Palms is the new project from Deftones vocalist Chino Moreno and three former members of ISIS. And it sounds exactly as you’d imagine.

For those unfamiliar with those bands, Deftones is a Sacramento outfit that was initially, sadly, placed in the nü-metal camp (the band includes a turntablist) but whose experimentalism elevated its music far above that genre’s limitations: Its seminal 2000 album, White Pony, was like the OK Computer for heavy music fans. LA’s ISIS, on the other hand, is considered one of the leaders of the “post-metal” movement — its quiet/loud style rode the line between delicate and heavy, thoughtful and visceral. The group called it quits three years ago, after releasing the most successful album of its career. So fans may consider this project — which features ISIS guitarist/keyboardist Bryant Clifford Meyer, bassist Jeff Caxide, and drummer Aaron Harris — a new ISIS release of sorts.

Indeed, the six tracks on Palms sound a lot like ISIS: There are spacey, pretty moments and flat-out skull-crushing ones. Every track sounds like the band is trying to reach post-metal nirvana: atmospheric, shimmering guitars; emotionally fraught, reverbed-out vocals; textural drumming; and sprawling arrangements. There’s little veering from this template: Songs layer and build and eventually burst open. Moreno was clearly the perfect choice for this effort: His clean singing has the ability to convey vulnerability and brooding and yearning (some may say whining) in a way that few in the genre can.

Crisply produced, Palms is New Age metal for sensitive types — and I mean that in the best way possible. (Ipecac Recordings)


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