At the end of every year I look for all the "best albums of the year" lists to give a listen to all the underground metal releases that I missed. That's exactly the way I found about Xanthochroid's music.
All the songs on the album are perfectly composed and arranged to fit the wide spectrum of Xanthocrhoid's music. Going from epic black metal, to folky sections and extreme progresive stuff, this is a non-stopping masterpiece.
Most of the reviews here had already described Blessed He With Boils' music accurately. A mixture of early Emperor and Opeth, a healthy dose of acoustic folk and a clear symphonic approach in the style of old Dimmu Borgir. I personally hear a lot of influence coming from Jari Maenpaa (Ensiferum, Wintersun) in the guitar composing style.
There are no fillers here. The symphonic tag is not just an excuse to throw some random keyboards to the mix as an attempt to cover the songs' weaknesses. No, the whole instrumental section is well thought to complement the story and the vocals.
I'm aware that many metalheads have a certain reticence with this sub-genre because a lot of symphonic bands tend to overuse those elements to the point of exageration without any artistic purpose within the song. You can bet this is not the case.
Another thing that I really liked about this album was the vocal work. There are a lot of clean sections mixed with powerful black metal shrieks. Watching videos on you tube I found that most of the members contributed to the vocals and the folk instrumentation (Watch their Wintersun cover, the drummer's voice is great!)
Xanthochroid’s music reminded me of many bands and of none at the same time. They've succeeded in creating an atmosphere strongly rooted on their previously cited masters, without falling into the plagiarism trap.
The production is top notch, just as the musicianship. The distorted diminished chords sound so powerfull and clear at the same time. The vocals are perfectly mixed and the drums are concrete and powerfull during the album...Maybe the bass recording gets lost intermitently on the mix, but it does not take away the final quality of Blessed He With Boils.
My absolute favourite tracks are Winter´s End, Long Live our Lifeless King and In Putris Stagnum. Check this album if you enjoy melodic/symphonic black metal with little touches of folk and progressive music. Totally recommended.