CHTHONIC
Black Metal / Death Metal • Taiwan

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ChthoniC (閃靈) are an extreme metal band from Taipei, Taiwan, founded in 1995. They've started out as a black metal act but have in more recent years shifted more towards melodic death metal.

“ChthoniC’s melodies can be characterized as extreme metal with a central inspiration and folklore coming from the black metal movement. ChthoniC uses the traditional Chinese stringed instrument, Er- hu, which can be compared to an eastern violin. The sound of the Er-hu is one of grief and sorrow, which ChthoniC accompanies with heavy drums, guitar strings blending into a harmony.

They are also known to be the first Taiwanese metal band to gain international and regional recognition and have won numerous awards. 2003, they won the Best Band Award at the Taiwan Golden Melodies Award Ceremony.
Thanks to Vehemency for the addition and m@x, Time Signature, Wilytank for the updates

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Bu-TikBu-Tik
Universal Music/Video Distribution (Music Pre Release Code) 2013
Audio CD$9.02
$13.54 (used)
Mirror of RetributionMirror of Retribution
FONTANA UNIVERSAL 2009
Audio CD$6.57
$4.14 (used)
Takasago ArmyTakasago Army
Fontana Int'l 2011
Audio CD$5.44
$7.99 (used)
A Decade On The ThroneA Decade On The Throne
Box set
Deathlight Records / SPV 2007
DVD$21.75
$7.99 (used)
9th Empyrean9th Empyrean
independent
Audio CD$33.95 (used)
Seediq BaleSeediq Bale
Down Port Music 2006
Audio CD$7.50
$4.48 (used)
Relentless RecurrenceRelentless Recurrence
Deathlight Records 2007
Audio CD$29.98
$12.59 (used)
Chthonic - Brand New Album [Japan CD] HWCY-1293Chthonic - Brand New Album [Japan CD] HWCY-1293
Indies
Audio CD$29.28
$22.00 (used)
MIRROR OF RETRIBUTIONMIRROR OF RETRIBUTION
BOUNDEE
Audio CD$29.90
$18.58 (used)
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CHTHONIC Discography

CHTHONIC albums / top albums

.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Where the Ancestors' Souls Gathered
Black Metal 1999
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
9th Empyrean
Black Metal 2000
.. Album Cover 3.00 | 1 ratings
Relentless Recurrence
Black Metal 2002
.. Album Cover 4.49 | 5 ratings
Seediq Bale
Black Metal 2005
.. Album Cover 3.98 | 7 ratings
Mirror of Retribution
Black Metal 2009
.. Album Cover 4.21 | 7 ratings
Takasago Army
Death Metal 2011
.. Album Cover 4.01 | 3 ratings
Bú-Tik
Death Metal 2013

CHTHONIC EPs & splits

CHTHONIC live albums

.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
A Decade on the Throne Live
Black Metal 2007

CHTHONIC demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

CHTHONIC boxset & compilations

.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Anthology: A Decade on the Throne
Black Metal 2006

CHTHONIC singles (2)

.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
皇軍 / TAKAO
Black Metal 2011
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
火燒.島 / Set Fire to the Island
Black Metal 2012

CHTHONIC movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Final Battle at Sing Ling Temple
Black Metal 2012

CHTHONIC Reviews

CHTHONIC Seediq Bale

Album · 2005 · Black Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
siLLy puPPy
CHTHONIC is an unusual musical entity. They are a symphonic black metal band from the far Eastern island of Taiwan. Although they've been around since 1995 and have several albums under their belt, their 4th album (which was the first to be released outside Asia) SEEDIQ BALE is my first taste of them. Upon first discovery I was perplexed as to what exactly the title meant figuring it was probably Taiwanese in the Roman alphabet. SEEDIQ is in fact the name of the aboriginal people of the island and BALE is an English word meaning pain or suffering. So in accord with the band's goal of educating the world through their music the history of their country they dedicate a whole album to the SEEDIQ people and all the conquests that left their very existence in question.

I would say that CHTHONIC sounds like the perfect fusion of Dimmu Borgir and the Japanese band Sigh with a touch of Nightwish thrown in. They also throw in a few nods to death, industrial and traditional metal as well with some of their riffing and solos. Basically they have an aggressive black metal fury complete with tremolo guitar picking, blastbeats and the buzzsaw mixing approach mixed with some nice atmospheric keyboards and the occasional female harmonizing vocalist adding layers of melody. The vocalist has that extreme metal scream that I have only heard in Asian metal bands reminding me a lot of Sigh, however I like this band much better than Sigh's straight on black metal period and this band doesn't have the over-the-top approach that Sigh took on.

One of the most unique factors of this band is how they incorporate Taiwanese music and instruments into their sound, such as the erhu, koto, shamisen, Tibetan bells, shakuhachi and pgaki flutes. Nowhere are some of these unique sounds more noticeable than on some of the intros but they are found elsewhere and clearly influence the song structures themselves making this a unique sound for a melodic black metal album. I have really gotten into this album and am anxious to continue dipping into their discography. The only drawback here is that a few songs have a samey feel otherwise this is a highly entertaining album that unlike Dimmu Borgir on many of their albums, achieves a successful balance of the symphonic and black metal aspects of the music.

CHTHONIC Bú-Tik

Album · 2013 · Death Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
arcane-beautiful
These guys have been on my radar for a very long time. Ever since “Seediq Bale” (a masterpiece of modern metal in my opinion), these guys have been slowly developing their style. Slowly dispatching the black metal style, these guys have adopted a more modern metal sound, rather than sound like an Emperor or Cradle Of Filth rip off. I did prefer their earlier stuff, but I have to admit, I really do admire that these guys are adopting their own sound and doing what they want.

Although, having said that these guys are doing what they want and are slowly progressing their own style, this is their most accessible album...oddly enough. I don't know whether this is because they are gaining popularity now throughout the world or not, but yea, this is pretty much a very easy listening experience, which is hard to say about their previous albums.

The songs on this album all have a similar feel to them. And that is anthemic. Yes, in many ways, you could say that these songs are almost intentional anthems, obviously relating to the albums overlaying concept. Like all their albums, this album is also a concept album, but with a slight twist. Instead of a full story throughout, the band have decided to make the songs more like flashbacks through history, while a man in the afterlife watches them. Topics like the Seediq massacre, Taiwanese revolutionaries and a lot of happy stuff like that.

The only real negative that I can hold against this album is one that my brother presented to me, and that would be the vocals. Now, don't get me wrong, Freddy Lim has to be one of the best vocalists in metal today. In fact, he has such a big range...and it's so big he doesn't know which range's to stay in, and would rather jump between them throughout the album. Not a big criticism, but a criticism nontheless.

The album's starter and intro (“Arising Armament” and “Undying Rearmament”) are the obvious ethnic instrumentals. Beautifully crafted and performed, they perk a brilliant atmosphere up for the album.

The album opener, “Supreme Pain For The Tyrant” is a brilliant opener. Incredibly anthemic and having interesting patriotic lyrics, it really puts you in the mood to give the middle finger to China and Japan.

The 2 best songs on the album have to be “Next Republic” & “Rage Of My Sword”. “Next Republic” blends oriental sounds and samples with the heaviest and most spellbinding of riffs. “Rage Of My Sword” is definitely the obelisk which holds the album together. One of the most brutal and ear crunching songs, a definite strong point.

In conclusion, this wouldn't be my favourite Chthonic album, but it is their strongest since “Seediq Bale.” I have to admit, “Takasago Army” and “ Mirror Of Retribution” may have way better songs and more classic moments, this album is short, sweet and brilliantly put together. The impact of the songs pack more of a punch than their earlier releases, and are more palatable on the ear.

7.7/10

CHTHONIC Takasago Army

Album · 2011 · Death Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Warthur
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).

CHTHONIC Seediq Bale

Album · 2005 · Black Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Time Signature
The gods weep...

Genre: epic black/(melo)death metal

Chthonic pretty much swept the feet away under the world with "Takasago Army" last year, but the band actually released a good handful of releases prior to the brilliant "Takasago Army". One of these is "Seediq Bale" from 2005 which was re-released on Spinefarm last year, too.

And, this one is no less spectacular than "Takasago Army". Stylistically, the music on the album is epic and symphonic black metal akin to Dimmu Borgir's more recent releases, but with a ubiquitous oriental character derived from the band's Taiwanese cultural hinterland. Thus, amidst the black metal evil and the symphonic synths, we find the er-hu and traditional (I assume) female vocal lines. And this results in an overall sound which is truly unique and compelling.

Also, while there are elements from more traditional black metal - such as blastbeats and tremlo-picking as well as growled and screamed vocals - which makes for a dark and chaotic atmosphere, Chthonic also include elements from other metal genres. For example, melodic death metal is a genre that the draw on consistently throughout the album, which suits the epic and symphonic black metal sound extremely well.

Any fan of melodic black metal with an epic atmosphere and a symphonic touch should give this album a listen. It's brilliant and one of the most original black releases you will probably ever hear.

CHTHONIC Takasago Army

Album · 2011 · Death Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
arcane-beautiful
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.

7.7/10

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