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Album Review: Xerxes - Our Home Is A Deathbed

Anyone familiar with No Sleep Records will have a good grasp of the weight-bearing names included in their family - La Dispute, Touché Amoré and Former Thieves to name a few. The label carries with it certain expectations in terms of quality and, with that in mind, recently-signed Xerxes are appropriately placed on their roster. Taking the aggressive disposition of contemporaries like Trash Talk with melodic mid-90's stylings in the vein of Saetia and Funeral Diner, Xerces harness the texture and potency of a live performance and nail it down on record - not an easy feat in its own right, but with a staggering number of bands knocking out releases that excel in this area (No Sleep and Tangled Talk being the launching pad for many of them), it is becoming increasingly difficult to stand out among them.

Swaying from meteoric fury to melodic breakdown's and fade-outs, "Our Home Is A Deathbed" exercises a similar dynamic to "Dark Mountain" by Loma Prieta or "The Lack Long After" by Pianos Become The Teeth, but with a less haunting tone that leans more towards anger than despair. The first few tracks have a take-no-prisoners approach, ripping straight into the record at an uncompromising pace but pausing for breath in all the right places. There are even moments where the layers of bright guitar tones and occasional licks are reminiscent of early Thursday ("Suburban Asphalt" and 'Tide/This Place Is A Prison"), but this sunnier energy quickly fades into the dark and desperate "Fever Dream" - a wrenching slow-burner that, alongside "Funeral Home", demonstrates Xerxes at their finest. The downtempo here s a well-timed interval, however there are times where "Our Home Is A Deathbed" lacks cohesion - the pace chopped and interspersed in a way that can feel a little disjointed. For example, the ominous tension-building instrumental "Wake" serves well as a reprieve, but feels slightly redundant as an opener once "Sleep" explodes straight after.

Still, Xerxes finish at their finest with "Free Fall" being one of the most accomplished moments of the album. With an intelligent use of rhythm and pace, "Free Fall" comfortably rolls together everything that had been previously boxed and segregated, wrapping up a memorable release from a band who have more than earned their place among some of the most creditable names in hardcore punk.


"Our Home Is A Deathbed" is released on March 13th through No Sleep Records.

Emma Garland

Alter The Press!