Some bands pass in a complete flutter, and some bands come to define a complete generation of music. Some bands stick to one formula in their career, and others progressively change to satiate their own musical desires as well as their fans. Some bands have the formula down pat. Deftones is one of those bands. Through a multitude of varied releases, some stronger than others, the group has enacted a strong sense of experimentalism growing with each release. After the massive success of White Pony, one could think that it wasn’t possible for them to top it. One thought wrong. Saturday Night Wrist is that next step, not a White Pony 2.0, if you will.
Maybe it’s the continuing feeling of sonic walls reaching a moving continuum during each breathtaking song on the record, or maybe it’s Chino Moreno’s one-of-a-kind vocals shivering your spine within the complex of each of the 12 auditory paradigms. Maybe it’s just the experimental and progressive rock and roll these men create is just that good. Maybe I’m over-simplifying. Regardless, you’ll be invested in a journey if you truly allow yourself. Cunning, delusional, and spaciously serene, I feel obligated to close my eyes during this venture. Feeling completely intact with the introduction, the aptly titled “Hole in the Earth” describes the feeling associated when diving in – an intense feeling of falling before reaching a climax tough to put into words. From here it’s ebb and flow that drives this theme and falling to gaining ground.
From time to time, you’ll notice where you are – perpetually sidetracked for the most part, but you’ll be caught by certain hooks. These may be the stiff cutting from riffs like in “Rapture” or “Mein,” or maybe when everything flies up above your face in waves like in the endearing “Cherry Waves” (ignore the pun). Deftones know their strengths, and those are exactly when to hit throttle and pull back on the pin. Such an example lies in the jazz refinery of “U,U,D,D,L,R,L,R,A,B,Select,Start,” as flourished ride cymbals and delay soaked snares lead the song cleverly while rushes of silky guitar and bass garnish the track in eerie instrumental polish. Some of the record’s cleverest moments stem from a rawer approach (“Rats!Rats!Rats!” and “Combat”), intertwining nostalgic Deftones with “newer” Deftones while simultaneously kicking you in the teeth.
In pleasantries it seems as though the record wants to make caustic love to you, but also be aggressive in a submissive sort of manner. Ultimately, it’s this honest and caustic love in the forms of “Xerces” and “Riviere” that wrap everything up in the kind of passion that gives Deftones their broad and astonishing appeal. So after listening, what sort of journey were you supposed to be on? Some call it meandering, I call it introspective. You learn a whole lot about yourself when a band brings such a progressive sound to your ears.
If you’ve ever been familiar with Deftones, you understand where this feeling comes from. Looking back at each release, they each precursor the next, driving the next record with more feelings of anxiety and haunting melodies than the last. Saturday Night Wrist is a block of feeling, and without it the jump from Deftones to Diamond Eyes would have made much less sense, let alone be so perfect.