Album: Our Home is a Deathbed
Label: No Sleep Records
I have a confession to make: I’m generally a No Sleep Records junkie. I love almost all the records they put out, and that’s not because of some preconceived scenester notion that “if No Sleep puts it out I have to like it,” but rather, “No Sleep is putting something out, that means it’s probably of quality.” After the announcement that No Sleep signed Louisville, KY hardcore band Xerxes I headed right on over to their bandcamp to give them a listen, and I was fairly impressed. Their demo “Twins” is a good first effort despite the rather poor production quality (but it’s a demo, so it’s expected). I’ve been waiting for this release for about two months now, and if I had known what this record was going to be like the wait would have been a lot less tolerable. Our Home is a Deathbed is a fantastic first release that will please old fans and will almost surely grab the attention of a lot of new listeners.
The tone is set right away with Our Home is a Deathbed as the intro “Wake” patiently but painfully builds into the furious rage of the song “Sleep.” Chaotic does not even begin to describe what these songs sound like at times. On my first listen I found myself trying to keep up and pay attention to the ruthless drumming, break-neck guitar playing and vicious vocals. I love how the guitars are tense when they need to be but they are also ambient in all the right places. I’m also really impressed with the diversity Xerxes puts into this record, because sometimes bands like this I find tend to have their songs blend together. This is not the case with Our Home is a Deathbed at all. The songs flow very nicely together, and while they still keep the intensity up throughout entire album, the tempo changes are very welcome to keep it interesting.
Lyrically, Our Home is a Deathbed is definitely an inward look at relationships with friends, family, and loved ones. I must admit, one of my only gripes with this album is that initially it’s a little hard to decipher what the lead singer is saying with the insanity of the all the instrumentals blaring in the background. As I’ve acclimated to this style, it’s a lot easier for me to understand what’s going on in regards lyricism, so I’m glad I kept with it and gave it more than one or two spins. Songs like “Funeral Home” initially caught my ear with a great opening that while it is initially quiet, it then erupts into a display of discontentment and rage. I have to say a personal favorite on the record is “Sleepwalking with You” due to the great lyrics that are perfectly accompanied by the musicianship behind them. “And when I wrote I hope love would save you, I meant mine,” gave me the chills the first time I heard lead singer Calvin Philley scream into the microphone. The passion he puts into every song is very admirable, and because he feels so strongly I couldn’t help but relate to almost everything he said in some regard.
It’d do a lot of hardcore bands some good to take note of what it really means to wear your heart on your sleeve, because Xerxes does a great job of doing so. This is a great debut-album that will jump start their careers as musicians, and will bring a lot of attention to their band and the great things that they do. Make sure you pick up this new record the day it comes out, because not only will you be getting what is my hardcore album to beat so far this year, but you will be way ahead of your friends when they jump on the bandwagon in a years time.
Written By Tyler Osborne
Listen to: “Sleepwalking with You,” “Funeral Home,” “Tide,” “Fever Dream”