Review Summary: Somber and very depressing black metal that can move an emotional teaspoon like myself.
Once in awhile you will come across a metal band that manages to step out of the norm and kick up a storm of their own. Many bands have the talent but lack the motivation to carve a unique sound of their own. Hard work and dedication are required to make great music and that is what this band does. Every genre of music is littered with dozens of copy cat bands and even fewer original bands. However, Chthonic is not one of those bands that will be forgotten in a years time. Chthonic is an extreme metal band hailing out of the unlikely birth place of Taiwan. Many of you might know this band after all the positive attention being given towards their way from Ozzfest. They have been playing for many years but just recently as they undertook their first American tour is where they began to rattle ear drums. Are they really worthy of all they hype that they are given or are they over praised because they’re the first metal band from Taiwan? In truth, Chthonic possess all the tools necessary to make a name in the metal scene. They have the talent, the song writing skills, and the originality needed to stand out from the rest of the pack. Their sound is a mixture of Taiwanese Folk, Symphonic Black Metal and Melodic Death Metal.
Chthonic refers to the Greek meaning of spirits "the underworld". They wear corpse paint not as a diversion to mimic the Norwegian scene, but reflecting from their native culture. Based around The 8 General‘s tale, Chthonic draw their influences straight from the past with a modern take on lyrics, and what lies beneath is a band with a sound so unique it could only be produced elsewhere from the typical frost ridden countries of Europe. Fans of Ensiferum, Dimmu Borgir, and Emperor should give this a try as Chthonic integrates the best of those bands in their music without plagiarism. Although their sound relies heavily on symphonic elements, Chthonic add their own special spices to the mix, stirring enough inspiration to create something new. Right away you can tell they’re foreign because it's sounds like nothing you heard before.
What this band succeeds on, is welding their Taiwanese influences and various native instruments into the basic Black metal exoskeleton, just adding enough to have an organic sound. Picture the raw power of Emperor, complete with speedy drumming, fast black metal style riffing, and excellent usage of the Keyboards, merging with folk music, and you can get a slight glimpse at what they play Chthonic play a very melodic form of black metal, yet still very extreme. The merging of the black metal riffing and drumming, synthesizers, and humming from their bassist during the somber parts add crushing speed and melody to the music. They also employ the Er-Hu giving their music a unique sound like no others. That is a two stringed violin native to Asia and adds a very oriental feel to the mix. The riffs are standard black metal fare, extremely fast riffs, and jaw dropping solos added later in the songs, that feel more effective and emotional than most bands are capable of. Dani does his job playing the drums, keeping everything fast in check as the band continues to rage. Freddy varies through high pitch shrieks and low grunts throughout. The hena adds another dimension giving a powerful feel when the tempo shifts. Now most black metal bassists are usually unnecessary and Doris is no different, although she makes up for it with her melodic chant like vocals. During some of the verses she continuously hums throughout the song adding another layer of sadness to the somber music being played. You just cant help but get up and hum along as the brutality unfolds. Cj plays the synthesizer and piano in the band. He combines his instruments with the Er-Hu to give the music a very melodic feel although still black metal. All these instruments and their songwriting fit perfectly sweeping me with so much sadness and despair I just crumble. The lyrics are based around the Seediq Bale. A native tribe of ancient Taiwan, the story goes on as they refuse to submit as Japanese power continues to oppress the lands.
Chthonic has impressed me deeply and have impacted me positively that the new wave of black metal is not hopeless after all. Summing this cd up, Id say they combine the beauty of sad and somber melodies perfectly with the rage and ugliness of black metal all mixed together with a foreign aspect to it, creating an inspirational records. Already notice is being taken to Chthonic. After playing Ozzfest this year, they have opened many minds into something different than what’s on the local radio. Chthonic are ready to conquer America at full blast for bigger and better things. Chthonic is a band metal fans all over can appreciate if given the chance.
Very melodic and Unique
Excellent song writing skills
All the instruments seems to blend in perfectly, merging with the vocals.
Cons: Vocals might turn some off.
Highlights: Quasi Putrefaction and Bloody Gaya Fufilled