CHTHONIC Vocalist Freddy Lim to Run For Parliamentary Seat in Taiwan

“Using music to change the world” is a slogan that appears often in the history of rock, however, in Taiwan, a man is turning it into reality. CHTHONIC lead vocalist Freddy Lim is traveling the road of music to parliament. Check out his campaign website: http://www.ivotefreddy.com/.  And on December 26th, a Formosa Defenders outdoor concert will be held in place of a campaign rally.

Beyond their musical impact, CHTHONIC has also focused their interests and strengths on social and political concerns both past and present within Taiwan. The band’s in-depth lyrics have historically focused on accounts of the country’s inhabitants fighting against repressive regimes in history that textbooks refused to tell in addition to their public displays of support for social movements and human rights activities, including last year’s Sunflower Movement and this year’s student protests against the Ministry Of Education’s adjustments in high school curriculum guidelines.

Beyond CHTHONIC, Lim also serves as the lead vocalist of a band that he formed with guitarist Marty Friedman, METAL CLONE X, which has released two albums in Taiwan and Japan. He has also organized two of the most well known music festivals — the Formoz Festival and Megaport Festival.

Lim was one of the co-founders of live houses including Zeitgeist; this year, he launched the most successful crowdfunding site in Taiwan called Free Bird. In addition to music events, he has served two terms as chair of Amnesty International Taiwan, a board member of the Memorial Foundation Of 228, and has been active in human rights activities. He has been honored with the President’s Award by Taiwan’s National Cultural Association, and founded the New Power Party, a new political party in Taiwan. In less than one year of its founding, the New Power Party has become the third largest party in Taiwan besides the two major political parties. In June, he announced his bid for legislature.

Twenty years after the band’s founding and seventy years after the end of World War II, CHTHONIC has decided to hold a Formosa Defenders outdoor concert in Liberty Square in Taipei on December 26th, 2015. The concert will feature all of CHTHONIC‘s classic songs, and the finest presentation of its unique oriental metal style, while blending in the ideas and spirit of anti-repression and bringing about change to the nation that CHTHONIC has always stressed in its music. It will be CHTHONIC‘s largest scale outdoor concert, and fans from around the world are invited to take part.

CHTHONIC chose the Liberty Square as the venue for the Formosa Defenders concert, because it’s a temple built to worship the dictator Chiang Kai-shek, leader of the Chinese Nationalist Party [KMT] who later went into exile in Taiwan after being defeated. This well-known location represents the authoritarian regime of the old times that the band references regularly in its music, and also the venue for many social movements. It is, thus, the most suitable location for CHTHONIC‘s twentieth anniversary concert.

National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) 2014 Show Report

The month of January brings excitement to the City of Anaheim every year, and the NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) 2014 show is no exception!  Let’s cut to the chase this year!  A few highlights of the gazillions of musical instruments and gadgets are found below…enjoy!
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CHTHONIC – Bu-Tik

Chthonic - Bu-TikTaiwan’s most well known metal export are back again with another concept album centered around Taiwan’s history and mythology.  Bu-Tik is around the story of the 228 Massacre, the Bú-Tik Palace and the Mirror of Retribution.  Musically, CHTHONIC continue their European style of metal melded with traditional Taiwanese influences.

The heart of the band and Bu-Tik is the powerhouse riffing and solos of guitarist Jesse Liu.  He is well-versed in CRADLE OF FILTH, Swedish and Finnish melodic death metal, early 2000’s-era Scandinavian black metal (i.e. OLD MAN’S CHILD), as well as thrash.  Jesse busts out an abundance of prime riffing that shows all the different angles that he attacks with his guitar.

CHTHONIC shine brightest and distinguish themselves from their metal peers when Taiwanese instruments and clean vocals are incorporated into songs.  The more integration, the better.  First song, “Supreme Pain for the Ruler” is a perfect example and is also the best song on Bu-Tik.  The ending to “Between Silence and Death” is just so soulful and somber.  “Set Fire to the Island” is a good combo of the main elements throughout the song.  “Defenders of Bu-Tik Palace” has great guest clean vocals.

Bu-Tik often feels claustrophobic as the listener is bombarded with riff after riff and attacking scream after scream.  There are not much in the way in terms of peeks and valleys or breathing room.  The drumming also sounds artificial and overly triggered to a fault.  However, rest asurred, CHTHONIC fans will be nothing but pleased with Bu-Tik.

Clearly, CHTHONIC are a quality metal band but one which can prove to become more influential and distinct by breaking away from its [metal] influences and further embracing those elements that makes them unique.  (Spinefarm Records)

Taiwan’s CHTHONIC Release First Video Single “Defenders of Bú-Tik Palace”

ChthonicToday, Taiwanese black metallers CHTHONIC reveals the first of a series of video singles from their forthcoming new full-length. “Defenders of Bú-Tik Palace” comes by way of the band’s seventh studio recording, Bú-Tik. With Bú-Tik, CHTHONIC continue their mission to build awareness of the myths of Taiwan and the tragic events in their country’s history.

Bassist Doris Yeh states, “The BuTik Palace in Puli was used as command headquarters by Japanese colonial government to repress a Seediq Aboriginal Uprising in Wushe in 1930. During the initial phase of the 228 Massacre in 1947, militiamen in Taiwan also used it as its command headquarters. The chants in the second half of the song are the names of all martyrs who sacrificed themselves in resistance against dictators and fought for independence. The ideology of ‘Defenders of Bú-Tik Palace’ was really suited for using martial arts to express its platform. Whenever we are interviewed overseas,” she continues, “we are always asked if Asians know martial arts, and before, we would immediately deny it, but later we thought; ‘why don’t we really shoot such an MV for you guys?'”

In addition, the song features popular Taiwanese opera actress Meiyun Tang as the guest singer.

ARCH ENEMY, DEVILDRIVER, SKELETONWITCH, CHTHONIC @ Club Nokia, Los Angeles (9/27/11)

The North American Khaos 2011 Tour had a metal genre for everybody – black, thrash, nu, and melodic metal were all represented nicely.

CHTHONIC has gained quite an increase of popularity in the U.S. since their first go around at Ozzfest in 2007, and that notion was proven by the rabid crowd that showed up early giving full support to the “Orient metal” from the Far East.  The band performed tracks mostly from the new album, Takasago Army, and new tracks like “Takao” and “Southern Cross” went over tremendously well in the live setting. Vocalist Freddy Lim owned the crowd with his enthusiastic charisma and wowed onlookers whenever he pulled out the er-hu to accentuate why CHTHONIC stands out as a unique band.
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CHTHONIC – Takasago Army

CHTHONIC have been working hard promoting their brand of “Orient metal” to the masses by touring the U.S. with SATYRICON, performing at select European festivals, and appearing in countless metal publications. Seediq Bale showed the band’s maturity in songwriting, and Mirror of Retribution broke the band into greater heights by showing that they can hang with the big boys. Takasago Army continues in the same vein, and the band delivers their best album to date.

Vocalist Freddy Lim has tightened up his vocals with more variation, using his deeper vocals on a more constant level, but his Dani Filth-like vocals still remain an integral part of his delivery. The production is excellent, and all the instruments blend in crisper and clearer than on the previous album. “Takao” and “Broken Jade” are the most listener friendly songs on Takasago Army, and not surprisingly, they are the best tracks on this disc, utilizing their entire repertoire with catchy vocal patterns, melodic hooks, and tasteful riffs.  CHTHONIC’s unique element in the world of extreme metal, the er-hu, is still a prominent instrument, and provides a distinct Asian flavor, as heard on “Legend of the Seediq” and “Oceanquake.”

The riff master behind CHTHONIC, Jesse Liu, has improved his songwriting skills with each subsequent release, and his solos on “Southern Cross” and “Mahakala” make the album so soothing to the metal ears. Although this release is slightly less catchy than Mirror of Retribution, the band forges forward with a good product comparable to their Scandinavian folk metal counterparts.

CHTHONIC have found their niche within the extreme metal world by combining Swedish/Finnish riffs, CRADLE OF FILTH’s style, a splash of IRON MAIDEN, and Taiwanese based mythology/concepts all thrown in together. The band doesn’t offer new ideas or riffs that CRADLE hasn’t done already, but the album should appease their faithful fans worldwide, and the songs should go over very well in the live setting. (Spinefarm Records)

CHTHONIC: Actions Scream Louder Than Words

While there have been well-known rock/metal bands from Asia such as LOUDNESS and X JAPAN, as well as cult underground bands such as SABBAT, SIGH, and SAD LEGEND, no Asian band has taken the underground by storm quite like Taiwan’s CHTHONIC. With just three stateside releases, CHTHONIC has grown quickly to be the first Asian band to play Ozzfest, play on several high profile U.S. and European tours, and grace the pages of many a metal magazine.

The one characteristic that distinguishes CHTHONIC from virtually every other metal band is their dedication to promoting the independence of their country through social and political activism inside and outside the band. As we found out from our conversation with CHTHONIC bassist, model, and actress Doris, they are on a mission to not only raise awareness about the independence movement of Taiwan but to also dispell myths and educate fans about the rocky and complicated relationship between Taiwan and China.
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APESHIT’s Top Albums of 2009

It’s that time where we take a look back on the year as 2009 comes to a close. So we, the APESHIT goons, asked ourselves, what albums moved us, kicked our asses, and reminded us of why we love metal (and music)? Read on for our top albums of 2009…
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CHTHONIC, SATYRICON @ The Key Club, Hollywood (10/8/09)

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Anticipation for this show was high as kids started waiting outside the Key Club as early as 5pm. Taiwanese extreme metallers CHTHONIC opened the show with a short but powerful set. It was clear from the audience reaction that a significant amount of people were there to see the band play. CHTHONIC had great stage presence and played well. Vocalist Freddy made sure that the audience knew that they were proud to be from Taiwan. The band also took the time to meet with fans after their performance. There was a good number of fans who waited patiently for their chance to get their pictures taken with CHTHONIC and get their merchandise autographed. It was surprising that after the band had finished up their meet and greet, a noticeable number of attendees left the Key Club.

As the night wore on, incoming fans packed the Key Club in order to see headliners SATYRICON. The band played songs predominantly from their last three albums with a few old ones from their classic, Nemesis Divina. The fact their SATYRICON‘s newer material is mid-paced and has many slow plotting sections caused numerous moments of stagnation in the adrenaline department. It may have left some fans wanting a more balanced set in terms of tempo.

Band mastermind Satyr was pretty vocal with the crowd and never failed to show his appreciation for the fans throughout their set. He too was proud to represent the country that the band were from. Satyr also busted out his guitar for a few songs as well. Strangely enough, his guitar was louder and better sounding than that of his two session guitarists.

The star of the show was drummer Frost. After all my years of going to shows, Frost‘s performance was by far the best drum performance that I’ve ever seen. It was truly godlike. He blasted faster than even Flo from CRYPTOPSY, and his blastbeats were super tight and clean. You could see his hair flying through the air as he did the helicopter headbang all night. The drums sounded absolutely immaculate in quality. He played flawlessly and if anything, he made the songs sound better live. Frost also rewrote his drum parts for the older songs by adding plenty of extra intensity and skill.

CHTHONIC – Mirror of Retribution

Asia is certainly not the hotbed of rock bands, let alone extreme metal bands, but CHTHONIC has branched out and made some noise in the underground circuit thanks to their well received last album, Seediq Bale, and a successful stint with Ozzfest in 2007. This Taiwanese band has gained new ground and respect upon releasing their new opus, Mirror of Retribution. The album focuses on the event of what is known as the “228 Massacre,” and tells about the oppressive tyranny the people of Taiwan had to undergo, as well as the hell that was presented to them after death. CHTHONIC borrows quite a bit of ideas from CRADLE OF FILTH, but by incorporating Taiwanese historical events and legends, and using the “oriental violin” (er-hu) in the music, the band differentiates themselves with their own brand of extreme metal.

After the predictable intro, the album springs to life immediately with “Blooming Blades” – at first glance, the music can be found as an obvious nod to CRADLE OF FILTH, until the er-hu serenades the listener and a dark passage opens up where the vocals, guitars, and er-hu come together as one. While vocalist Freddy does not go ridiculously as high as Dani Filth, he does incorporate the same low growl that Filth produces. Throughout the album, guitarist Jesse plays IRON MAIDEN-inspired CRADLE OF FILTH riffs and enjoys using the wah pedal to try and achieve a Kirk Hammett wah/solo effect for his solos. CHTHONIC finally distinguishes themselves with “Venom in My Veins” by adding a little death metal flare, as drummer Dani Wang finally attacks the kit with more aggression. “The Aroused” reverts back to the CRADLE sound, but Mirror of Retribution really starts to peak with “Sing-Ling Temple,” as a nice distinct death metal riff blares, and the ferocity of the Taiwanese typhoon is unleashed.

To separate the album, CHTHONIC brilliantly inserts “1947” – a serene, beautiful, instrumental track, which would fit nicely for an epic battle scene in a movie, and lays down the foundation perfectly to segue into the next track, “Forty-Nine Theurgy Chains.” A vicious riff engulfs the listener as Freddy sings of despair and suffering the Taiwanese people endured in the “228 massacre.” The er-hu is used perfectly in a break, leading into a crescendo of the catchy lyric of “The tyrants’ genocide drives me to suicide!”

Bloody Waves of Sorrow” produces a very CRADLE-ish moment with operatic female vocals, but CHTHONIC allows the vocals to fit with the music in a much more coherent way, and inserting the er-hu at the end of the song allows the music to breathe. Rounding out the album, “Unlimited Taiwan” is probably their strongest and most epic track that CHTHONIC have written to date – an immediate impact is felt as the layered keyboards and drums come into play.

CHTHONIC has a lot of potential in being a powerhouse – unfortunately, there are too many similarities found with CRADLE OF FILTH. It’s no coincidence that Rob Caggiano has produced Mirror of Retribution, as well as a few CRADLE albums. The similarities between Freddy and Dani Filth are quite clear, as is guitarist Jesse‘s songwriting and guitar playing compared to any of the axemen that the CRADLE entity has employed. This is still a glorious feat for a band hailing from Asia, and only good things are to come for CHTHONIC. While CRADLE OF FILTH fans will obviously be attracted to Mirror of Retribution, open minded extreme metal enthusiasts may be surprised and also enjoy this album as well. (Fontana Universal)