Sound — 9
The Deftones are usually associated with turn-of-the century nu metal along with acts like System Of A Down and Linkin Park. While they admittedly share some characteristics with the genre, the Deftones have proven time and again to be above such narrow genre classifications. Saturday Night Wrist is no exception, with the band putting aside the heavy, crunchy rhythms of their earlier work in favour of a dreamier, more ambient approach. That's not to say that the album is completely devoid of hard-rock moments; some tracks are as driving as they are textured, relying as much on pulsating rock rhythms as they do on wall-of-sound ambience. This is a much less genre-based and much less restricted album than much of the Deftones' previous work, an album whose strength lies on the apparent tension between guitarist Stephen Carpenter's metal-inspired technique and the dream-pop influences explored by Chino Moreno with his side project Team Sleep. The result of this tension is an edgy, oftentimes daring final product which manages to walk the line between hard and soft.
Lyrics — 9
The dream-pop influence that is obvious throughout the songs on Saturday Night Wrist extends to both the vocals and the lyrics. The wide, spatial production of the album has Chino Moreno's vocals masked in a shimmer of reverb for almost the entire duration of the album in the habitual dream-pop fashion. His lyrics are also visibly influenced by the genre, often indulging in dreamy abstractions and metaphors, such as on "Kimdracula" and "Mein". Moreno manages the difficult task of using such a lyrical style while resorting to very few angsty cliches. Both the lyrics and the vocal seemed perfectly matched to the Deftones' take on ambient rock and play a huge role in the efficiency with which the album is able to create moods and tectures.
Overall Impression — 8
I enjoy most of the Deftones' material, but until I heard Saturday Night Wrist, I didn't really think of myself as much of a Deftones fan. This is an album that succeeds in creating a variety of rich textures, calling to mind a pallette of different moods. The band moves with ease from the dissonant mess of the angry "Rapture" to the sweet, spacey instrumental "U, U, D, D, L, R, L, R, A, B, Select, Start", from the propulsive riffing on the opener "Hole In The Earth" to the rhythic "Kimdracula". Admittedly, some songs feel as though they do not belong on the album ("Pink Cellphone" is particularly frustrating, feeling neither appropriate to the tone of the rest of the album, nor really appropriate to the Deftones as a band), but all in all, the album is very sold and makes for an interesting listen, even the tehnth time around. Saturday Night Wrist features a band at their most daring and experimental, and the end result is something that truly transcends everything nu-metal has come to mean, and everything that the Deftones have come to mean.