Showing posts with label xanthochroid. Show all posts
Showing posts with label xanthochroid. Show all posts

Monday, October 23, 2017

video review: 'of erthe and axen: acts i & ii' by xanthochroid

Have to be honest, this one took a lot out of me, but a worthwhile listen all the same.

But now something light...

album review: 'of erthe and axen: acts i & ii' by xanthochroid

So here's one of the little benefits that comes with working in genres like black metal: given that you have no real obligation to fit to a radio sound or song structures or topics, you can pretty much write about whatever you want and audiences will typically be receptive of it. Granted, there are certain themes that have been present in black metal for some time and you typically want to work in similar territory to avoid being branded a gimmick, but you have more wiggle room than your average overmanaged pop or country or hip-hop act.

And into this scene comes the American progressive black metal band Xanthochroid, who broke out around the early 2010s with an EP and a debut record in 2012, but actually ended up gaining more traction and notoriety thanks to a couple of covers they put up on YouTube of acts like Wintersun and Opeth. But if you only know them through the covers you're missing a more ambitious band, one that in the grand tradition of metal groups has constructed an ongoing story arc behind their releases that seemed at least interesting. They also seemed to have a sense of humor and they made all of their lyrics readily available so I was definitely curious to check out that debut, and... well, it was certainly ambitious, that's for damn sure. It's also - like a lot of the black metal I've covered this year - pretty far away from the conventional sound, utilizing extensive clean vocals that for me can be hit-and-miss, overdubbed male choirs, acoustic sections, organ, and even flutes. And given the focus on building more of the grand narrative of their story, I was almost certain that they'd wind up in power metal eventually... but not just yet, because five years after that debut we have a double album followup, the first disc released in mid-August and the second just this week. And again, double albums can be tricky, and while I was convinced Xanthochroid could bring enough ideas to the table, it was still likely to be pushing it. So what did we find on Of Erthe & Axen: Acts I & II?