Basically, any unlikely pairing will fit when discussing Palms, a new alternative rock project that finds Deftones vocalist Chino Moreno fronting a previously defunct band called Isis. If you are familiar with both groups, you may notice a few differences, but overall, Palms is a blend between Moreno’s vocals and the instrumentals of Isis. The common thing to acknowledge is that this album is more about atmosphere and spaced-out soundscapes than the hardcore-laced riffs you would hear in either Isis or The Deftones.
If you have ever attempted to acquaint yourself with other Chino Moreno side projects (Team Sleep, †††, etc.), then you can pretty much expect to hear more of Chino’s lullaby screaming over the work of different musicians. Understand that this is the constant in Moreno’s artistic repertoire that caters to a specific demographic and listenership.
That said, being a long time fan of The Deftones, I acknowledge that he enters new vocal ranges and unchartered territory on songs like “Mission Sunset” (a nod to Bohren & der Club of Gore? You be the judge.) that do this band more justice than it’s chosen single “Patagonia.”
Palms is a definitive and positive step forward for the members of Isis. Having an opportunity to listen to the efforts of their previous band, I definitely can hear how Palms is a project that is more suited for them as opposed to their previous attempts in the genre. The musicianship is ballad-like and progressive in its own right, as it is filled with arpeggiated, phaser-drenched riffs that weave in and out of Moreno’s vocal work that is essentially tectonic over the song structures. While it is not the aggressive assault of any Deftones record to date, Palms comes with it’s own dissonant and rough-edged moments – notably, the tension building “Shortwave Radio.”
To its credit, Palms is definitely a band for metal enthusiasts who enjoy long songs. With only 6 songs, the album runs for a solid 46 minutes. In the self-proclaimed genre known as “Dream Metal,” the music created by Palms certainly travels far off distances and is not necessarily radio-friendly as the songs tend to last anywhere from five to seven minutes.
That said, I believe that in a parallel universe Palms could have existed independent of both Isis and Deftones. This music can be appreciated on its own merit. My only hope is that it doesn’t take away from future Deftones plans.
If you’re not a metal purist, and are entertained by alternative takes on the genre I encourage you to pick up Palms. It is most likely one of the more pleasant surprises you will find in the genre this year.
Recommended if you like: Dredg, The Mars Volta, Team Sleep, Far, Deftones, Isis.