Chuck Schuldiner Project

Thursday, December 15, 2022

XL Life - The Boogie Down South


The Boogie Down South is the latest from Wales' next great hardcore hope. XL Life are an interesting combo, a group who deal with their personal issues of substance abuse and mental health head on rather than by making coy innunedos. Their music too is deceptively straightforward. AS much as they might be a stripped back hardcore band with some admittedly rough production, there's also something here that resonates deeply. They're building on the work of bands like Turnstile to craft something hard hitting but also poppy and emotionally resonant.

XL Life charm with their working classic Welsh roots too. There is nothing pretentious about this album rather the band just lean into the elements that have come to shape them. References to 'wastemen' and touches of UK rap pad out a record that is surprisingly ambitious and which is bubbling with raw and angry energy from a band who go for the throat and force listeners to appreciate an inherent darkness that lurks beneath the polished entertainment systems and government systems that allegedly support us. This is hardcore done with a clear aesthetic and a vision for something far more internally sorrowful and unrelenting. 

The UK Hardcore scene has been bubbling for a while now, and the release of The Boogie Down South feels like the scene is finally starting to boil over and get a sound and vision that is wholly its own. There is something wonderfully human and emotionally resonant about what XL Life are doing here. It's music for people who realize that despite everything that's happened around them, their lives are going to remain hard, unforgiving and hopefully short. XL Life unveil something pained about our own lives, and that mirror to our world hits a bit too close to home.

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