It appears that Halls cough drops has a new spokesperson in Xerxes vocalist Calvin Philley. Okay, not really, but after listening to the 12 tracks on their debut album Our Home is a Deathbed, I would say that anyone who thrashes their voice like he does would need a lifetime supply of throat lozenges.
Formed in 2009, Xerxes may appear on the surface to be just another hardcore act, but after examining the material found on this album, it’s clear that there’s more than meets the ear. The opening track, “Wake,” serves as an intro that does not truly reveal what is next to come. Be sure to have your speakers at a reasonable level, as the second track, “Sleep,” hits hard with those thrashed vocals of Philley over the chaotic guitars and percussion.
One of the first audible surprises found on Our Home is a Deathbed comes with the third track, “Tide,” as we are confronted with a straight-up punk rock beat. Other odd elements of non-hardcore sounds come out in a few of the other songs featured on this effort. “Suburban Asphalt” has an indie rock feel to the instrumentation, all while Philley blasts his voice out in a true hardcore style. One thing I admire about Xerxes and their debut album is the fact that they are attempting to draw from other musical styles outside of the hardcore arena. Taking chances like that might piss off some puritans, but to people like myself it shows an attempt to keep things fresh and original.
(No Sleep Records, 16651 Gothard Street Unit E, Huntington Beach, CA 92647)