In what seems to be a musical wet dream, three members of the highly regarded post-metal act Isis have found themselves teamed up with Deftones vocalist, Chino Moreno, in a much anticipated side project known as Palms. Early speculation is that the project would simply be a “what if” scenario come true and would just sound like Chino singing for Isis, which was a notion that the band quickly shot down. Ending all the rumors, the band released the track Patagonia a few weeks ago to give people an idea of what was expected and after listening to the album, that particular song was the perfect sneak peak at what the project was all about.

When this concept was first revealed to the world, tons of people I know started foaming at the mouth in anticipation of what this Deftones/Isis hybrid was going to sound like. But unlike the vast majority of my friends, who listen to metal, I have never liked Isis. Progressive post-metal acts like Isis and Neurosis, who have always been bigger about mood and the art itself, have never done anything for me. But I’d be a fool to deny these acts in their ability to effectively portray a specific atmosphere and build on or arrange simple sounds into a total package that can be absolutely massive. Isis’ final album, Wavering Radiant, in its ability to hit the nail on the head in terms of creating a musical soundtrack to its concept of dreams could be likened to Pink Floyd’s take on the Wizard of Oz, atleast in terms of capturing the idea. I wouldn’t dare say Isis have anything in their catalog that could hold a candle to Dark Side. However, it’s this dreamlike imagining musically that carries itself into Palms.

If you have had a chance to listen to the single, Patagonia, you’ve noticed that what we have here is Isis stripping down the metal and laying out an almost pop-like sound. It has a sense of ambience that recent Deftones records have had but Caxide, Harris, and Meyer have a better sense of how to play on a simple idea and don’t rely on as many changes as Carpenter, Vega, Delgado, and Cunningham do. What Palms does is allow the atmosphere to take center stage and almost presents a floating like state as the album progresses, which is description that seems to only make sense after you hear it. Even Chino’s vocals are there almost to serve as another instrument rather than stand-alone like most vocalists do.

I didn’t anticipate gravitating towards this album like I have. I anticipated giving it half a chance only because Chino was involved but ultimately throwing it aside because I felt the Isis portion would end ruining it for me. I should have given Caxide, Harris, and Meyer more respect than that and should have realized that they are smart enough musicians that they would have distanced themselves from their previous band. What they, along with Moreno, have delivered is arguably the chillest record that will be released all year. This is definitely one you just sit back and take in. Highly recommended for fans of both Isis and the Deftones. It’s not exactly what you’d expect but will, most likely, a bigger hit become with you than had it been.