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Chthonic - Bu-Tik

Taiwan’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)