Xanthochroid
Blessed He With Boils

So this is what the kids are creating for their debut albums these days, huh? So much for learning the ropes and taking several years to create an album that can be deemed their finest to date. For California’s Xanthochroid, their magnificent debut full-length Blessed He with Boils is a creation that will most likely prove extremely difficult to top as the band moves forward.

On the heels of 2011’sexcellent Incultus EP, Xanthochroid have concocted one hell of a cauldron of, well, everything. Virtually impossible to pin a genre tag onto them, Xanthochroid is obviously influenced by a cornucopia of artists. At times the mood and beauty of Moonsorrow creeps out of the speakers; then some Spiritual Black Dimensions-era Dimmu Borgir; followed by Emperor circa IX Equilibrium­; then it’s like listening to a Ridley Scott movie soundtrack; topped off by choral/piano melodies that could be found in a nearby church. If the music itself wasn’t enough to turn heads, every song on the record is dripping with a haunting, sometimes beautiful atmosphere.

What makes Blessed He with Boils so powerful is that nothing feels hokey or tacked on. When the band shifts gears from black metal-styled savagery to sweeping melodies and then back to their aural assault, the transitions are seamless and natural. Vocalist/keyboardist Sam Meador is the focal point of the band; his skills as a pianist create a perfect antithesis of the brooding, raucous metal that encircles it. Also, his vocal delivery is a combination of Ihsahn (Emperor) when he’s shrieking beneath the heavier parts and Mikael Åkerfeldt/church choir when going the clean route.

Xanthochroid created their own mythical universe with which the songs are based, complete with their own Tolkien-esque map of the fabricated world. Regardless of what ideologies the songs may be around, Blessed He with Boils is like a Hollywood blockbuster come to life in your own stereo, except that it’s actually much more entertaining.

A cascading waterfall of emotions on end, a turbulent, violent tempest on the other, and breathtaking majesty spread across the middle is what Blessed He with Boils comprises. It’s about as flawless a debut record any band could create, one that has enough depth to appease even the most closed-minded of metal brats. To say this album needs to be picked up is an understatement.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Mike Sloan
March 18th, 2013

Comments

  1. Commented by: Luke_22

    I’m sold. Sounds a little out of my comfort zone but digging the samples. Great write-up.


  2. Commented by: gabaghoul

    this was my #8 pick for 2012. came out of nowhere and floored me, although it took many listens to really learn and appreciate the songs – there’s just so much going on. agree 100% on the Ihsahn vocals, best impression I’ve ever heard.

    definitely not a scorcher of an album the way that old Emperor was, so you have to be in the mood for a dense, twistier journey – but oh man what a journey it is. perfect for long walks and headphones. expect great things from this band.


  3. Commented by: gabaghoul

    also thought this was better than releases from Carach Angren and Ne Obliviscaris last year, and I know a lot of people loved those.


  4. Commented by: Matthew Earl

    Thanks for this awesome review :)


  5. Commented by: Nick Taxidermy

    Oh shit. I am basically done with symphonic black metal, but this band has some freaking guts. awesome shit.


  6. Commented by: Dimaension X

    Yep, liking this album a lot. Great music, great production, great amalgam of modern metal styles. A bit derivative, but in a good way. This band wears their influences on their sleeves, but it’s done tastefully and with a lot of skill.


  7. Commented by: Nick Taxidermy

    my new favourite black metal band.


  8. Commented by: E. Thomas

    checked these guys out after reading Sloans interview- very good. these guys are Warseid are great young US symphonic black metal bands


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