Deftones latest disc lacks passion of previous work
November 20, 2006 —
After a three year gap since their last full-length release, Deftones return with Saturday Night Wrist, a 50-plus minute affair that goes from good to great to bad to good. Sadly, it never settles into a groove and, as a result, it avoids greatness.
Unlike most other members of the mid-90's nu-metal insurgency, Deftones never fell into disrepute and obscurity.
Avoiding the pitfalls KoRn and Limp Bizkit fell into, the band still manages to make imaginative and unique music years after their days of real fame, an admirable achievement to be sure.
After striking gold with White Pony in 2000, Deftones has been unable to hit such a high mark again. Saturday Night Wrist is no exception.
While the band has always had trouble making each and every song on an album quality, this latest release painfully brings that to the listener's attention. After two or three great songs there is always something very bland thrown in to disrupt everything.
Before this gets to sound too negative though, a discussion of the album's positive qualities is warranted. Opening with the catchy and radio-friendly "Hole in the Earth," Saturday Night Wrist gets off to a great start. The second track "Rapture" is an aggressive song that calls to mind the band's older catalog.
Then the listener is greeted with "Beware," easily the best track on the album and among the best songs the band has ever written. This song features everything about Deftones that is great. A slow, brooding, and atmospheric affair, it is beautiful for the first four and a half minutes before closing with a sludgy and overwhelming coda.
The aforementioned atmospheric quality is one that pervades the best moments on Saturday Night Wrist. Through layers of electronics, busy yet subdued percussion, and guitar layered with delay, Deftones frequently accomplishes a very pretty wall of sound, calling to mind bands like Explosions in the Sky, especially on the instrumental sixth track. Sometimes this is too much, and the music feels a little too droning, but it generally works.
Unfortunately, though, there is the matter of mediocre tracks getting in the way of things.
Starting at the fifth track, "Mein," the album takes a sharp turn downhill and never recovers. "Mein" is a messy and emotionally flat song that doesn't match up when juxtaposed with the majority of the rest of the album.
Worse yet is the pointless and distracting "Pink Cellphone." It's baffling why the band chose to include a five minute track that seems to be nothing more than a woman speaking over poorly programmed electronics.
While there are tracks on Saturday Night Wrist that are excellent, there are also some that will inevitably be skipped. Whether this is from a lack of preparation for studio time or an inability to grab hold of the greatness they are capable of must be left to the imagination.
For fans of the band this album is a must, but those looking to experience Deftones for the first time would be better off picking up White Pony.