XANTHOCHROID — Blessed He with Boils (review)

XANTHOCHROID — Blessed He with Boils album cover Album · 2012 · Black Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4.5/5 ·
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Blessed He With Boils is the debut full-length album by US black metal act Xanthochroid. The album was released in 2012. The band has a couple of prior releases including the 2011 EP Incultus. Blessed He With Boils is a concept album dealing with a fantastical universe created by lead vocalist and keyboardist Sam Meador. It is the “story of a long power struggle between Thanos and Ereptor, two brothers who are heir to a deceased king fighting over the rightful kingship of the land of Septentria.” The album features a guest vocal slot for Rhiis D. Lopez of Ana Kefr.

These days when the term black metal is mentioned you can never truly know what it is you’re going to get. Metal in itself is diverse, but really few of our many sub-genres get as diverse as black metal has. There doesn’t seem be much that can’t be done with it. Xanthochroid firmly belong to the most progressive side of the black metal genre, with mountains of creativity on offer across Blessed He With Boils, and forays into the well known symphonic and atmospheric variants of the genre are easily heard. The vocals also vary a lot, with choirs and clean vocals heard alongside black metal growling, much of which reminds me a lot of former Emperor frontman Ihsahn’s particular style. The music can range from the furiously energetic to the decidedly melancholic. Just check out the entirely non-metal track Winter's End for a prime example of the latter, as Xanthochroid put aside their electric guitars in favour of acoustics. There’s also plenty of flute to be heard. Blessed He With Boils is definitely one of those albums that will deliver surprise after surprise and it captures my attention almost right from the word go after building up the suspense with the introductory track Aquatic Deathgate Existence comes to a close and allows the title track to introduce what Xanthochroid is all about.

The best thing however is that although in a sense the album is a little all over the place with its influences it generally does remain focussed throughout and the sometimes lengthy forays into non-metal territory don’t harm the record at all. No matter what Xanthochroid is doing they get the album to work. I can think of more than a couple of big name acts out of the black metal genre who haven’t ever pulled off a record this ambitious. Many of them only want to stick to the original 1990’s formula laid out by the early acts like Mayhem and Darkthrone, but its acts like Xanthochroid who dare to test the boundaries of that unholy mould that are ultimately the most rewarding, and Blessed He With Boils is easily one of the premium black metal releases of 2012. As a vague reference point it’s kind of like Emperor, only about a thousand times more progressive, and I dare say infinitely more epic. An exceptional grade rating is deserved.

94/100

(Originally written for Heavy Metal Haven (http://metaltube.freeforums.org/xanthochroid-blessed-he-with-boils-t2760.html))
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100423 wrote:
more than 2 years ago
Thanks for the review of this. I checked it out on youtube and definitely will buy this. I really dig the epicness.

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