If you're expecting Slayer, forget it. Drawing on jazz, post-punk, garage rock, new wave, and more for their sound, Philm are about as far from Slayer as soup to nuts. Lombardo has stripped his kit down to a 4-piece (don’t worry though, the gong stays) and is joined by Gerry Nestler (a long-time member of funk rockers, War) on vocals and guitar and Pancho Tomaselli (frontman of prog metal band Civil Defiance) on bass. Lombardo lays down the beat and floods the tracks with his customarily unpredictable fills, Tomaselli’s fuzz-driven bass lines flesh out the undergrowth with rhythmic groove, angry riffs and choleric chords, and Nestler’s guitar runs the gamut of guitar tricks from cacophonous chords to atmospheric harmonics and gnarly noise. And Nestler’s vocals shift from the sung to the shouted to the screamed and everywhere in between. From the chaotic punk of opener ‘Vitriolize’, through the psychedelic space jazz of the title track, the Hendrix-like guitar/feedback of 'Exuberance' and ‘Way Down’, Philm’s palette is diverse. The filtered jazz funk of 'Killion', the improv blues of 'Mezzanine', the bass-heavy dirt of 'Mild' and the post punk of 'Meditation' attest to that. Having been recorded live, ‘Harmonic’ has a raw, organic feel to it. The production harnesses and exploits the structured improvisation, giving them a more immediate and intimate edge, as if witnessing the band jamming out ideas and spontaneously composing as they play. The tracks feel loose enough to allow the band to interact and produce something that is simultaneously organic and deliberate.
‘Harmonic’ is akin to a cubist self-portrait, Philm’s identity being perpetually dismantled and reconstructed to represent another interpretation of the band. With such wide variety in their musical approach, this may be too schizophrenic for some, but the spazz jazz and chaotic constructions that make up Philm’s debut are a bunch of jarring, disjointed and dissonant slices of inspired musicianship. An eclectic affair, ‘Harmonic’ is just remarkable.
Review by Jason Guest
14th May 2012
1) Vitriolize; 2) Mitch; 3) Hun; 4) Area; 5) Way Down; 6) Harmonic; 7) Exuberance; 8) Sex Amp; 9) Amoniac; 10) Held in Light; 11) Dome; 12) Killion; 13) Mezzanine; 14) Mild; 15) Meditation
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
"...the spazz jazz and chaotic constructions that make up Philm’s debut are a bunch of jarring, disjointed and dissonant slices of inspired musicianship. An eclectic affair, ‘Harmonic’ is just remarkable."