Review Summary: A cinematic odyssey of majestic proportions.
Supergroups are a dangerous thing. The term sounds appealing and exciting but in comparison to ordinary bands, the stakes for them are higher and the egos are bigger when they are made up of musicians already well-known for other projects. There are enough supergroup flops in history to have certain doubts regarding new announcements. Such is not the case for the most recent fusion between Deftones' vocalist Chino Moreno and former Isis members, Aaron Harris, Jeff Caxide and Clifford Meyer.
Palms’ eponymous album is everything you expect it to be. It’s an extensive palette mixing Chino Moreno’s dreamy vocals with progressive post-rock influences from past Isis records. Most of the songs are pretty much flat, without building into a specific climax, rather being consistently powerful and captivating. Clocking at roughly 47 minutes with merely 6 songs, this shouts prog rock more than anything. The especially exquisite “Mission Sunset” expands into 10 minutes of golden bass and guitar textures in the verse contrasted by the slightly more distorted choruses. The psychedelic journey is never interrupted by particularly heavy moments. Its entrancing and atmospheric sound doesn't drift into something dynamic like a Deftones or Isis album. There are no distortive breakdowns with loud guitars or experimental moments - it’s linear progression at its finest. What it lacks in diversity makes up for in excellent song writing. And even though it's linear or sometimes monotone, it doesn't get boring at any point. The music is always interesting enough to make it a fantastic experience in the end.
Deftones fans have as much to find here as Isis lovers. Chino Moreno is at his usual poetic self, his vocals painting dream-like landscapes in the form of Sextape
. He’s not as much in the spotlight as on Koi No Yokan – he shares his excellent input equally with the rest of the band. While on most Deftones songs, Chino’s soft vocals are in contrast with the heavy riffing, here the music perfectly accompanies the singing. The chemistry between all band members is what drives the music, rather than Chino leading the pack. Which is why it works beautifully.
So call it the love child of Deftones and Isis, dream-metal or anything you want, Palms
is a project composed of excellent musicians from two very different sounding bands creating some quality music. Really, did you expect anything less?