Archive for Chthonic

Iza’s Highlights of 2018

Posted in Alternative, Editorial/Opinionated, Industrial, Metal, Rock with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 31st December 2018 by izaforestspirit

It’s that time of the year again! Time for my annual best of list or “highlights” as I prefer to call them. This year I have decided to do just one list rather than two separate ones for metal and non-metal. The main reason for this is that there have not been too many industrial/EBM releases that caught my attention this year. So without further ado, here are my top ten albums of 2018:

1. Powerwolf – The Sacrament of Sin
Genre: Power Metal
Powerwolf - The Sacrament of Sin

The German power metal wolves are back with a new album. And what an album it is!! I honestly cannot get enough of it. It may not be very profound as far as the themes go but it is hell of a lot of fun. Stand-out tracks are ‘Fire & Forgive’, ‘Demons Are A Girl’s Best Friend’ and ‘Nightside of Siberia’.

2. Lord of The Lost – Thornstar
Genre: Dark Rock/Gothic Industrial Metal
Image result for lord of the lost thornstar
I absolutely adore this band. They combine the best of dark rock with Gothic metal and Deathstars-like industrial metal. ‘Thornstar’ has to be their greatest and most complex album to date. In order to fully understand the concept, I would recommend that you download the 21 paged ‘Thornstar backstory’ from the band’s website. It’s a fascinating read that offers some insight into Pangaean history and culture. Alternatively you can simply enjoy music. Stand-out tracks are ‘On This Rock I Will Build My Church’, ‘Haythor’ and ‘Black Halo’.

3. Behemoth – I Loved You At Your Darkest
Genre: Blackened Death Metal

Behemoth are back with their long-awaited new album. As I mentioned in my review, this is not ‘The Satanist part 2’ but rather a mixture of both old and new Behemoth styles. It takes a few listens but once you get into it your patience will be rewarded. Stand-out tracks are ‘Wolves ov Siberia’ and ‘Bartzabel’.

4. Chthonic – Battlefields of Asura
Genre: Melodic Black Metal/Oriental Metal
閃靈 - 政治 / Battlefields of Asura
My favourite oriental metal band are back. Their latest album might not be a memorable as ‘Bú Tik’ but it has its moments. Music-wise it offers more of Chthonic’s unique blend of melodic black metal, death metal and oriental folk music with the addition of some choirs and guest vocals from the Cantopop singer Denise Ho. Stand-out tracks are ‘A Crimson Sky’s Command’ and ‘Millennia’s Faith Undone’.

5. MONO Inc. – Welcome to Hell
Genre: Gothic Rock/Dark Rock
Image result for MONO INC WELCOME TO HELL cover
More Gothic rock…’ Welcome to Hell’ is my favourite MONO Inc. album to date. Their music is essentially melodic hard rock but it also has this wonderful, eerie Gothic feel. Stand-out tracks are ‘Long Live Death’, A Vagabond’s Life’ and Reign of Rats’.

6. Grimner – Vanadrottning
Genre: Folk Metal/Viking Metal
Grimner - Vanadrottning

I had the pleasure of reviewing this album earlier this year. It’s been a long while since I’ve heard any folk metal that was this good. I would recommend this to fans of Finntroll, Ensiferum and Månegarm. Stand-out tracks are ‘Vanadrottning’ and ‘En Fallen Jätte’.

7. Monstrosity – The Passage Of Existence
Genre – Death Metal
Monstrosity - The Passage of Existence
My kind of death metal and my favourite death metal album of 2018. It is hard to pick out a stand-out track since in all honestly I like them all but ‘Kingdom of Fire’ and ‘Maelstrom’ are the ones that stuck in my head the most.

8. Hanzel und Gretyl – Satanik Germanik
Genre: Industrial Metal/Groove Metal/Extreme Metal
Hanzel und Gretyl - Satanik Germanik
‘Satanik Germanik’ is Hanzel und Gretyl’s heaviest and most metal album. As mentioned in my review it is darker and more serious than the material from the “Fukken Über’ era, much like its predecessor ‘Black Forest Metal’. Luckily that does not make it any less fun. Stand-out tracks are ‘I Am Bad Luck’ and the party song ‘Trinken Mit Der Kaizer (Die Bierz From Hell)’

9. Scandroid – The Darkness
Genre: Synthwave
Image result for scandroid the darkness
One of the few electronic releases that made it to my top 10. ‘The Darkness’ is the third album from Klayton (Celldweller/Circle of Dust)’s synthwave project Scandroid. Delightful retro synthesizer tunes, a little guitar and melodic vocals all with a futuristic feel. Stand-out tracks ‘Phoenix’ and ‘Red Planet’.

10. Auger – The Awakening
Genre: Darkwave
Image result for auger the awakening
A new discovery for me. I really enjoyed Auger’s show at Lumous Gothic Festival 2018. This British dark wave duo combine the best of darkwave and Gothic rock. I would recommend their debut album to fans of Blutengel, Gothminister and The Vision Bleak. Stand-out tracks are ‘Monster’ and ‘My Guardian’.

Honourable mentions:

Xentrifuge – Desensitized Parallels, Immortal – Northern Chaos Gods, Psyclon Nine – Icon of The Adversary. All good albums but with only a few outstanding tracks they missed out on a space in my top ten list.
IAMX’s latest album ‘Alive in The New Light’ also came out of the start of this year. While it didn’t make my top ten I did enjoy it, especially the track ‘Mile Deep Hollow’.
Check out the video here:

Best live show of 2018: Helloween live at South Park Festival in Tampere.
Biggest New Discovery: Auger
Most anticipated albums in 2019:
Blutengel – Un:Gott
Blue Stahli – Obsidian
Also hopefully new albums by Helloween and Rammstein.

Happy New Year Everyone!

Iza Raittila

Chthonic to release new ‘Ián-Bú’ DVD In February

Posted in Metal, Misc., News with tags , on 9th January 2014 by izaforestspirit

Tawainese oriental black metallers Chthonic will release a new DVD entitled ‘Ián-Bú’ via Eagle Records next month.

This will be the band’s first DVD in six years. It will include stunning live footage and extensive bonus features beginning with Chthonic’s full performance at the 2013 Formoz festival in Taipei, Taiwan, where they were joined by the Chai Feng Traditional Orchestra, as well as renowned Taiwanese opera singer Tang Mei-yun for a collaborative rendition of the track “Defenders Of Bú-Tik Palace”. It will also feature music videos of the songs from the band’s latest album ‘Bú Tik’ including ‘”Defenders Of Bú-Tik Palace” and ‘Supreme Pain For The Tyrant’.

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Here are the details and the tracklisting for the DVD:
01. Intro: Arising Armament
02. Oceanquake
03. Supreme Pain For The Tyrant
04. Next Republic
05. Takao
06. Broken Jade
07. Southern Cross
08. Sail Into The Sunset’s Fire
09. Defenders Of Bú-tik Palace
10. Outro: Undying Rearmament

Bonus Features

* Formoz Afterwords
* Chthonic Fashion

Music Videos

* “Supreme Pain For The Tyrant”
* “Sail Into Sunset’s Fire”
* “Next Republic”
* “Set Fire To The Island”
* “Defenders Of Bú-tik Palace”
* Behind-The-Scenes/Making-Of-Video
* “Supreme Pain For The Tyrant”
* “Sail Into Sunset’s Fire”
* “Defenders Of Bú-tik Palace”
* Interview w/ bassist Doris Yeh and director Vince Chuang

“Ián-Bú” will be available on DVD and Visual Digital formats via Eagle Records on February 25.

The album ‘Bú-Tik’ is out now via Spinefarm Records.

http://chthonic.org/
https://www.facebook.com/chthonictw

Iza’s Highlights of 2013

Posted in Industrial, Live, Metal, Misc. with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on 30th December 2013 by izaforestspirit

It’s been one hell of a busy year in the world of alternative music. Lots of great new releases, memorable shows and festivals. I’ve decided to write a short summary of some of the highlights of 2013. Here are some of the albums that caught my attention this year:

1. Chthonic – Bú Tik
Genre: Melodic Black Metal/ Oriental Metal

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This is easily my favourite metal album of 2013. ‘Bú Tik’ brings together the aggression of black and death metal with the melodic oriental sounds of the erhu for that unique mix that only Chthonic are renowned for. The results of this combination are both complex and beautiful in their design. Best tracks: ‘Supreme Pain For a Tyrant’, ‘Sail into The Sunset’s Fire’ and Defenders of Bú Tik Palace’.

2. Suicide Commando – When Evil Speaks
Genre: Industrial/ Aggrotech/ Harsh Electro

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I’ve been a fan of Suicide Commando for a number of years now. ‘When Evil Speaks’ is the long-awaited follow-up to ‘Implements of Hell’. Based around the overall subject of hate and evil in today’s society; the album features dark and sinister lyrical themes, old-school EBM tunes and Aggrotech dance-floor hits. Best tracks: ‘My Blasphemy’, ‘Unterwelt’ and ‘Monster’.

3. Children of Bodom – Halo of Blood
Genre: Melodic Death/Power Metal

 photo haloofblood_zps31ec4b24.jpg
I’ve been of a fan of this band since my early teens, so of course I jumped at the opportunity to review their latest album. Aside from the odd surprise such as the ballad ‘Dead Man’s Hand On You’, ‘Halo of Blood’ features the signature Bodom sound and is without a shadow of doubt their strongest release in years. Best tracks: ‘Transference’ , ‘Bodom Blue Moon’ and ‘Dead Man’s Hand On You’.

4. Psyclon Nine – [Order of the Shadow : Act I]
Genre: Aggrotech/ Industrial Metal

 photo PsyclonNine_OrderoftheShadowActI_zpse9992e54.jpg
This band is not an easy one to categorise into a specific genre. Some industrial and EBM fans dismiss their style by saying that their black metal influences are too strong to earn them a place in the industrial scene. Not that I give a damn since that’s precisely why I like them. ‘Order of The Shadow…” is their harshest and most aggressive release to date. After 10 tracks of intense, adrenaline fueled, blackened industrial, I was shocked to hear the sombre ballads at the end. Best tracks: ‘Shadows Unveiled’ , ‘Use Once and Destroy’ and ‘The Saint and The Valentine’.

5. Agathodaimon – In Darkness
Genre: Melodic Black Metal/ Symphonic Black Metal

 photo Agathodaimon-InDarknesscover_zpsd0e06cd6.jpg
This album marks a departure from the gothic metal days of its predecessor ‘Phoenix’ and a return their older, melodic black metal sound depicted in earlier releases such as ‘Chapter III’ and ‘Higher Art of Rebellion’. Whilst not quite reaching the greatness of ‘Chapter III’ (an album which holds a special place in my heart); ‘In Darkness’ is definitely a step in the right direction, offering a mixture of agression and melancholic melodies. Best tracks: ‘In Darkness (We Shall be Reborn), ‘I’ve Risen’ and ‘Favourite Sin’.

Best Live Shows of 2013

1. Sabaton live at Sauna Open Air, Tampere, Finland.

2. Children of Bodom live at Sauna Open Air, Tampere, Finland.

3. Chthonic live at Klubi, Tampere, Finland.

4. Suicide Commando live in London, the U.K.

5. Heimataerde live at KOMA festival, Oslo, Norway.

Best New Discovery of 2013: ErilaZ
 photo Erilaz_zps5dc772f4.jpg

This Finnish band caught my attention during their performance at this year’s Lumous festival in Tampere, Finland. What do they sound like? Imagine a mixture of Fear Factory, Front Line Assembly with the combined lyrical themes of Amon Amarth. Impossible, you say? Go on, I dare you to give them a try!

To finish off I’d like to list some of the releases that I’m looking forward to in 2014:

Most Anticipated Albums of 2014:

1. Behemoth – The Satanist
Genre: Blackened Death Metal
Release Date: 3rd February 2014

2. Vader – TIBI ET IGNI “For You (and only You) and Fire
Genre: Death Metal
Release Date: Spring 2014

3. Kampfar – Djevelmakt
Genre: Pagan Black Metal

Release Date: 27th January, 2014

4. Combichrist – We Love You
Genre: Industrial/ Aggrotech
Release Date: 15th March 2014

5. Nachtmahr – Feindbild
Genre: Industrial/ Aggrotech
Release Date: 14th February 2014

That’s all for now. Happy New Year!

Chthonic announced as main support to Satyricon on 36 date Euro tour

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 16th September 2013 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Symphonic orient metallers Chthonic have been announced as main support on Satyricon‘s 36-date European tour which will kick off on 7th November in Copenhagen, Denmark. The tour will see Chthonic visiting a number of European cities as well as their return to the UK since their Download appearance earlier this year. Chthonic‘s bassist Doris Yeh comments:

This is our first European tour following the release of our current album, Bu-Tik, and it’s great to be able to visit so many places. For some countries, like Sweden, Denmark, Slovakia, Slovenia, Poland, Italy and Spain, it will be the first time Chthonic has been there, so we are very excited to play for those fans we haven’t had the chance to reach in the past.

UK tour dates are as follow:

SUN 10 NOVEMBER / ACADEMY 3/ MANCHESTER
MON 11 NOVEMBER / THE LIMELIGHT / BELFAST
TUE 12  NOVEMBER / BUTTON FACTORY / DUBLIN
THU 14 NOVEMBER / O2 ACADEMY ISLINGTON / LONDON

Chthonic online:

http://www.CHTHONIC.tw
http://facebook.com/CHTHONIC
http://facebook.com/CHTHONICtw
http://youtube.com/CHTHONICtw

 

Chthonic – Bú Tik

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , on 11th July 2013 by izaforestspirit

Chthonic
Bú Tik
Released: 31st May (Europe) 3rd June 2013 (UK)
Melodic Black Metal/ Oriental Metal
Released via Spinefarm Records

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‘Bú Tik’ is the new album from the Taiwanese melodic black metal band Chthonic. It is the follow up to ‘Takasago Army’ and it is inspired by the story of the “228 Massacre” in 1947, the Bú-Tik Palace and the Mirror Of Retribution.

First up is Arising Armament, an oriental style melodic instrumental which sets the scene for some epic battle. The first full song on here, Supreme Pain For a Tyrant is very much in the black metal vein with Freddy Lim’s screams piercing their way through whilst the melodic and melancholic erhu instrument provides a sharp contrast between the harsh vocals and aggressive guitars. A powerful mix which is enhanced even more by the memorable lyrics, a quote “let me stand up like a Taiwanese!”

Sail into The Sunset’s Fire starts off with the same aggressive stance with the guitars, a barrage of death metal style bass drums and harsh vocals. Yet by the time the chorus kicks in, the song becomes more keyboard-intensive and has a slight symphonic metal feel to it. That chorus has a way of sticking in your head too… Then there’s the multi-faceted Rage of My Sword which combines the speed and aggression of the guitars with some melodic tinges creating an ideal balance between the two styles.

All the aforementioned elements come to their own in Defenders of Bú Tik Palace, a track celebrating everything that makes Chthonic unique. This song really does offer the full package: the death metal pounding of the drums, the skilfully executed guitars, abrasive vocals and of course the oriental touches represented by the sound of the erhu and melodic, clean vocals performed by guest singer Meiyun Tang.

Overall this is a beautifully crafted and exceptionally well executed album. So far it’s been my favourite metal album of this year.

4.5/5

Iza Raittila

Taiwanese metal band and activists Chthonic release illustrated book based on their songs

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 27th June 2013 by Contra Mundi

Those familiar with Chthonic will know that their songs incorporate all matters political and historical and promote them to people who otherwise may not have had a clue about the rich and diverse culture the band come from. By getting the events depicted in their songs made into fine works of art emphasises the unique outlook that Chthonic have on the world, but also provides a visual aid to what can sometimes be complex themes and fascinating pieces of history and folklore. They’ve incorporated the talents of the famous Taiwanese arts group Yamyoukan to bring the songs to life, and the result is the truly stunning book Unsealing the Bú-Tik.

Included in the 32 pages of illustrations is the headhunt from Seediq Bale(2005), the departure of the Takasago Army from the album Takasago Army (2011), the final battle at Sing Ling Temple from Takasago Army (2011) & Mirror Of Retribution (2009); all of which are brought to vivid and visceral life and will enchant any fan of their music, but also fine art enthusiasts. The book also features artwork from Chthonic’s new album Bú-Tik(2013) which is available now for purchase. Fans can purchase the book at this location.

Chthonic’s bassist Doris Yeh and singer Freddy Lim have made contributions to the book in the form of their own drawings, which will feature side by side with the other pieces.

Doris had this to say about the art book:

It has always been our dream to turn the stories behind our music into images; I feel so moved as I hold this illustrated book in my hand…

Chthonic’s drummer Dani also commented:

I’m really grateful that Yamyoukan invited us to take part in the drawing process, so that I could pick up the drawing pen again. It’s always been a passion of mine…

Chthonic appeared for the second time at Download festival this year and have played at Bloodstock in 2012 where Dan Mullins [My Dying Bride] came in as guest drummer and the whole crowd were informed by Freddy Lim of the lack of a Taiwanese team in the Olympics; who instead had to be called Chinese Taipei. The Bloodstock crowd responded in force to chanting ‘Taiwan’ to the band and showing their support for the political battle still on-going between China and Taiwan.

At Download 2013 Chthonic played with a six-piece Taiwanese orchestra which would have been an astounding spectacle to behold and would have brought energy to their material that has never been witnessed on these shores.

A full UK tour is currently being planned for autumn 2013.

Chthonic online:

http://facebook.com/CHTHONIC
http://facebook.com/CHTHONICtw
http://youtube.com/CHTHONICtw
http://www.CHTHONIC.tw

Chthonic announce 24 hour stream of Bú-Tik via Soundcloud

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , on 4th June 2013 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Taiwan’s premier metal unit, Chthonic have announced a 24-hour stream of their seventh studio album, Bú-Tik, via Soundcloud.com to celebrate its release in the UK. Listen to Bú-Tik in full here, at this location.

Recorded at Sweden’s Sweetspot Studio by producer Rickard Bengtson, who also worked on 2011’s Takasago Army, Bú-Tik sees the band returning to the scene with their signature brand of symphonic ‘oriental metal’, as they choose to define it; as usual, the musicians continue on their mission to build awareness of the myths of Taiwan and the tragic events in their country’s history.

Bú-Tik – based around the story of the 228 Massacre, the Bú-Tik Palace and the Mirror Of Retribution – highlights “righteous violence and justifiable defence”; once more, it takes the listener deep into the folklore & history of exotic Taiwan. Chthonic’s bassist and spokesperson, Doris Yeh comments:

We are very proud to present Bú-Tik to the world; it talks about self-defence, righteous violence and the armed spirits! With this album, we have pushed ourselves to achieve new heights – heights we’ve never imagined before! We are leading metal fans to the next episode of Chthonic!

Track listing is as follows:

01. Arising Armament (intro)
02. Supreme Pain For The Tyrant
03. Sail Into The Sunset’s Fire
04. Next Republic
05. Rage Of My Sword
06. Between Silence And Death
07. Resurrection Pyre
08. Set Fire To The Island
09. Defenders Of Bu-tik Palace
10. Undying Rearmament (Outro)

Bú-Tik is available in both physical and digital formats now, via Spinefarm Records.

On the front of live performances, Chthonic are confirmed to play on the Pepsi Max Stage on Saturday 15th June at the Download Festival 2013, set to take place over the weekend of June 14th – 16th at its historical stamping ground of Donington Park. Chthonic last appeared at Download in 2011, but for this follow-up show they are returning in greater numbers, the plan being to utilise the skills of the oriental orchestra to help bring their brand of symphonic oriental metal to the UK masses: Doris states:

This is the first time we’ll have played with the orchestra outside of Taiwan. We’re really hoping to present a show that people will be talking about for some time to come…

Tickets for Download 2013 are available at this location. Plans are currently being discussed for an autumn UK tour.

Chtonic online:

http://chthonic.org
http://facebook.com/chthonic