PHILM: Harmonic | New Music Review

As far as supergroup side projects are concerned, PHILM is a strange beast, and their debut album, Harmonic, follows its creators’ suit like a bipolar demon-child on acid. PHILM, consisting of Gerry Nestler (vocals/guitar, Civil Defiance), Dave Lombardo (drums, Slayer), and Pancho Tomaselli (bass, War) has a rawness to its sound that plays well with each musician’s individual style. From Nestler’s prog meanderings to Lombardo’s heavy kick to Tomaselli’s weighty lines, the lack of studio sugarcoating throughout Harmonic lets us in on both the subtlety and the crunch of PHILM’s delivery. Nothing’s hidden; not the flaws, not the fury. In fact, one gets the idea that the band’s live show probably sounds quite a bit like their album recordings, a heady task for any industrial-jam-proto-psychedelic-punk band.

For those looking to get into PHILM, let’s be clear that Harmonic is a truly exhausting listen. The album’s constant shifting from the near-death metal of unrelenting tracks like “Area” to the empty-space progressive jams that encompass “Way Down” and similar songs promises to take a serious toll on the casual listener, leaving only the dedicated to reap the album’s benefits. It’s an abusive relationship, to be sure, but some of the peaks on this record make it all worth the battering in the end.

PHILM’s debut album, Harmonic, was released on May 14, 2012 and is available now.

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