XYSMA “No Place Like Alone”
By Dr. Abner Mality
XYSMA was right there at the beginning of the Finnish death metal movement and back then they were as icky and revolting as any of them. That phase didn’t last too long...along with CONVULSE, they radically altered their sound and injected more straight rock and roll as well as other influences into their sound. But even that was 25 years ago…
Of course, no band stays retired in this day and age and after a quarter of a century, XYSMA have returned. Anyone pining for their gruesome death metal days can continue pining...there’s none of that here. However, if you like the quirky and rockier XYSMA, “No Place Like Alone” will feel like the return of a long lost friend.
This is a hard rock record with a lot of eccentric personality. Song titles like “Moose & Gutbucket”, “Rowdy Barrel” and “Well Seasoning” might just be a clue. “Well Seasoning”, “Model 670”, “Rowdy Barrel” and “Sigh For Sore Mind” are snappy rockers with roots that go all the way back to the very beginnings of rock n roll. They are loud, lewd and a little bit crazy, with bellowing vocals. They are easy to digest despite the quirks, but there are other tracks here where things get loopier and more experimental.
“Midnight Call” is almost a BILLY IDOL/early POLICE kind of tune with New Wave elements. “Mr. Fulltrade” has a kind of gloomy but catchy grind to it. Space rock and kraut rock influences pop up on the longer “Final Episode” and “Earthrise”, with lots of synth noises and spacy “swooshes”. “Moose & Gutbucket” has an almost honky tonk feel with piano rolling under the rocking guitar. Final cut “Encounter At Dawn” has a more expansive and melodic vibe without losing the hard rock core of XYSMA.
So XYSMA is really picking up right where they left off. This kind of strange and loopy rock is a good and entertaining counterpoint to a lot of the routine brutality I regularly listen to.