The Xavier Xerxes debut album was recorded in 1995 and released in 1996. It contains 14 tracks of fun and wacky hard rock/heavy metal music with frenetic guitar work, clean clear vocals, and the and lyrics are often based on puns, oxymorons, nonsense, and physics.
At the time this was recorded, the popular music was a little depressing so Xavier Xerxes wanted to produce music that could be considered lighter in emotional impact, but would engage the listener more on an intellectual level.
The influence of Frank Zappa is apparent in this album as well as topics related to the physics, mathematics, engineering, and computer technology that Xavier Xerxes was studying at the time.
The music has some odd time signatures and alternate tunings were used on the guitar and bass resulting in some interesting and complex compositions. The guitar influences of Eddie Van Halen, Steve Vai, and Joe Satriani are pretty clear with Xavier Xerxes quirky, frenetic guitar style filling the space with advanced guitar licks.
Tracks from the Xavier Xerxes debut album
(Click on song for lyrics and music):
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Xavier Xerxes CD cover art:
Xavier Xerxes indie, 1996
This bugger is an ambitious 14-track one-man project by guitarist/bassist Xavier Xerxes. The Web site (http://www.xavier-xerxes.com) boldly declares the CD full of “awesome heavy metal guitar work, solid rhythms, clever bass lines, (and) clear clean vocals”. Turns out, all of this is true. But, to me the album comes off more like a guitarist’s resume or a collection of demos than an actual album of songs. Pretty much every track is packed to the gills with frenetic, Vinnie Vincent-style lead guitar, barely audible bass, and a thin voice singing goofy lyrics. The Web site says the lyrics are based on “puns, oxymorons, nonsense, and physics…”; I’d say nonsense is the most prevalent: “We got Neptune tapioca dwarves attacking atomic cereal bowls” is from “Huh?” and “Why isn’t this guy plaid? / Are we here yet?” from “Why Can’t I Ask Questions?”. While the lyrics and vocals are obviously secondary to the music, and they are intended to be goofy, they can be distracting. (But the funniest song is “Genocide Hotline”, where callers to a crisis hotline get hung up on because their problems aren’t genocidal.) Musically, there are instrumentals with some real promise. “Xerx Me” has a certain Queensryche-ian eerieness and would make for excellent credit music in a horror film; “Fear Itself” has that cool deep guitar tone last heard on Metallica’s MASTER OF PUPPETS and sounds a bit like a demented version of the Van Halen instrumental “1984”; and “KRAZ” mixes nifty distortion akin to Accept’s “Neon Nights” from RESTLESS AND WILD with a driving beat similar to Nine Inch Nail’s “Head Like A Hole”. In short, some heavy metal band looking for a lead guitarist should give ol’ Xavier a call. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for more.
Listen to this album on YouTube: