NPR logo Viking's Choice: Xerxes, 'Collision Blonde'

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Viking's Choice: Xerxes, 'Collision Blonde'

Xerxes. Mary Burks/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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Mary Burks/Courtesy of the artist

Xerxes.

Mary Burks/Courtesy of the artist

Slowly but surely, The Cure has permeated heavy music. From Krallice to Thou to Deftones, Disintegration's boomy production and pulsating gloom, in particular, inspires a different kind of heft. The Louisville post-hardcore band Xerxes always had some caustic melody to it, but its new album Collision Blonde explodes the palette. Listen to its slow-burning title track:

It's not just the heartbeat-mimicking bass line, or that any shred of a power chord has been replaced by open space and ringing guitars. "Collision Blonde" also has that slow-motion cliff-dive atmosphere The Cure perfected. It sounds as if vocalist Calvin Philley isn't too far from that head space. He writes:

I always saw the moments that kind of changed the entire course of my life and my perception of life and love as collisions. Love at first sight is as violent as a head-on car wreck, and the not-so-steady descent out of love is even worse. Love, to me, became this bright explosion of blonde hair and soft skin and blue eyes. As painful as it was comforting, it was that very first collision that kind of changed everything. But once the pain outweighed the pleasure, there was no real going back to it. And that was tough to come to terms with. Once things like that leave your life, it's better to lock the longing away and not even ask for it to come back. So it remains, I won't remember; you won't come back.

Collision Blonde comes out Oct. 21 on No Sleep Records.