‘Set Fire To The Island’, directed by Hoiji Huang and Alulu Kuo, comes off the Taiwanese power and symphonic black metal warriors', CHTHONIC, new album ‘Bú-Tik’, issued in June 2013 through Universal Music/Spinefarm Records. Never dull, the characters on CHTHONIC's latest album travel through time and space and through violent scenes in Taiwan's history; the band retells stories about pirates, armed clashes and prisoner riots occurring on the island during the 18th century. The self-defined “oriental metallers” recorded ‘Bú-Tik’ at Sweden's Sweetspot Studio with producer Rickard Bengtson who also worked on the band's 2011's ‘Takasago Army’. Courtesy Spinefarm Records, CHTHONIC's new album can be enjoyed in its entirety below; the band have previously released (at least) two videos in its promotion: Chuang Chi-Wen-directed ‘Defenders Of Bú-Tik Palace’ for which dedicated bandmembers spent a month training, working on their fitness and martial arts (“Whenever we are interviewed overseas, we are always asked if Asians know martial arts and before we would immediately deny it, but afterwards we suddenly thought; why don’t we really shoot such an MV for you guys,” explained bassist Doris Yeh) and Lin Chun-directed ‘Sail Into The Sunset's Fire’ (“[The song] recounts the stories of pirates in East Asia in the Age of Exploration. We’re not encouraging kidnapping ships or robbing money - but the brevity to bid farewell to the old world, sail towards the unknown, and challenge the conventional authority is indeed inspiring,” said Freddy Lim, the lead vocalist). ‘Bú-Tik’ awaits you here (CHTHONIC store) and on iTunes and Amazon.
CHTHONIC, symphonic blackened death metal group whose music employs elements of traditional Taiwanese music and who frequently incorporate their nation's ancient history and mythology into their lyrics, was formed in 1995 in Taipei, Taiwan. They released their first single, ‘Deep Rising’, in 1998, and their first full-length album, ‘Where The Ancestors' Souls Gather’, in 1999. ‘9th Empyrean’ and ‘Relentless Recurrence’ became available to Taiwanese public in 2000 and 2002 respectively, with the latter being revamped in 2007 by SPV Records, English translations included. In 2003, they won the Best Band Award at the Taiwan Golden Melodies award ceremony and became officially undesired in parts of China for their political views: the band advocates Taiwan's independence from PRC and self-determination for the Tibetans and Uighurs. CHTHONIC first album to be released in both English and Chinese-language editions was 2006's ‘Seediq Bale’. ‘Mirror Of Retribution’, produced by Rob Caggiano of ANTHRAX fame, followed in 2009 through Spinefarm Records. AllMusic's Greg Prato described it as CHTHONIC “most fully realized - and strongest - album thus far”:
“As with earlier releases, CHTHONIC don’t shy away from including “messages” in their songs, and this time around the tragic 228 Incident (also known as the 228 Massacre) is supposedly referenced in the album's lyrics - “supposedly” because without the aid of a lyric sheet, good luck trying to decipher what is being screamed,” [he felt compelled to add – more here]
Seeking to expose “the part of Taiwan's history that the government attempts to cover up through the interior conflict on identity of former Taiwanese soldiers” CHTHONIC's sixth album, 2011's ‘Takasago Army’, thematically dealt with Taiwanese volunteer soldiers serving in the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II:
“Aside from a pair of instrumental tracks, ‘Takasago Army’ is a pretty relentless ordeal that assaults metal fans with a nearly endless barrage of thundering double-kick drums and crunching guitar heaviness. Add CHTHONIC's use of traditional Taiwanese instruments on songs like ‘Legacy Of The Seediq’ and you have an album that will satisfy any black metal fan who’s looking for something a little different to add to their rotation,” [wrote Gregory Heaney, AllMusic – more here]
CHTHONIC features: Freddy “Left Face Of Maradou” Lim – vocals and erhu, Doris “Thunder Tears” Yeh – bass and backing vocals, Jesse “The Infernal” Liu – guitar, Dani “Azathothian Hands” Wang – drums and CJ “Dispersed Fingers” – piano and synthesizer