Ipecac Recordings: Palms + Isis


Reviews by Jason GuestIpecac Recordings - Logo

From Ipecac Recordings, two releases have found their way to Midlands Rocks for review, the first being the self-titles debut from Palms, a collaboration between members of Isis and Deftones, and the second being the re-issue of Isis’ first full-length, the much-lauded and long out-of-print Celestial. On we plough…


Palms – S/T

A collaboration between Chino Moreno (of Deftones) and three ex-members of Isis – Aaron Harris, Bryant Clifford Meyer, and Jeff Caxide – Palms have less in common with the vocalist’s other band than that of the other members. But that’s not to say that this is just Isis with a guest vocalist. Okay, so with three members of the band writing the music, there are bound to be similarities – and of course there are – but with this debut album, they have sown the seeds of a band of its own making, of its own definition, and of its own identity. However, if you want to dismiss it as the Isis-meets-Deftones band, that’s fine but you may just miss out on what this album has to offer.

The album artwork provides no better representation of the music. Subtle and subdued, sombre and sometimes seething, the ebb and flow of the album is of a calm and reflective spirit, a warm embrace more so than an unyielding grip, and ambient more than urgent. Though the structures, the dynamics, and its fibres will be familiar to any Isis fan, the compositions all have a distinct feel about them, the heavier passages complemented by many and more far-reaching atmospherics, soundscapes, and light and palpable textures. As for Moreno, it’s been the rare occasion that Deftones strayed far beyond the five-minute mark with their material and here, he’s pushed beyond his bounds and does a masterful job of colouring the already rich tracks with his moving performance, his vocals imbued with a sense of loss and longing augmenting the absorbing atmospheres. This is an album to dissolve into, to let its gentle waves slowly cascade over and consume you. With a debut such as this to introduce us to a band bigger than its constituent parts, there’d better be more to come.

Palms 20138 out of 10

Track listing:

  1. Future Warrior
  2. Patagonia
  3. Mission Sunset
  4. Shortwave Radio
  5. Tropics
  6. Antarctic Handshake


Isis – Celestial

First released in 2000, the out-of-print first full-length album by Isis, Celestial, has been re-mastered by James Plotkin and is being re-issued through Ipecac Records with new artwork by Aaron Turner. Why? Because it fucking well should be, that’s why. Isis is a band that, despite splitting in 2010, should not be allowed to disappear from the collective conscious. This album marked the point where the band was crystallised in terms of both the line-up that would see its way through to the band’s end and the foundation of their sound. Thirteen years later and the album still has the same impact it had upon its first release, if not more so thanks to Plotkin’s sterling re-mastering job.

There’s not much to say about this album that hasn’t been said before. All that’s left to say is that if you’ve not encountered Isis before, what better place to start than here? Appearing at the beginning of the twenty first century, this album marks a significant step in music, a new era perhaps, and so music fans – metal or not – need to have access to it. The central theme to this album is the erosion of privacy as technology advances. How apt then that this re-master appears at a time when technology – and social networks in particular – have all but brought on the demise of privacy to the benefit of those that wish to be our masters. Michel Foucault must be spinning in his grave…

GD30OBH5.pdf8.5 out of 10

Track listing:

  1. SGNL>01
  2. Celestial (The Tower)
  3. Glisten
  4. Swarm Regions (Down)
  5. SGNL>02
  6. Deconstructing Towers
  7. SGNL>03
  8. Collpase and Crush
  9. C.F.T. (New Circuitry and Continued Evolution)
  10. Gentle Time
  11. SGNL>04