While Taiwan is considered home of Austronesian peoples, and a mystic island nation in the Orient, advanced technologies and modern cities are also part of the image of Taiwan. The meal band Chthonic has given the best interpretation to the contrasting images of the country.
Chthonic's lyrics are inspired by Taiwanese mythology, folk stories, and history, and the music incorporates elements of traditional Taiwanese folk music, enka, and sorrowful melody from Taiwanese opera, accompanied by traditional Taiwanese musical instruments, such as hena, zheng -also known as "box zither"- and pgaku flute. Also integral parts of Chthonic's music are elements from contemporary symphonic black metal, melodic death metal, blood-boiling riffs and solos. Critiques have tried to label Chthonic's music as black metal, death metal or folk metal, but Chthonic has chosen to use the term orient metal to define this genre of heavy metal music that's unique to Taiwan. Meanwhile, Chthonic's bassist Doris -who was dubbed one of the sexiest female rockers by Revolver, and has been on magazines such as FHM and GQ- is a bonus for fans all over the world.
From Fuji Rock and Loud Park in Japan, to Ozzfest in the US, Download in the UK, and WOA in Germany, Chthonic has been to major music festivals around the world, and has had toured over 200 shows in more than 30 countries. Chthonic is certainly one of the most active Asian bands in the world of metal.
In Taiwan, several of Chthonic's albums were on the pop-music charts, and the band has been awarded the "Golden Melody Award"-the Taiwanese version of the Grammy Award. Besides being Chthonic, band members are also active in different fields. Doris, the bassist and the band leader, has advocated a women's rights organization, and acted in movies; the drummer Dani is working hard in music education to bring up younger generation musicians; the guitarist Jesse and the keyboard player CJ are involved in production of many albums of Taiwanese bands; the lead vocalist, Freddy, is active in public affairs relating to human rights and social justice issues.
From different walks of life, the five members of Chthonic have created albums after albums that pleased fans not only within Taiwan, but also from worldwide. The latest album "Takasago Army" recounts the stories of the 200,000 Taiwanese men drafted into the Japanese Imperial Army during World War II. Listeners could feel the complex emotions of courage, confusion, pride, loneliness, despair, and sorrow. Connecting to prior albums "Seediq Bale" and "Mirror of Retribution", the three albums compose a roman-fleuve in three parts. "Takasago Army" is produced by Rickard Bengtson (Arch Enemy and Nemesis), and released by Spinefarm Records/Universal Music. The main songwriters, Freddy and Jesse, have brought to a whole new level the combination of melody with a touch of Taiwan and metal. The album has received highly positive reviews from music critiques globally, labeling it as a classic work by Chthonic that "a milestone establishes a new style".
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