Deftones, Saturday Night Wrist

Deftones, Saturday Night Wrist

I’ve been a huge Deftones fan ever since I saw them open up for the Bad Brains, way back before Adrenaline even came out. I also really dig the fact that they’ve managed to grow musically over the near-decade that I’ve been following their output — pretty much outgrowing the nu-metal/pimp rock/rap-metal/whatever genre seemingly for good with White Pony. I remember the first time I heard that album; it fucking blew me away, man. It was heavy and dense, yet melodic and groovy, pretty much everything I like about music all wrapped up into one neat little package (we’re talking about the original release, sans “Back to School”).

With all that said, I was pretty let down by Deftones‘ the self-titled followup. Sure, it was a return to heaviness, but in a more ham-fisted, “look, we’re still pissed off and metal” kind of way. By this point, I thought the band was better than that. Nothing really caught me on that album, and to this day I break it out once every few months to see if something grabs me, but to no avail.

Of course, after that, I followed all the info that preceded Saturday Night Wrist‘s release with trepidation. I’d pretty much resigned myself to the fact that it wasn’t going to get any better than White Pony, and it seemed be doubtful that any subsequent Deftones album would even come close. All the talk in the press about band tensions and acrimony with original producer Bob Ezrin didn’t really help matters any. I mean, if a band hires Bob Freaking Ezrin to produce something and after about a year of recording, numerous accounts (including some from within the band) label the material produced as pretty much worthless, well…chances are you’re in for a shitty end-user experience.

Now, meet Shaun Lopez. He apparently saved the day (from what I can gather), and helped shape a possible clusterfuck into at least the second best, possibly the best album that the Deftones have put out so far.

I’m a little biased, I admit. Shaun was the guitarist for Far, one of my favorite bands ever. Far and Deftones go way back, as both came up in the Sacramento scene of the late ’90s. After the demise of Far, Shaun got into producing and recording, so when things got hairy with Saturday Night Wrist, it seemed only natural that the Deftones take the masters to Shaun to help out. From what I’ve read, there was a lot of chopping, re-arranging, remixing, and overdubbing done, but what results is an album that sonically sits right in the middle of Around The Fur and White Pony.

It’s got the heavy, angry alterna-metal that the Deftones are known for (“Rapture”), but generally it’s the angular, Fugazi/Snapcase-infused variety. It’s also got the ambient/New Wave-y stuff (“Beware,” “Cherry Waves”), and then there’s also super-dense, Hum-like walls of sound that will blow your mind (“Hole In The Earth”). Some songs even seamlessly combine all three to some degree. If Depeche Mode played metal, this is the album that they would make.

This is what Deftones are. This is what sets them apart from the Limp Bizkits and the Korns of the world. This could possibly be their greatest achievement to date. (White Pony and Saturday Night Wrist duke it out regularly on my iPod; a clear winner has not yet been determined. That White Pony album is a scrapper.) Nice save, guys.

(Maverick Records --; Deftones --
BUY ME: Amazon

Review by . Review posted Wednesday, February 21st, 2007. Filed under Reviews.

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