Hang on to your hena’s as Chthonic return with their strongest album to date.
The band responsible for getting us all off our arses and playing the Zheng and Pgaku flute are back, wielding their seventh studio album as they continue on a quest to spread the word of Taiwanese folklore and oppression to all that will listen.
‘Bú – Tik’, whilst continuing on a tried and tested theme, actually manages to amalgamate all the many good points of previous albums and mix them all up, resulting in probably what is the bands strongest output to date. Where as ’Takasago Army’ may have been seen as over technical in parts, this album seems a lot more accessible, having been stripped back down to basics more akin to ’Mirror Of Retribution’ period. Having said that, it’s still 100% Chthonic through and through, delivering Orient Metal as only they can.
It is well documented of course that each member of the band has numerous other ventures and side projects on the go at any given time, so it is no mean feat to keep the Chthonic flag flying. The band has become almost an international mouth piece for human rights issues both past and present, which may limit the depth of subject matter available but in no way diminishes the quality of the product.
Freddy’s vocal, as always, screams and burns the message home, whilst Dani’s drum performance is just awe inspiring, pounding and driving the whole thundering article forward at break neck speed, couple this with guitar, bass and synth and we’re onto a winner.
The album starts slowly enough with the call to arms of the instrumental ’Arising Armament’, which immediately conjures imagery of impending battles and skirmishes before launching headlong into the incredibly powerful ’Supreme Pain For the Tyrant’, a track unrelenting in its savage beauty, curtailed only by the haunting and mesmeric strains of the hena violin. ’Next Republic’, another more than worthy of individual mention, is just Melodic Death Metal at its very very best, twisting and turning as it does between riffs, hooks and melodies with expertise aplenty.
My own personal favourite though is ’Rage Of My Sword’, a song that like the storyline, takes no prisoners. Flying along at supersonic speeds, it really is an all out attack on the audio front, never dipping below the red line at any point, showcasing the bands undeniable talents to the maximum.
Although we have folk elements coming face to face with the brutality of Death and Black Metal the album manages to weave all the aforementioned seamlessly, helped by the narrative and storytelling themes that flow throughout, making it a record that you will listen to from start to finish and not just track by track.
In my opinion this is without doubt the best body of work Chthonic have produced to date, confirming if confirmation was ever needed, how good this band can be. If you’re able to catch them live at Download Festival this summer then do so, as the band are bringing the Taiwanese orchestra with them to perform for the first time outside their native country, which promises to be an unforgettable set in the making.
In the meantime make sure you grab the album when it is released on the 3rd of June via Spinefarm Records.
1. Arising Armament
2. Supreme Pain For The Tyrant
3. Sail Into The Sunset’s Fire
4. Next Republic
5. Rage Of My Sword
6. Between Silence And Death
7. Resurrection Pyre
8. Set Fire To The Island
9. Defenders Of Bu-Tik Palace
10. Undying Rearmament
Freddy Lim – Vocals, hena violin
Jesse Liu – Guitar
Doris Yeh – Bass, Backing Vocals
CJ Kao – Synth and Piano
Dani Wang – Drums