As with any Deftones album, the recording process behind it remains self-destructive. However, the list of casualties incurred during the recording of "Saturday Night Wrist" is severe - even for Deftones standards. A butting of heads with the albums original producer Bob Ezrin saw them leave the studio; an alleged lack of motivation nearly saw band frontman Chino Moreno kicked out of the band; and you can bet that the trademark Carpenter vs. Moreno feuds were also in full effect.
So what does all this tension and strife amount to when captured on recording equipment? Well for starters, it seems like an odd mixture of two of the bands previous outings. The strain and uneasiness that sees ideas mildly stilted, plus the sharp nature of some tracks, recalls their last self-titled affair. But the liberal usage of dreamy soundscapes and focused experimentation give a nod to the "White Pony" days.
There are coarse jagged riffs and screams on occasion, but they are often buried underneath the abstract melodies and slow, lingering build-up's that anchor nearly each track. There really isn't that much in the way of rage on this album as much as there is a pleasantly numbing melodrama that, while on par for the mutated new wave the Deftones have championed, can at times feel lackluster in delivery.
A slow plodding beast, "Saturday Night Wrist" is packed with songs flush with depth, yet they rarely provide a clear vision of the ideas behind them. In that sense it's somewhat frustrating as it almost feels like the dense instrumentation and drawn-out build-up's are merely a cover-up for writer's block in certain places.
The guest appearance from System Of A Down frontman Serj Tankian on the track "Mein" is nearly transparent, while the skeletal electronics and throwaway lyrics of "Pink Cellphone" (featuring Annie Hardy talking about hot carls and more) falls flat as the albums biggest mistake. But even it isn't enough to derail the majesty this rare band who credibly escaped the nu-metal collapse are once again able to conjure up.
(4 / 5)