“Hole in the Earth”, the opener to the band’s fifth studio album, rivals “My Own Summer (Shove It)” as Deftones’ biggest radio-friendly-unit-shifter to date. Normally such a phrase would likely strike fear in the heart of the discerning music listener, but in this instance it’s no bad thing. The song’s main riff sounds huge, its chorus even bigger still. It is quickly apparent that this album doesn’t deviate far from the band’s established sound, but what really sets this album apart from their last is the production. While 2003’s eponymous effort was drenched in swathes of tar-thick guitars, to the point where they nearly drowned out the rest of the band, this album is far more balanced. Compared to the dense and almost impenetrable Deftones, Saturday Night Wrist has been made far more palatable by Canada’s own Bob Ezrin (Pink Floyd, Kiss, Alice Cooper). This has really brought singer Chino Moreno’s superb voice to the fore and given greater prominence to Frank Delgado’s contribution of keys and samples, which has previously been very hard to distinguish. These two characteristics are well displayed on “Xerces”, a song that sees the band wearing their 80s influences on their sleeves. Elsewhere on the album, “Rats!Rats!Rats!” is a staggeringly abrasive affair that combines discordant aggression with a beautifully soaring chorus.
The only occasion when this album falters is on the minimalist electro of “Pink Cellphone”, which features a rather irritating spoken word piece from Giant Drag’s Annie Hardy. Fortunately, the album quickly recovers with a closing triumvirate of brilliant songs: “Combat”, “Kimdracula”, and “Riviere”. This album once again reaffirms Deftones’ position as a band who came to prominence during the nu-metal movement but has always been a far more fulfilling, cerebral and indeed enduring musical proposition than the rest of the bunch. Korn who?