PHILM — the Los Angeles-based experimental post-hardcore triumvirate featuring drummer Dave Lombardo (SLAYER), guitarist/vocalist Gerry Nestler (CIVIL DEFIANCE), and bassist Pancho Tomaselli (WAR) — has inked a deal with Ipecac Recordings. The band's debut album, "Harmonic", will be released on May 15.
"When people hear about my involvement in PHILM, they automatically assume that it will compare to SLAYER's sound," explains Lombardo. "They couldn't be more different. I have scaled down my drum set to a four-piece, reminiscent of the drummers from the late '60s that influenced me. Each song is unique in itself, I like to refer to it as 'rhythmic emotion.' It's almost like taking all the heavy songs of the '60s and bringing that era to a modern plateau, then blending them with the modern trance and psychedelic sounds of today."
"We decided to record Harmonic in the intimate setting of a home, with various vintage recording equipment," says Lombardo on the band's debut album. "The music was written collectively in an improvisational manner, unlike the majority of recordings I've done before. This was very important given this is my first recording where I'm carrying the title of producer and performer. The album achieves a dense, unholy convergence of tones and discords. We also touch on haunting, desolate, ambient sounds. Our music tends to be written in a manner where we never know the outcome until we listen back to what we recorded. A harmonic journey."
While there are elements of metal detected throughout PHILM's sound, the band manages to also incorporate such other styles as jazz, ambient, hardcore punk, experimental, and funk into its unpredictable, cacophony-heavy style. An obvious reason for this multi-genre amalgamation can be directly linked to the gentlemen that play alongside Lombardo in PHILM — Tomaselli is a longtime member of funk rockers WAR, and Nestler fronts prog metallists CIVIL DEFIANCE. Add it all up, and you get the wonderful world of PHILM.
In an interview with AOL's Noisecreep, Nestler stated about PHILM's formation, "Dave and I first got together in 1997 to start an original band. We later regrouped between SLAYER's scheduled tour dates in late 2009, playing some upstairs jams at the Rainbow in Hollywood. We then decided to restart our band. Pancho had met Dave a few years back at one Dave's drum clinics and we decided to invite him in."
Regarding PHILM's sound, Nestler said, "The music of PHILM is channeled through the many different influences of drum and bass, expressionism, and underground that ranges via ancient and indigenous to street. There are many different things that Dave and I have been into that have contributed to the vision of PHILM. Pancho's highly skilled bass playing, chordal color and shape have helped expand the overall sound instrumentation and groove. Dave Lombardo's drumming goes without comparison, except that it might be said, to quote Pancho that 'it's like playing with the seven, not four, horses of the Apocalypse behind you.'"
PHILM officially took form in late 2010 with a handful of tour dates and an early four-song demo that quickly began to make the rounds of in-the-know music critics. Noisecreep said the band "has crafted a crunchy, thrashy, yet thoroughly unclassifiable sound" and the OC Weekly said of the trio: "PHILM's ability to melt down metal influences and mix them with the elements of funk, ambient jazz and punk... is potent and has left audiences wondering how so much noise could emanating from just three musicians."
"Harmonic" track listing:
05. Way Down
08. Sex Amp
10. Held in Light
PHILM's next show is scheduled for April 28 at The Ruby Room in San Diego.
Ipecac Recordings is the brainchild of Greg Werckman (former label manager for the legendary punk label Alternative Tentacles) and FAITH NO MORE singer Mike Patton, who played with Lombardo in the eclectic supergroup FANTÔMAS.
Video footage of PHILM performing on May 29, 2011 at the Roxy in West Hollywood, California can be viewed below (courtesy of Metal Assault).
For more information, visit the PHILM Facebook page.
Photo credit: Cammy Kinney