If Dave Lombardo hasn't been busy enough with Slayer, Grip Inc. and Fantômashe, he now has another side-project, Philm to keep him even busier. The band, consisting of bassist Pancho Tomaselli from Funk Rockers, War and singer/guitarist Gerry Nestler from prog Metallers Civil Defiance, is a vision of Dave's that came into being in late 2010.
This album took me way outside of my Extreme Metal comfort zone but it's good to get out and I enjoyed it. The sound may not be face ripping but it is mind blowing. Dave has taken some of his influences for this project from the work of Fluke (English electronics band), Jojo Mayer (Swiss, jazz/drum and bass drummer) and Mitch Mitchell (guitarist).
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Gone is the massive drum kit you would usually associate with Dave in his Slayer incarnation. He has trimmed it right down to a four-piece kit, 60s style. He may have a smaller kit to work with but the drumming is just as insane, if not more so.
I could take or leave the vocals, I liked them at their extreme ends, either whispering or screaming but the mid-range clean didn't 'Float My Goat'. The guitars are pretty exciting and innovative all the way through the album, a lot of influences, jazz, blues, punk, psychedelic and trance but expressed in an interesting and different way. Definitely a 60s Power Trio feel happening here, very rhythmic and atmospheric.
Each track is unique, opening with 'Vitriolize', a pulsating opening that escalates to frantic riffs and drumming insanity. 'Mitch' has a bit of a groove to it with an old school guitar solo. 'Hun' also has a dirty groove to the guitars.
I found 'Area' very reflective and 'Way Down' made a big impression on me with its haunting opening and its laid back blues feel with a touch of psychedelic and I enjoyed the whisper like vocals also.
The album title track 'Harmonic' I found had a very haunting and reflective quality to it. There was a very blues/jazz improvised feel to both 'Exuberance' and 'Killion'. A couple of tracks brought a real smile to my face, 'Amoniac' because it had a bit of a Mission Impossible theme tune to it and 'Held In Light', just because in places it made me think of Killing Joke.
'Sex Amp' and the final track 'Meditation' both had a very strong psychedelic vibe to them.
This album is a real boundary crossing innovation, brimming with emotion, a musical journey, well worth a listen for those adventurous enough to give it a go.
All I can add is "Hail the return of the Power Trio."
'Harmonic' is out on Ipecac Recordings on 15th May.