The loss of ISIS was a blow to the music world, one that many felt very keenly. The band’s ability to build tension with each passage, ultimately coming to a climax that felt like a tidal wave crashing upon you, was nothing short of amazing. But their end came with a new beginning: Palms. Featuring Deftones vocalist Chino Moreno and ex-ISIS members Aaron Harris (drums), Jeff Caxide (bass), and Clifford Meyer (guitars), Palms is the next step in these musicians’ musical journey. But does it take the best of both bands and combine them into a majestical opus or does it falter, tidal waves becoming mere ripples? Find out more below.
“Future Warriors” opens the album with ethereal synths, twangy leads and rolling lows. Moreno’s vocals here are raspy and crackly, almost as if there are small shards of glass resting upon his vocal cords. While it’s a great song, the problem is that it takes too long while utilizing a predictable song structure. Ultimately that becomes the problem with the album: it is alluring and elegant yet the songs begin to drag, which is tough considering that the average song length is just under eight minutes.
Since the album is only six tracks, I won’t do a song-by-song review. Instead, I’ll say that there is a sense of continuity from one song to another. It almost feels like the band recorded an extended jam and broke it up into individual tracks. But when the wrote the music, it’s also very obvious that they used the full range of tools and effects at their disposal. The tracks can be very dynamic, shifting from melodic beauty to distortion overload.
And yet, with all of the wonderful dynamics in terms of soft to heavy, the volume doesn’t shift accordingly. The songs are compressed so that the cleans almost distort while the actual distorted sections don’t have the intensity they so deserve. Had this single problem been addressed, I feel like I would’ve gotten far more enjoyment from the experience.
The Final Word: While a beautiful album with wonderful textures and some stunning passages, ultimately Palms suffers from overstaying its welcome. Some sharper editing and more dynamic production would’ve gone a long way here.