And it wasn’t – while it was still a well-received album, it just missed some aspects of their previous work.

Of course, that doesn’t make the record bad or even mediocre. Most bands would be proud to call that record the best in their discography. There were plenty of fantastic ideas on the album. “Bloody Cape” and “When Girls Telephone Boys” rank as two of their heaviest songs in their discography, while “Lucky You” might remind you of something Portishead or Massive Attack tried before. Where would that take SNW, though, with the inner turmoil the band was experiencing? To a new musical stratosphere.

Tracks like the venomous “Rats! Rats! Rats!” rival “Bloody Cape” and “Elite” as far as being crushingly heavy – but still feature Chino Moreno’s signature croon in the chorus. In fact, most of them do, which is surely a good thing. Chino can effortlessly shift from a vicious roar to a chilling falsetto in the same song. In an era of dual vocalists, that’s something to be commended. Something else to appreciate is the effort DJ Frank Delgado puts in the atmosphere on the album. The interlude (we’ll call it the “Konami Code”) in the middle of the album is a solid track that breaks the album into two halves. Two AWESOME halves, actually.

Lead single “Hole In the Earth” is a pretty good representation of the band’s overall sound that provides comfort in accessibility, while “Beware The Water” is a slow, sludgy number that contains possibly the most haunting vocals on the album. “KimDracula” might be the album’s best song – it’s straightforward, sure, but that’s what makes it extremely effective. You can’t forget about album closer “Rivière” either. FANTASTIC track that could fit on the previous two albums, and is an effective album closer because of how emotionally powerful it is. “Cherry Waves” deserves a special mention because of its extreme popularity thanks to social media + TikTok, but its euphoric melodies would’ve made it a fan favorite in any era anyway.

The album has a few minor weak spots, however. The biggest offender is the weird “Pink Cellphone”. Needless to say, you can probably skip it unless you’re a completist. And while “Mein” has a pretty cool first 30 seconds, the guest vocals by Serj Tankian (of SOAD fame) are somewhat jarring. They don’t always mesh as well as they could. However, it’s really not bad, and certainly isn’t one you’d rank as skippable.

Really, though, SNW succeeds because it’s as claustrophobic as White Pony. You’re never quite comfortable listening to it. It’s both really heavy (“Rapture”) and very atmospheric (“Cherry Waves”). Good art makes you uncomfortable. It’s not White Pony part II, and that is why it succeeds. Many of the album’s songwriting choices reflect the band’s evolution, from a sonic perspective at least. Give it some quality time. It might be the most inaccessible Deftones album, and yet, may hold the most rewards for the patient listener. It’s a great segue into their post-Diamond Eyes material, where they explored more shoegaze and post-metal influences that helped transform them into, well, whatever their new form really is.

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