Despite escalating popularity at the time they called it quits, there’s a feeling that ISIS – not wishing to "push past the point of a dignified death” (as the band themselves put it) – inspired all the bong blazing they could within the niche domain of thematic post-metal by 2010. So it’s a surprise to find three of its mainstays – bassist Jeff Caxide, drummer Aaron Harris and guitarist Bryant Clifford Meyer – enjoying a productive afterlife as Palms.
Although at pains to iterate that this is not ISIS mark II, it’s impossible to ignore the inherent similarities of their slow-burning, ambient passageways. What steers Palms away from some cynical retread, though, is a voice that's unreservedly pushed to the fore; in walks Deftones' none-more-versatile caterwauler, Chino Moreno.
What follows is a fertile union, alternately meditative and primal in execution; lead track Future Warrior sees both band and singer exploring their dynamic range and hitting new timbres as understated crescendos perpetually threaten, crash, and recede. On paper it’s a well-worn formula that could be damned in lesser hands, but Palms use their pedigree to avoid any obvious moves throughout this gloriously cathartic offering.
From the bruising odyssey of Mission Sunset to a chiming, Cocteau-esque lullaby like Tropics, fans of ISIS’ swansong and Moreno’s apparently abandoned Team Sleep project should find plenty to stand in dumbstruck wonder of here. The rest should give it time.