Blessed He With Boils
01. Aquatic Deathgate Existence
02. Blessed He With Boils
03. Winter’s End
04. Long Live Our Lifeless King
05. Deus Absconditus: Part I
06. Deus Absconditus: Part II
07. The Leper’s Prospect
08. In Putris Stagnum
09. “Here I’ll Stay”
10. Rebirth Of An Old Nation
Black Metal is really awesome, but add some symphonic elements to it and it gets even better. Black metal, in essence, is known for its ability to go over the top musically and visually, and to be, in a sense, very epic. Enter Xanthochroid, a symphonic black metal band hailing from California, not the place you would expect USBM to come from. They claim to take influence from the likes of Wintersun, Emperor, Moonsorrow and Opeth and identify their sound as one that “combines many styles into a blackened cloud of legendary metal madness.” And while they may not be legendary, they are starting to show the world they are on the right path.
The band’s debut album Blessed He With Boils is chock full of great songs, and the myriad of influences is immediately apparent. The album’s title track begins super heavy and then segues into folk acoustic passages, and then it swings right back into the metal. One of the things that will definitely grab your attention is use of space. By saying space, it’s a reference to filling up the album to make it feel whole. There isn’t a spot on this record where it feels like a certain song or passage is missing that little extra “something” or that something needs to be added to make the songs that much better. The songs are not only great as a whole album, but also as stand-alone pieces. You could easily pick any song off of this record and feel satisfied with listening to it out of the rest of the record’s context.
Speaking of context, this album is also a conceptual piece. It tells the tale of two brothers, Thanos and Ereptor, and of the latter’s rise to power as his brother struggles to dethrone him. It switches perspectives from both Thanos and Ereptor throughout the songs, which is super cool, considering the story itself began with their Incultus EP from 2011. Concept albums, especially in the realm of extreme forms of metal, always turn out to be better for some reason. If you listen to the music and read the lyrics you will see how the mood of the music reflects what is going on in the lyrics at the same time, which is rad. Even within the same songs the mood changes and the music compensates by making the same changes to ultimately become a better story than it would if it was just all heavy with interludes of soft music.
There really aren’t any flaws in this record, either. It was mastered by the almighty Jens Bogren in Sweden (Katatonia, Ihsahn, Opeth) so of course the production is beautiful. The album art is fantastic and really conveys the record’s overall tone very well. However, one thing that did get bothersome after repeated listens was the fact that some parts of certain songs start to feel rehashed, sort of a “riff recycling plant”, if you will. Despite being completely new songs, they still sound oddly similar at different points, and while this isn’t a bad thing because the songs are awesome, it is a little disheartening. However, this is a small qualm and the record, for the most part, does not fall victim to this syndrome.
This is a super debut record from a very young band with a long career ahead of them. This record is an accumulation of all the things they have done through their two previously released EPs put into one disc as well as an improvement from all the things those same two EPs lacked. This is still a fairly young band, and a very talented one at that, that has a great history head of them. If they can perfect their formula and fix those small errors, then this band with surely achieve the “legendary” status they say reflects their music so much. So go pick this up from Bandcamp, and immerse yourself in an epic journey of trials, triumphs, and epic symphonic black metal.
Xanthochroid – Blessed He With Boils