Overall Score: 8/10 Songwriting: 7/10 Production: 9/10 Immersion: 8/10 Pros: Track #1 (0:01) through to #9 (09:42) Cons: It's again a shorter than desirable release...
In short, this sounds exactly what you would expect ISIS and Chino to sound like; a well produced, emotive and peaceful balance of four fantastic musicians.
That said, essentially it is ISIS through and through; melodic / sweeping ambience and guitar strokes; it’s very much a mix of the ‘Panopticon’ / ‘Wavering Radiant’ era and style, alas not as heavy as earlier material and in addition Chino’s voice merges effortlessly and almost perfectly.
In parts, especially on ‘Patagonia’, the rhythm and tone of the bass is again very much born of the ‘Oceanic’ blueprint and Chino’s voice lends itself to a very welcome pairing. In many ways it is easy to listen to just one of these songs and figure it to be an ISIS song featuring Chino as special guest rather than a proper collaboration as a band.
The hugely under-rated drumming of Aaron Harris keeps the beat steady and dis-jointed without becoming overbearing, much in the veign of Carey (Tool) and indeed Cunningham (Deftones). Jeff Caxide’s brilliant bass-lines sound so much better with the tones and effects he channels and they form such an intrical and neccessary part of not only the sound itself, but the atmosphere thereafter (take ‘Weight’ as a perfect example).
An album featuring members of two of my favourite bands was always going to be given a rather biased interpretation, but if there is anything negative to be said, it would only be that whilst the continuation and flow of the tracks is almost faultless, it DOES
all sound very, very similar.
With Deftones, Chino switches his vocals between the raspy and haunting to the menance and passion of release but with ‘Palms’, it is very much ‘Minerva’ throughout. That is, of course, no bad thing, but it does limit the scope of immersion (at least for me). Of course, this is their first release as a band and as such too much cannot be geared from such an observation.
I was excited for the release of this material and I am in no way disappointed. I am keen to see how the dymanics of growing together will aid in further releases and I do strongly hope that they tour with this formation outside the US; I picture watching them at London’s Scala or Garage closing off a glorious day with an impeccibly atmospheric display of showmanship and it makes me smile.
It should be noted that Chino, as with Deftones, does not limit himself to just vocal duties and his interactional guitar layers over Bryant Clifford Meyer (who’s presence and influence clearly demonstrate the contributions he made and respectively makes to both ISIS and Red Sparowes).
This is, in many ways, only missing the glorious nut-crunching sludge that their main-stay bands perfected.
Of course, if they had that, then they really would still be ISIS.
1 – ‘Future Warrior’ (07:56)
2 – ‘Patagonia’ (06:41)
3 – ‘Mission Sunset’ (09:58)
4 – ‘Shortwave Radio’ (06:57)
5 – ‘Tropics’ (05:44)
6 – ‘Antartic Handshake’ (09:42)
[ Length : 46:58 ]