Kentucky-bred hardcore act XERXES find themselves in respectable company, recently chewing up venues on a North American tour with contemporaries Pianos Become the Teeth, and while Pianos soon hit the road again with the legendary Converge, XERXES set out on their debut LP, Our Home Is a Deathbed, to prove they bleed punk just the same. Overall, the Louisville group’s ideas mostly work, and the album’s strengths grow with repeated listens. Upbeat, driving passages and dynamics are merged with aggressive contemplation in crafty ways, and when the band isn’t belting out threatening harmonics and minor-key punk, they’re wrapping themselves in tight blankets of warm tones and lingering progressions; this is found most remarkably on the gorgeously smothering pair of “Suburban Asphalt” and “Fever Dream”, two of the most deceptively fragile tracks on the record.
Once primarily a tough guy's game, hardcore has since expanded its breadth in the wake of "the wave": a self-proclaimed movement of emotional hardcore bands. Drawing on the sounds of screamo forbearers such as Saetia, as well as contemporaries from the wave, Xerxes have crafted a masterful debut full-length in Our Home is a Deathbed. Though not a part of the wave, Xerxes don't need a label to make music on the same level.