Review Summary: A super-group that's worth more than the sum of it's parts
After the break-up of post-metal darlings Isis, drummer Aaron Harris took a break. That is, until Isis guitarist Bryant Clifford Meyer and bassist Jeff Caxide invited Harris to jam. And with that, the group Palms was born. However, the group needed a singer. So, they reached out to Deftones frontman Chino Moreno, who quickly signed up. Two years later, we have the results of this "pairing", their self-titled album. And it's ***ing amazing.
I must warn you, if you were expecting to hear Isis with the guy from Deftones singing, you're going to be extremely disappointed. This is not, I repeat this is NOT metal. Instead, we get a ***ing great shoegazing rock record. Mind you, there is still aggression to be found (the chorus & back end of "Future Warrior" for example), but on most of Palms, the boys from Isis provide us with some of the most beautiful and most relaxing atmospheric rock music in quite awhile. Seriously, you could put this record on, meditate and fall into a trance. "Future Warrior" drifts along over the course of four-odd minutes before the song shifts into a slightly more aggressive tone, as distorted guitars lead the way and the drums crash like waves on a dark night.
"Patagonia" and "Tropics" both sound like they could soundtrack a deep-sea dive, as the dynamics of both songs give off a feeling of drifting down slowly. Caxide's bass really shines on "Patagonia", as his melodic playing circles gently around Moreno's vocals instead of smothering them. "Mission Sunset" and "Antarctic Handshake" and both 10 minutes long, and while they do drag on a wee bit too long, it's an enjoyable ride. These songs were composed very cinematically, and for some people that may not be their thing, but I absolutely love this album. Although there is almost no real metallic aggression or explosive venting of anger, Palms does have a ton of emotions to it. The music is very beautiful and seductive, and each song will make you feel something different. This album is great for those days when you just want to go for a peace & quiet type of drive through the middle of nowhere.
While for some, Palms (the album) may be underwhelming because of it's lack of aggression, the album itself presents a whole different type of beast for both the former Isis members and Chino Moreno. The production is fantastic, as each instrument has air to breathe and the dynamics are simply flawless. As a whole, Palms is a great shoegazing rock type of album that is the ideal soundtrack for pursuits of mind expansion and for listening in a euphoric haze. It's taken long enough for Palms to arrive, but the end effect is a hypnotic ride through emotions and dynamics. Expect this one to be on some AOTY lists.