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Xysma - No Place Like Alone review


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Band: Xysma
Album: No Place Like Alone
Release date: March 2023

01. Well Seasoning
02. Model 670
03. Midnight Call
04. Mr. Fulltrade
05. Final Episode
06. Earthrise
07. Rowdy Barrel
08. Sigh For Sore Mind
09. Moose & Gutbucket
10. Encounter At Dawn

It pays off to stay true to yourself. Go ahead and celebrate your weirdness! Be bold. Be goofy. Be persistent. Be passionate. Be unpredictable. Be like Xysma!

The Finnish band Xysma has had, to put it mildly, a very fucking weird musical journey. First, they unleashed vicious and disgusting gore in the form of death metal demos and EPs. The Carcass worship was big at the time, but the band quickly developed their own sound with unique songwriting, monstrous vocals and other bizarre arrangements. This gained maximum momentum in 1991 when they released their debut album, Yeah, which comes highly recommended, as it is one of the oddest death metal records you will ever hear. Hungry for constant evolution, it is no surprise that Xysma went on to change their sound again and develop a very charismatic take on death ’n’ roll with their sophomore record, First & Magical.

Xysma changed sounds with mixed results in the following years, however. Deluxe provided a fun and special type of garage/alternative rock that was both groovy and psychedelic, but Lotto fell flat with a pretty bad production, cheap Queens Of The Stone Age sound, and wasted potential. Then, there is of course Girl On The Beach: their last album for the past 25(!) years, it is absolutely atrocious. Surf rock that tried to be tongue-in-cheek but was ultimately not funny at all.

In a way, Xysma is a very misunderstood band. One could compare them with Boris; both bands take huge risks, change genres constantly and do everything on their own terms. It’s an admirable trait. To see them return after a quarter of a century is pretty wild, to say the least. I expected the unexpected and got just that. The music is difficult to fully dissect, but the main components seem to be hard rock and psychedelic rock: another drastic change of style, which still captures Xysma’s quirkiness and fun attitude. The way the old sounds are used makes this album hard to pinpoint and in turn very refreshing. Xysma seem to smash together some of the best rock styles from the 70s, from AC/DC to Alice Cooper and even some Arthur Brown and The Stooges. The catchiness of the powerful riffs and playful drumming will guarantee multiple playthroughs, as it is easy to get sucked into the vibrant vibe of this album, but if I have to name one highlight, it is the keyboards. They are absolutely excellent and elevate each track to inspiring heights. They are the main element that makes the music truly psychedelic, joyful and adventurous, kind of like what Hällas have been doing these past years. The vocals are another highlight of course, being varied and most energetic, with a wide range to boot. There is even a quick nod to their death metal roots with some aggressive howls in “Moose & Gutbucket”.

I just have to love an underdog’s story. So it was a huge delight to listen to No Place Like Alone, as it is one hell of a comeback album. Put your sunglasses on and hit the road at high speed with no destination decided. You won’t know what life will bring you. But that’s ok. It worked just fine for Xysma.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 9
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 8
Production: 8

Written on 28.05.2023 by A lazy reviewer but he is so cute you'd forgive him for it.

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