Xerxes is a hardcore band from Louisville, Kentucky who have been touring quite a bit as of late. I feel they have some of the same characteristics as the new crop of bands like Touche Amore or Pianos Become The Teeth in their delivery of emotional subject matter presented in a more hardcore format. Though, Xerxes seems to land a bit more on the aggressive side, while also showing the ability to execute some compositions with epic characteristics.
The music carries a mostly melodic nature to it, however the strained scream takes the forefront here and pushes the music into that more aggressive place. This is my only gripe with the production quality; the vocals take up a good deal of the space over top of the music. The tones and fullness of the instruments is all there though, and you can get a very clear idea of what this band is going for.
I can't help but be drawn in to this band when they are creating an intense, melodic soundscape. The vocals tend to be very heavy on the lyrics, straining to fit as many words as possible into every measure, instead of holding out a scream. It's adds to the intensity when it's pulled off right. The band works their dynamics pretty flawlessly here, going from quiet, to loud, to upbeat..all in a pretty concise package. The musicianship seems to be very much locked together, likes part of a machine all working toward a common task. Whether it's slower tracks like "Funeral Home" or more upbeat spastic numbers like "February", the band seems to put it all together without any loose ends.
Listen to it here.