Thursday, June 20, 2013


Spinefarm US

This album-art caught my eye when it was first spied in the pages of Metal Hammer magazine. When it showed up in my promo gallery then I was drawn to it and what was purported to be a different, reasonably unique, listening experience. Reality is far too often different then what is promised by a small bi-line or two under a picture. We've all experienced that so there's no sense in complaining about it right? This is actually the seventh studio release from this Taiwanese metal outfit. Self-described as symphonic "orient metal" what we really have is extreme metal with a oriental twist. Perhaps I expected something more earth-shattering out of CHTHONIC and that's why I'm underwhelmed. In my heart I over-reached, in anticipation of the release, for damn near perfection and it was a case of nothing being able to live up to what I imagied this would sound like. That's truly the wrong approach on my part (or was the wrong approach) which is why I listned to this album on two separate occasions. What I found was sadly the same think twice. It's not like the band (Freddy Lim – vocals/erhu, Jesse Liu – guitar/backing vocals, Doris Yeh – bass/backing vocals, CJ Kao – keys and Dani Wang – drums) do anything wrong here. In fact it's far from it as these musicians know their stuff and then some. That much rang through on both listens. The music on display here is quite different from the bulk of extreme metal floating out there as it's not just the oriental flavor that elevates this album, but the addition of European-styled power metal/better-then-usual symphonic metal and traditional heavy metal puts this act towards the top of the heap. So, from a music perspective this is some no-nonsense excellent extreme metal. For me, and my ears and heart, that just wasn't enough. The fact that I kept coming back to was, while these tracks all sound really well-crafted and perfectly-executed, they lacked distinction track-by-track and the hype that preceded this album made it near-impossible for someone like me to find true satisfaction. That's all on me though and I'm nearly certain that others will experience this album in a better light.

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