Chthonic – Takasago Army (2011)


The Taiwanese Melodic/Symphonic Black Metaliers of Chthonic have been around for over 15 years and with every new album they have been improving their music by huge leaps. “Takasago Army” marks the band’s latest release and it’s probably their strongest one to date. Having released their last two albums on Spinefarm records, the band has been taking advantage of better production values to deliver their crushing music to the masses.

While there are heaps of Symphonic Black Metal bands, there are only very few that can rock out the Erhu (traditional two-stringed instrument, similar to a violin) and deliver punishing tunes with it. The similarities to bands like Cradle of Filth (vocals and symphonic elements) are evident, but this extra traditional element adds that extra originality that bands need these days to be distinguished from the rest.

Not only do we have a different instrument, but also the band’s lyrical context is very interesting and unique string all kinds of different opinions between fans and journalists from different countries. The band’s musical foundations are very well rooted in Metal and this release never sounds weak. Since the first track, Chthonic delivers punishing riffs with hellish (and some heavenly) vocals fitting perfectly into the mix.

After the mystical opener “The Island”, “Legacy of the Seediq” quickly explodes into massive drumming with powerful riffs and excellent symphonic elements. Immediately you can tell that the band is not over-pretentious with their use of synths and does not sound like a Star Wars soundtrack (like Dimmu Borgir). The vocals range from shrieks (a la Danni Filth) to powerful growls, sometimes the singer, “Left Face of Maradou”, sounds a lot like Stefan of Graveworm (and this is great).

The brilliant “Takao” quickly sneaks up to the listener and from here on, the album just keeps getting better and better. A passage in the middle of this song reminds us to Turisas or something that epic, but with a twist of oriental influences. The band keeps delivering powerful tracks with “Ocenaquake”, “Southern Cross” (one of our favorites), and “Kaoru”. Things get a bit melodic and equally monumental with the best track of the release “Broken Jade”. This song in fact is one of the most epic pieces the band has composed to date and a instant favorite of ours.

Closing the album we have “Root Regeneration” a nice instrumental piece, “Mahakala” another balls to the wall featuring some haunting female vocals courtesy of the band’s insanely attractive (and equally talented) bassist Thunder Tears (a.k.a Doris Yeh). The last song of the release “Quell the Souls in Sing Ling Temple” another instant classic from the band.

If you like Melodic/Symphonic Black Metal and are tired of the cookie cutter bands that we have these days, break the cycle and get this amazing release. The more we listen to this release, the less bad things we can find on it. The band will also be touring North America soon, so be sure to catch them live, they are totally worth your money.

Band: Chthonic Album: Takasago Army
Label: Spinefarm Records

Release: September 6th, 2011

Oficial Site myspace
Genre: Melodic/Symphonic Black Metal

Country: Taiwan

Rating: 92/100

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