Deftones were at a crossroads in 2006. Tensions within the band were pretty high at the time, with the pressure to match the success of White Pony still fresh on their minds (even though it was six years later, with their self-titled album in between). Never ones to rest on their laurels, though, Deftones emerged with Saturday Night Wrist. Instead of trying to repeat their past success, they wisely tried new ideas that they’d expand upon on future records.
A specific example can be highlighted on “Beware”, a six-minute long track that approaches the kind of expansive territory that post-metal bands inhabit. It would later be expanded on in the form of Koi No Yokan-era songs “Rosemary” and “Tempest”, some of the longest songs of the band’s career so far. Variety is also on full display here, whether it’s the bludgeoning Stephen Carpenter alt-metal assault and Meshuggah influence on “Rats!Rats!Rats!” or the atmospheric euphoria of “Cherry Waves” and album opener “Hole In The Earth”. There’s also the re-emergence of Deftones’ more obvious shoegaze influences, as well as some of Chino Moreno’s most desperate vocal performances. “Combat” and especially “Rats!Rats!Rats! highlight the versatility quite well, with the latter possibly being his most explosive and heaviest from a vocal perspective. Even “KimDracula” warrants a particular mention here, as its straightforward nature contains one of Chino Moreno’s biggest vocal hooks.
The only glaring flaw in the album is “Pink Cellphone”. It barely qualifies as a song, more like a string of spoken-word interludes with instrumentals. It’s so unnecessary that not even the most diehard Deftones fan needs to listen to it for any reason. Subtract that, though, and every song serves a purpose here. Fitting for what would become bassist Chi Cheng’s final record for the band before his tragic passing. And undoubtedly, Saturday Night Wrist should be recognized for its versatility first and foremost. with dozens of sections you could consider huge *moments* for the band. It’s one of the band’s most interesting albums for a reason.