Album Review: Xanthochroid – Of Erthe and Axen: Act I (Erthe and Axen Records)

Cinematic black metal band, Xanthochroid will release their double album, Of Erthe and Axen throughout 2017. Act I is out on August 22nd via Erthe and Axen Records with Act II due on October 17th.

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You may wonder just what ‘cinematic black metal’ is…think bombastic symphonic elements & a sense of grandness wrapped up in melody & crushing blackened metal moments. Admittedly those moments are few & far between but Xanthochroid have said that this album is one of half of the journey. A softer, introspective offering with the harder, more extreme stuff coming in Act II.

Open the Gates O Forest Keeper & To Lost and Ancient Gardens certainly showcases the melodic style that Xanthochroid are boasting. A grandiose symphonic entry before the folksy sounds take over. The highlight of these being the fantastic male/female vocal performance.

Of Erthe and Axe: Act I really captures the sound of an ancient & other-worldly land. You can picture rolling hills, steep mountains covered in fog, huge sprawling forests…it’s very impressive stuff.

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Those worrying about the lack of metal can relax when the thumping beat & blackened riffs of To Higher Climes Where Few Might Stand starts. That’s not to say Xanthochroid abandon what they have been doing so far, absolutely not. Instead the two styles mesh together to create an uplifting & blood pumping epic. An absolute treat of a song that can be called one of the most imaginative songs heard this year!

While listening to this album the word ‘epic’ will constantly come to mind & for good reasons. Of Erthe and Axe: Act I is the embodiment of it musically. Every time you think Xanthochroid can’t top themselves they end up doing it with ease.

To Souls Distant Dreaming, The Sound of Hunger Rises & The Sound of a Glinting Blade exemplify exactly what you imagine cinematic black metal would sound like. The softer melodies are enhanced by the heavy moments making both sound larger then life. An album that requires several listens to really get to grips with everything that Xanthochroid are throwing at you.

An incredible experience that leaves you chomping for more. If Act I is anything to go by, Act II is going to be a contender for album of the year.

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Xanthochroid – Of Erthe and Axe: Act I Full Track Listing:

1. Open the Gates O Forest Keeper
2. To Lost and Anicent Gardens
3. To Higher Climes Where Few Might Stand
4. To Souls Distant Dreaming
5. In Deep and Wooded Forests of my Youth
6. The Sound of Hunger Rises
7. The Sound of a Glinting Blade
8. The Sound Which has no Name

You can order the album via Xanthochroid’s online store here & via Bandcamp here. You can find our more about the band via their website, Facebook, MySpace & YouTube.

Xanthochroid - Of Erthe and Axen: Act I (Erthe and Axen Records)
  • The Final Score - 9.5/10
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