Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Philm - Fire from the Evening Sun

As many of you know, Dave Lombardo is no longer drumming for the metal juggernaut that is Slayer.  Of course, that doesn’t mean that he’s retired.  He’s currently gearing up for the first Fantomas show since 2009 alongside Mike Patton, Buzz Osborne, and Trevor Dunn, and yesterday Philm released their second album, Fire from the Evening Sun

I greatly enjoyed the first album (Harmonic) from this trio consisting of Gary Nestler (Civil Defiance) on vocals and guitar, Pancho Tomaselli (War) on bass, and the godfather of double-bass himself on drums.  However, this second effort represents a tremendous upgrade.  The charged vibe that permeated so many of the heavier efforts on their debut recording is still present, but the space and exploration that defined the stranger outings has been minimalized.  The end result is a leaner and more aggressive recording, yet enough of the avant-garde approach remains to separate it from the pack.

It’s a bit difficult to classify this group.  The strangest among us will surely find their efforts a bit restrained, while their sound will be far too innovative for the status quo.  Yet those who can respect something that is equal parts heavy and different will be entranced by Philm’s quixotic sound.  There are an abundance of dizzying sequences when the band seems to be letting off steam, layering Nestler’s furious vocals amid intricate riffs, a pounding bass line, and thunderous drumming courtesy of Lombardo.  There are also charged sequences that simmer without boiling over, and all of these powerful bits are interwoven with gentle and melodic moments that display the band’s finesse and depth.  It’s hard to find another band to compare these guys to—Filter comes to mind, but they were never this heavy or creative and they got softer and more mundane as time wore on.  That’s okay, because being unique is cool.  Being unique and heavy is even cooler.  Bonus points: being unique and heavy with Dave Lombard on drums is fucking awesome. 
 If you dig this kind of stuff and you’re unfamiliar with Philm, you need to check them out, and I highly recommend both of their albums.  Having said that, I feel the need to repeat myself: Harmonic was really cool, but Fire from the Evening Sun positively burns. 

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