Not much is known about these dudes from this side of the world, and to further add to that thought… not many really know about this pretty cool band called Chthonic (myself included) I just recently discovered them. The only thing I can say is that I should have listened to these guys centuries ago! ‘cause what I was missing was certainly a good metal group that mixes extreme guitar riffs, some pretty sweet drumming, a nice bass that mixes together everything and above the instruments, the cherry of the cake, a great vocalist.
Music that, although being FUCKING metal, it’s filled with nuances, layers and sides to it, some melodic, some more quiet, even some that were unknown to me, mixing metal with Asian instruments and influences. Kicking ass all in one song.
I have to confess that I really haven’t listened (that closely) anything else of these guys but Bu-Tik, so all I’m going to write is from what I hear because I have no history or background about these dudes to comment or to add to the review. So there’s that to consider.
Straight into business, shall we?.
Album: Bú-Tik / 武德
Band: Chthonic / 閃靈樂團 (Taiwan).
1) Arising Armament
2) Supreme Pain for the Tyrant
3) Sailt 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 Bú-Tik Palace
10) Undying Rearmament
Arising armament is a pretty 2 and a half instrumental filled with cool ornaments and at the same time serves to showcase some of their native influences, the track is “connected” with Supreme pain for the Tyrant (it’s just like 1 whole track, but splitted into 2) and serves to “build up” and evoke a pretty unique feel to it. It’s cool the way it does that.
Supreme pain for the Tyrant is a song that really surprised me, filled with a well-thought and well executed as well guitar work that is enhanced by the drums, a cool melodic solo that leads the song to sort of “progress” into another completely different thing, the “second part” as I call it, has good vocals that fuck things up badly while another –female as it seems– melodic voice is singing in the back of the action (could be that and/or an Ehru, another Asian instrument) all of this lead to a merging or “blend” if you will between metal and (as far as I know, I could be wrong, correct me if I am) a little Asian instrument called “Yueqin“, just to, in the end, leave the “Yueqin“ sounding all alone. Sw33t.
Sail into the sunset’s fire starts with a nice drumming pattern, the drums throughout the entire album are sweet as fuck, but this one song kind of enhances the meaning of the drums, which at the same time, the drums enhances the meaning of the song. Cool harsh vocals too. I don’t like all that much the guitar on this track but verily much like that voice “game” kinda back and forth that happens in the middle of the song. I would have ended the song differently.
Next republic’s intro confuses and tricks you, it starts with a dude singing (maybe Taiwanese?) some traditional Asian folk song, but only for a brief moment ‘cause the metal kicks right into it some seconds into the song. I, once again, like the vocal things they do, it seems like a hundred people singing in unison, it sounds immensely huge, it’s cool. That leads to an extra cool solo and some dual-guitar short melody, followed once again by the vocal games they seem to love to do and more cool metal.
Rage of my Sword might be the most interesting song in the album (it is to me, at least), starting with an instrument whose name I don’t know. Tricked me once again, I thought the instrumental intro would last more than what it actually did, I would really like them doing a whole track the way this one track starts. Although their songs are pretty harsh and fast, they never drop the “melodic” thought and side in their music, it is always present, on this track, for example there’s always something melodic sounding in the back, along with some instruments that I have to admit sound really cool (and the way they use them adds to it). I would’ve done the guitar work differently on this one, though, everything else was spot-on.
Between the Silence and Death does not plays around, it goes straight into business, hard and heavy sounding music, the voice sounds in a lot of different ways. Between the minute and 20 seconds and the minute and forty seconds mark is my favourite passage of the track. It’s amazing how many things are happening in just a second, and more in the whole track, there are thousands of things happening, it’s amazing. I liked the solo in this song, though I’d do them differently, the guitarist tends to go more melodically, I’d like to hear them shreddier (how I like this word).
The drummer is a fucking beast. Actually, every member of the band is a fucking beast (except for the bass player, she’s a lady) as it ends, it fades out while an Ehru is playing beautifully and melodically.
The intro of Resurrection Pyre I found to be extremely long until it meets some action, though I really liked the drumming going on then, it really looked like this song was the “boring one” of the album, but it later redeemed itself (as if that was necessary, ha) and becomes a cool track, I’m not buying guitar parts all that much on this track either, it seems like to me is love it or hate it when it comes to Chthonic’s guitars but I loved the solo. It’s cool the tricks they use, they make the songs sound “fuller” with just adding some melodic features in the background here and there (not randomly though, they’re well-thought from beginning to end), enhancing the virtues of each song and accentuating certain passages that need to.
Set fire to the Island although being a cool track that uses the same techniques as the previous tracks, I find them not to be as effective, and in consequence, I find this one song, “bad” is not the word, ‘cause there is not a single bad song in this album in particular, but I don’t find Set fire to the Island to be as good as other tracks. The solo was cool but I did not find any coherence between the solo and what the rest of the instruments were playing/doing. My least favourite track of the album.
Defenders of Bú-Tik Palace (the one track that everyone seem to know) is pretty radical and tight, every instrument does its job and forms the “whole” a song should be and more. From the second minute onward I find the song takes a more solid direction and consolidates a little more, I liked the little guitar melody played between singing lines but loses much when drums start to play fast once again, that little guttural voice/clean voice at the same time is pretty cool, although they do this a lot, I’d like to hear more of it.
Undying rearment is a short outro instrumental theme that features lots of cool things I would have appreciated to be featured in previous songs.
It is a kick-ass album from whatever angle you might look at it, I have to say, however, when listening to it closely there are certain instrumental passages (and mostly guitar parts) where I find myself saying “I’d do this somehow differently” (not that I’m a well-accomplished musician, I suck, just stating my opinion). It has everything you are looking for if you’re into more melodic metal with features that are not common in most of the music we listen to, it is also very cool to know a little more from where these guys come from, which is very unknown to us. I’d recommend this album to you even if you’re not into this kind of metal and prefer more “classic” metal with more common features to you, even if you don’t end up listening to it every day, but to take trip to a distant land called “music to listen to before you die… land” because to me, this one album is a must, I don’t know shit about any other albums by these guys, will have to find out more about that, but please give yourself this little luxury of listening to this album.