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 album...it 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.