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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CHTHONIC’s New Album Set for April 2009 Release; Bassist in FHM

The Asian symphonic black metal band CHTHONIC, who made international headlines by championing Taiwanese democracy from the Ozzfest and Wacken stages last summer, has recently finished recording their new album, Mirror of Retribution, which is a concept album in Los Angeles with producer (and ANTHRAX guitarist) Rob Caggiano. This marks the band’s first-ever recording sessions in America.

“We had a good time working in Denmark for three albums, but we had some exciting chemistry between us and Rob, a new producer with a fresh vision and a fresh environment,” says CHTHONIC vocalist Freddy Lim. “We like Rob‘s past work very much — especially the depth and strength of all the different instruments — and as a huge fan of ANTHRAX, it was our pleasure to work with him.”

Since wrapping up their 2007 “UNlimited” tour, which included 60 North American concerts, high-profile festival appearances and European tours, CHTHONIC has been busy both musically and politically, the group’s members have been active in Taiwan’s recent presidential elections. Vocalist Freddy Lim was even an official “youth spokesperson” for the pro-democracy DPP political party, and thanks in large part to his efforts, the youth vote (ages 20-29) for the DPP candidate — originally estimated to be just 20% — ended up being 56%.

Their previous studio effort, Seediq Bale, was recorded in 2005, although it was not released outside of Asia until more than a year later. Since then, they’ve seen the international reissue of 2002’s Relentless Recurrence and a live CD/DVD (A Decade on the Throne), as well as the European compilation, Pandemonium, which featured re-recorded versions of older CHTHONIC tracks.

While the band was pleased to have their music finally available worldwide, they’re anxious for their newfound fans to hear their new material. “Although it’s still symphonic and extreme, it is a new style of metal for us,” Lim says. “There are more Oriental tastes, different genres of metal being mixed, and more emotional fluctuations in the music.”

In the meantime, bassist Doris inked an exclusive worldwide deal with ESP Basses. She will be featured in the 2009 Catalog. Doris also appears on the cover of the November issue of FHM Taiwan. The issue soon climbed to the top of the Internet sales chart during the first week. CHTHONIC has been touring around the world in the past few years with lots of media attention. Among all the excellent members, Doris‘s unique style is often favored by the international media. FHM approached Doris for her dual images of sexy fierceness and intrinsic charm.

The feature and photo shoot with Doris has done so well (she is the number one girl in FHM Taiwan history) that it will be picked up by the FHM Magazines of Australia, Croatia, Estonia, Germany, Latvia, Mexico and Singapore as well!

When asked why she agreed to FHM‘s proposal, Doris said, “I do not set limits for my life. Limits and standards are man made. Though human as I am, I do not want to limit my ideas to make music, to care about politics, just to think and to live.”

Be sure to pick up CHTHONIC‘s new album Mirror of Retribution, when it releases in April 2009.