Palms is a union of Deftones frontman Chino Moreno and ISIS core Bryant Clifford Meyer, Jeff Caxide, and Aaron Harris, and their debut album couldn’t have dropped at a more auspicious time for unorthodox metal. Arriving in the wake of game-changers like Baroness and Deafheaven – the latter a shoegaze-metal hybrid album that’s sitting surprisingly comfortably atop Metacritic’s 2013 LP list right now –Palms has haphazardly unearthed a massive audience.
The members’ former bands don’t define Palms — and that’s a good thing. Each track is really more like a movement, with each ranging from six to 10 minutes. To date, this is some of the prettiest, most patient, and least visceral material that Moreno and the ex-ISIS gentlemen have produced, and that impartiality alone deserves approbation. This new album offers a new tone of hypnosis: one that welcomes major-key dwelling and quality engineering that goes beyond pedal tinkering.
Still, as is the great inherent challenge to post-rock-rooted music, Palms suffers from a frustrating shortage of attention-perking moments; actually, there are about three or four, and two of them comprise the last few minutes of Sides A and B. This is the same go-to criticism that Explosions in the Sky (seemingly the most important non-metal band in the thriving metal scene right now) have always faced: It’s a little too good at lulling. The problem of carving a new brand of sprawling music that feels carefully hand-crafted at every nook while not letting those nooks fly by too easily, or unappreciated, is not one that Palms has a great solution towards.
Essential Tracks: “Mission Sunset”, “Antarctic Handshake”