Taiwanese metal band Chthonic have been around since 1995. Despite years spent building a following and honing their sound it would take a slot on the 2007 Ozzfest tour for them to gain worldwide acclaim. While the band is often labeled symphonic black metal that term is rather limiting as their sound incorporates influences ranging from traditional Taiwanese music (including the use of the erhu, an oriental violin) to goth rock and power metal. Chthoic are also well known in Asia thanks to their outspoken political views as well as their lyrics which touch upon Taiwanese culture. This ten-song album marks the band's sixth full-length release.Produced by Rickard Bengtsson (Arch Enemy, Nemesis) at Sweet Spot Studios in Halmstad, Sweden the album sounds clean and clear. You can clearly make out the individual instruments and vocalist Freddy Lim (Left Face of Maradou) is up front in a manor that is powerful but never overwhelming. Part of a trilogy, Takasago Army joins the band's Seediq Bale and Mirror Of Retribution albums (released in 2007 and 2009 respectively) to create an album that is both interesting and intense. For comparison sake I'd look to bands like Cradle Of Filth, Dimmu Borgir and Children Of Bodom, but for my money few are as splendid as this Taiwanese act. Takasago Army won't be for everyone obviously. However for those that do choose to explore it's many layers I suspect you'll be as impressed as I was.