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4.17 | 8 ratings | 3 reviews
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Album · 2011


1 The Island (2:15)
2 Legacy of the Seediq (4:21)
3 Takao (4:13)
4 Oceanquake (3:44)
5 Southern Cross (3:53)
6 KAORU (5:38)
7 Broken Jade (5:42)
8 Root Regeneration (1:24)
9 MAHAKALA (4:02)
10 Quell the Souls in Sing Ling Temple (5:18)


About this release

Released July 22, 2011, via Spinefarm Records.

Thanks to Time Signature for the addition and Wilytank for the updates


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The cover of Takasago Army displays a horrifying contradiction: a Taiwanese volunteer in the World War II-era Japanese army performing precisely the sort of traditional Taiwanese warrior ritual that the Japanese were deliberately trying to stamp out. The difficulty the Taiwanese people have in facing this part of the history and their frustrations in asserting their own identity in the face of Japanese occupation in the first half of the twentieth century and the strange "we're the real China" diplomatic dance of the second half of the twentieth century provides ample fodder for Chthonic, who here offer up an intriguing style of melodic black metal reminiscent of a substantially less bombastic and more subtle Cradle of Filth combined with elements of traditional Taiwanese music (including some downright haunting female vocals here and there).
I was really suprised when I found out these guys had a new album, cause it only seemed like yesterday Mirrors Of Retribution was out. Their was no build up or real word of mouth about the was just kind of released and we had to deal with the consequences.

Now I'm a bit of a fan of these guys ever since I first got my hands on Seediq Bale when it first came out. Now I got into these guys because I had just recently got into Black Metal, so these guys where something I could really sink my teeth into, cause 1. I love black metal and 2. I love Oriental music. Now these guys have adapted a bit of a sound change...ok the Black Metal is gone! But that's not a bad thing, in fact it's a really really really good thing.

Their last 2 albums where great well constructed albums. But whilst listening to it, it was a matter of spot the influence (Emperor and early Cradle Of Filth where a big noticable influence). Now on their last album, Mirrors Of Retribution, their was a more modern sound on the album, due to more precise production and just some modern influence. In fact it felt like the black metal sound on it was being diluted. Now on this album, their are only trace elements of Black Metal.

I believe that this album is where they have adopted their own unique sound. Theirs no stark comparisons that I find. Theirs hints of things in other bands that are reminscent, but thats it really. It's a very unique album. The black metal sound is gone, and what is replaced is a more rhythm based sound, with a stronger oriental impact. This is their heaviest album no doubt. The riffs are like punches to the face all the time...but you know...a good punch in the face :D

Musically the album focuses more on rhthym, which means that guitar and double bass pedals are a real highligh throughout. The album reflects more along the lines of melodic death metal, with some nice melodic riffs and moments. Theirs also some metalcore like moments too. Freddie's vocals are just as good as ever, but he focuses more on the growls than the screams, and it just prooves how much of a diverse vocalist he really is.

As usual, this album is also a concept album, which really is a continuation and a conclusion to the stories of the last 2 albums, in fact its more like tieing up loose ends (you really need to get the albums to understand the story). Lyrically and styllisticly (even music), its more of a minamilsit effort. The lyrics are not as poetic and are more to the point.

1. The Island - Ha, I thought this song was going to be about Lost. Nice atmopsheric oriental flute work. 6/10

2. Legacy Of The Seediq - Great way to really kick off the album. Pretty epic at times, especially when the chorus kicks in. I love the melodic feel to the song throughout. 10/10

3. Takao - One of the most oriental songs on the album (and the one with the most Taiwanese in it). Great vocals throughout and some amazing riffs. And as usual, an epic chorus. 10/10

4. Oceanquake - Great arrangmenet. Their is some nice metalcore like moments in thissong. Nice melodic parts too. 9/10

5. Southern Cross - Has thrash like moments at time. For some reason, Battle Metal comes to my mind when listening to this song. One of the best chorus on the album. 10/10

6. KAROU - The intro is reminscent to their black metal days. One of the heaviest and darkest songs on the album. Although the chanting bit at the end does seem slightly out of place. 9/10

7. Broken Jade - Some pretty killer melodic riffs throughout. Nice twists and turns too, especially the more darker moments. 8/10

8. Root Regeneration - A nice atmopsheric flute whilst some Taiwan guy speaks Taiwanese in a deep voice. 6/10

9. MAHAKALA - Pretty killer chorus, which is pretty epic too. In fact the song is pretty epic at times. Nice atmopsheric oriental tones at the end. 8/10

10. Quell The Souls In Sing Ling Temple - Great ending. Really epic and in your face. Great vocals. 9/10

CONCLUSION: I do prefer the last 2 albums to this album slightly, but I think this is the album where Chthonic really adapted a unique sound. In fact, their next album is something that I will really be looking forward too.

Time Signature

Genre: epic black/death metal

Hey, this is pretty cool - and quite versatile, in a way. The style sounds like death metal meets black metal meets power metal, and, with its symphonic layer, Chthonic's music comes across as being very epic, and there is even a sort of folk element to it, as they use traditional Taiwanese instrumentation, and there are also passages sung in the Taiwanese dialect (I think), as the chorus of "Takao" and a passage presumably sung by bassist Doris 'Thunder Tears' Yeh. In addition, there is also a modern feel to the band's music and sound which sometimes even sounds thrashy.

Now, some might think that what I am describing is an erratic and unfocused mishmash of styles. But that is not the case. It is true that Chthonic draw on a number of metal subgenres, but the album is actually very coherent and focused, as the band manage to capture all of these elements and integrate them into some very well wrought and captivating songs. Needless to say, the music, while extreme, is also quite melodic, and, perhaps the symphonic and traditional Taiwanese elements and the use of keyboards might put some purists off, I think it just works perfect in creating a unique and haunting atmosphere.

for my money "Takasago Army" is very close to being a heavy metal masterpiece. Fans of epic and symphonic metal will cheat themselves if they do not give this album a listen.

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