There seems to be growing popularity amongst many contemporary hardcore bands to take influence from a lot of emo and scream bands from the 1990’s and early 2000’s. Xerxes is an example of a group that takes influence from acts like Comadre and the early works of Envy. However, they do so while maintaining the heavy crunch of many of today’s hardcore bands. There newest LP Our Home is a Deathbed is a great example of a blend of the two styles.
As I said, Xerxes take plenty of influence from the emo, scream, and hardcore bands from the 90’s and early 2000’s, but with the accessibility and melody of newer emotional hardcore bands like Touche Amore and Pianos Become the Teeth. The sound of the album is for the most part thick, heavy, dense, and melodic guitars played with punk rock speed and intensity. However, they also incorporate that hardcore crunch of many contemporary North American hardcore bands. The band makes excellent use of that loud-soft-loud dynamic which makes every track feel that much more intense and emotional. It is this emotional tone that gives the listener something to really connect to in each song; personally the song “Funeral Home” had a lot of emotional significance for me. Although, some of the songs are too short, for example the song “February” feels like it comes to an abrupt ending just when the song starts to gain some real momentum.
The vocal performance is one of my favorites on any hardcore record I’ve listened to this year. Not only does vocalist Calvin Philley have very strong vocal capabilities, but his delivery and formulation of lyrics are excellent as well. For the most part the lyrics seem to be about very popular emo topics of love, heartbreak, and self-doubt. However, this reminds me of stories I would always read and hear about of bands like The Kodan Armada crying on stage, and I personally think it’s time that bands of this generation of emotional hardcore start to reach that level of intensity.
Overall, Our Home is a Deathbed is a solid record and is something fans of this style of music should definitely pick up. You can stream the whole album for free on Xerxes’ bandcamp, or you can buy a digital copy there for $8.
03. Tide/This Place as a Prison
04. Suburban Asphalt
05. Fever Dream
06. Summer Storms/Winter Leaves
08. Our City as a Floodplain
09. Funeral Home
10. Sleepwalking With You
11. Our Home is a Deathbed
Run Time: 22:25
Release Date: March 13, 2012
Check out the album stream: “Our Home is a Deathbed”