WORDS: Sean Hubbard
Xile are a five man hardcore wrecking crew from New Zealand who are about to release their debut full-length record I Am Your God, after the well-received Grafton EP; which heavily built up their domestic profile, alongside extensive touring. This debut LP was recorded at Sledgehammer Studio in Brisbane under the watchful eye of Thy Art Is Murder’s Sean Delander, and it is also the first full length album to be recorded in Delander and Dan Fields’ studio, so nerves on both sides of the production screen would have been understandably high.
Pronounced ‘exile’ (a question that the band are well used to), because as singer Luke Manson explains; “in Australia they say ‘eggzile’ and in Asia they say ‘chile,’” the band began building a reputation with their almost endless amount of touring after their previous EP. They went “through Australia many times, a China tour and three South East Asian tours,” all of which built anticipation for a longer release, which began “at the start of 2019 when we headed to Sledgehammer Studio in Brisbane to get started on the I Am Your God LP.”
“When we were younger we were always stoked when this harder-style of band would come up.”
Xile describe their genre as ‘Kiwi Hardstyle,’ a unique term that Manson describes as “Hardstyle is a term back home when there is a hardcore band with metal riffs and a hip hop style vocal flow.” The band’s background is “coming from a metal and nu-metal gateway into the hardcore scene. When we were younger we were always stoked when this harder-style of band would come up. We blended this with the Euro-style and you have Xile’s version of Kiwi Hardstyle.”
As well as this hardstyle there are also a lot of varied influences in Xile’s sound, with Manson saying that “Slayer has always been my vocal flow go to, the relentless style of the God Hates Us All album is at the top of the list. Slayer’s drumming has always wanted me to push the limits of our drumming.” As well as the thrash titans’ “a lot of groove in the guitars has probably been from Cannibal Corpse and Dying Fetus.” One interesting take on inspiration was that “the ignorance in the Euro and American Beatdown scene can often stimulate some interesting ideas, particularly the off-timing and craziness of it all.” Manson also gave credit to their label, saying “the entire BDHW catalogue showcases the best of the underground sound in this genre.”
“There are so many personalities or ‘Gods’ who determine the rules of living the ‘right’ way.”
With only an EP under their belt before I Am Your God the entire process was different, with the biggest change being content: “having to write ten songs that are all unique. Ten songs that you are genuinely happy with, that you’d fight over to keep on a set-list.” The process was not all smooth-sailing however, as “we came to the studio with thirteen songs and scrapped four, but we needed ten.” Luckily Manson was able to salvage the final track, as “I had a vocal line in my head I had written waiting in a taxi in Malaysia. So I went out in to the carpark with that one vocal line playing some air guitar and came back with the base of ‘Diamond Eyes.’”
With a striking title like I Am Your God this record is always going to interest people, and Manson implied that it was supposed to be vague, but also revealed that in society “there are so many personalities or ‘Gods’ who determine the rules of living the ‘right’ way.” Xile are clearly a band who make their own rules, and with an album as this brutal expect Kiwi Hardstyle coming the UK’s way soon.