Austin’s Xetas have been carving out a gnashed and gnarled existence on 12xU for a couple of releases yet, but The Tower arrives as their most bracing and simultaneously fun album yet. The band toes the line between its hardcore entrenchment and a crack of pop punk simmering just below their veil of noise. The tug and pull between those two forces makes the bulk of The Tower a sweaty good time any any given night. The band’s packed the LP full of songs that push at the seams of their 3-4 min boundaries swollen with a fight that’s admirable in it’s tenacity.
When they spike the aggression into the redline, they’re sincere in their desire to burn down the forces that bind them. They lash out in sandpaper howls and high burn cardio workouts of guitar thrash. But as anyone who grew up with that particular strain of punk propulsion might attest, an entire album stuck on that setting can be as exhausting as it can be cathartic. So it’s with a cocked smile that I have to appreciate Xetas want to slow things down to the anthemic bounce of a Thermals cut to bash out some fun thrash poppers on “The Burden,” “The Jaws” or closer “The Machine.” The Tower serves as a palette cleanser for the mind, shaving off a layer of filth from the week and leaving the listener ready for another ten rounds with the world in the next working week.
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