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XANTHOCHROID

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal • United States


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Xanthochroid biography
Founded in 2005, XANTHOCHROID is a Lake Forest, California based progressive symphonic black metal act with a focus on epic melodies and conceptual lyrical themes. With a diverse range of influences including IHSAHN, BORKNAGAR, OPETH and MOONSORROW, this band incorporates elements of the aforementioned acts into their own palette of melodic extreme metal with grandiose majestic passages with technical flair segueing into soothing ambiance and acoustic moments. They also utilize a wide range of vocal deliveries, including harsh rasps, growls and soaring clean vocals reminiscent of VINTERSORG.

After releasing a demo in 2010, their first EP, ''Incultus'' saw the light of day in 2011. On December 21st, 2012 they released their first full length album, ''Blessed He With Boils'', further developing their complex themes both musically and lyrically, and recruiting the strong engineering skills of Jens BOGREN. The current lineup includes Sam MEADOR on keyboards, acoustic guitars and vocals, Matthew EARL on drums, percussion and flute, Bryan HUIZENGA on bass, Brent VALLEFUOCO on guitars and David BODENHOEFER also on guitars.

Biography by Prog Sothoth

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XANTHOCHROID discography


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XANTHOCHROID top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.17 | 12 ratings
Blessed He with Boils
2012
4.04 | 8 ratings
Of Erthe and Axen Act I
2017
4.00 | 8 ratings
Of Erthe and Axen Act II
2017

XANTHOCHROID Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

XANTHOCHROID Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

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XANTHOCHROID Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

5.00 | 1 ratings
Incultus
2011

XANTHOCHROID Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Blessed He with Boils by XANTHOCHROID album cover Studio Album, 2012
4.17 | 12 ratings

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Blessed He with Boils
Xanthochroid Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

4 stars XANTHROCHROID was formed in 2005 in the Orange County, CA city of Lake Forest by Sam Meador (keyboards, acoustic guitar, piano, mandolin, melodeon, autoharp, bass, accordion, Irish flute, orchestrations, vocals), Matthew Earl (drums, percussion, flute, Irish whistle, recorder, mandolin, keyboards, orchestration), Bryan Huizenga (bass), Brent Vallefuoco (guitar) and David Bodenhoefer (guitar) and like many contemporary progressive metal acts has blurred the line between exactly what constitutes a metal act and what does not. First of all if you are wondering what the band name means, it is an anthropological term that refers to a person having fair hair and a pale complexion but beyond this dictionary meaning i have no idea how it relates to this project.

This band is the perfect example of how modern labeling systems fail to keep up with the innovative hybridization of musical genres. Is this black metal? Is this Celtic folk? Progressive rock? Well, all of the above actually. Sometimes simultaneously and sometimes each genre exists in a vacuum. Needless to say that the metal tag is only a partial descriptor as is any other for that matter. There really needs to be a label of eclectic metal or eclectic folk / metal / rock or some other tag to convey that no particular genre dominates however for some reason metal's mighty bombastic heft seems to dominate in that regard but whatever. Let's just call this highly innovative music that samples from many other bands and weaves all the influences into a tapestry of innovation that ultimately gets titled BLESSED HE WITH BOILS which is the debut album by XANTHROCHROID.

This is epic cinematic material going on on BLESSED HE WITH BOILS. The opening track 'Aquatic Deathgate Existence' sounds like some sort of Pagan ritual acoustic Celtic instrumentation with an atmospheric etherial spectral presence and haunting choral vocals. The track sounds more like a darkwave modern classical piece that Dead Can Dance would release but beginning with the title track XANTHROCHROID jumps into extreme metal territory but this isn't ordinary metal by any means. The sounds straddle somewhere between the symphonic black metal of Emperor or Ihsahn but with a progressive time signature frenzy that is more like a sped up version of Opeth but to my ears sounds more like the jittery freneticism of Deathspell Omega at least as far as the unorthodox avant-garde chord progressions are concerned. The alternating growly / raspy / clean vocal style also sounds a lot like Enslaved's more progressive works. Add a few liturgical chants and you got an eclectic mix here.

As well as the angularity of the black metal works the band totally drifts off into progressive folk on tracks like 'Winter's End' which eschew any metal leanings whatsoever and truly finds this band crossing boundaries without any hesitation and therefore the only connecting thread of continuity of BLESSED HE WITH BOILS is the focus on the melodic developments which are consistent from beginning to end albeit with oddball progressive time signatures but not so avant-garde that you can't follow them upon a single listen. There was a lot of effort placed into this album to keep the musical flow diverse and ever changing which are the characteristics that interest me the most in music and is a result of the various band members contributing different levels of experience to the musical whole which adds a democratic sort of vibe to the album's run without it feeling disjointed or farfetched. The musicianship is quite competent with special kudos to the percussive drive of Matthew Earl but all the musicians step up when called.

BLESSED HE WITH BOILS offers an entire spectrum of progressive rock / metal / folk leanings with extraordinarily bombastic metal in contrast with the lush purity of folk and everything in between. Certain passages are easily digestible and fall well outside of the parameter of progressive anything but then there are moments such as on 'Long Live Our Lifeless King' where the Ihsahn progressive metal madness kicks in and avant-garde jittery time signature deviations pummel the senses yet carry a melodic underpinning that is impossible to fall under its spell. While XANTHROCHROID does tend to borrow more than create on BLESSED HE WITH BOILS, i cannot deny that this isn't a very interesting album that has an impeccable flow from beginning to end. Derivative in many ways for sure but exceptionally enjoyable nonetheless.

 Of Erthe and Axen Act II by XANTHOCHROID album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.00 | 8 ratings

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Of Erthe and Axen Act II
Xanthochroid Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This is the second half of Xanthochroid's two-part concept album, the two between them detailing the origin myth of their homebrewed Dungeons & Dragons world (I think). As previously, we're in a blackened progressive metal territory here, with folk touches and an overall concept which seems to combine the storyteller's theatricality of the Decemberists with the fantasy worldbuilding of Immortal. To my ears, it sounds like it has a bit more fire and fury than its predecessor, in keeping with being the exciting climax of the story. On the whole, the two-album set was an ambitious project to undertake, but it has at least paid off in terms of prompting a maturing and development in Xanthochroid's sound.
 Of Erthe and Axen Act I by XANTHOCHROID album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.04 | 8 ratings

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Of Erthe and Axen Act I
Xanthochroid Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This first part of a two-part concept album finds Xanthochroid slipping from the progressive black metal of their debut album to a sort of "blackened progressive metal" sound, with extensive symphonic and folk touches and even more emphasis given to storytelling than the debut. As with Immortal, Xanthochroid's music is focused on exploring the band's made-up fantasy world, but Immortal have never gone as full Decemberists as Xanthrochroid do when it comes to the theatricality of their composition. It might not be absolutely groundbreaking, but it's a more than pleasant prog metal-with-teeth piece which makes me want to listen to the second album to hear the rest of the story.
 Blessed He with Boils by XANTHOCHROID album cover Studio Album, 2012
4.17 | 12 ratings

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Blessed He with Boils
Xanthochroid Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Xanthochroid take the Immortal route as far as their lyrical concept goes, focusing on epic struggles in fantasy kingdoms, but musically they're as far from traditional black metal as you're likely to get. With multiple genre twists and turns - a bit of acoustic strumming here - a brash progressive metal section in the tradition of Enslaved there - they're certainly able to competently present a diverse range of sounds, though I'm not sure the various sections really hang together convincingly. The album's meandering is reminiscent of the band trying out a bunch of sounds to see how they feel rather than anything more interestingly assembled and directed.
 Blessed He with Boils by XANTHOCHROID album cover Studio Album, 2012
4.17 | 12 ratings

BUY
Blessed He with Boils
Xanthochroid Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Pieromcdo

5 stars What an amazing album probably the best in extreme prog I hear so far this is a requiem a la Opeth with more of a classical side with chord and many different instruments it is just perfect from the smooth soft side to they extreme side Ps there is some growth voice her and there is the rage and the beauty all mix in a perfect matter I got the chance to her a bit off that on bandcamp and it was instant love got both of there album JUST a BIG wow if your a fan of Opeth and you have and open mind for classic music this is a must Just wow wow wow
Thanks to aapatsos for the artist addition.

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