It's been a while since White Pony established the Deftones as nü-metal's answer to Radiohead, embracing moody, operatic grandeur without abandoning the muscle or the shriek. But after retreating a bit from the edge on the more conventionally heavy Deftones, they're back to exploring their artsier side with a vengeance on Saturday Night Wrist, produced by Bob Ezrin, whose work includes such masterpieces as The Wall and Alice Cooper's Killer. But this ain't the '70s. Not by a long shot. The moodier moments here recall the richly textured drama of "Digital Bath," while in their more explosive outbursts, they hit with the force of a beer-swilling jock in the pit. While System of a Down's Serj Tankian drops by to lend vocal support on "Mein," it's not as if the Deftones needed any help in that department. Chino Moreno can shriek with the best of them (see "Rats"). But it's the soulful ache with which he punctuates the haunted verses of "Beware" or "Cherry Waves" that ultimately matters here. Well, that and the power he brings to the mic on soaring chorus after soaring chorus.


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