Released: 2011, Spinefarm Records
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
I have loved Chthonic ever since seeing them live in London, they are such a passionate band with a great sound and presence that I was eagerly awaiting their new album release ‘Takasago Army’ which was produced by Rickard Bengtsson (Arch Enemy, Nemesis, etc.) at Sweet Spot Studios in Halmstad, Sweden.
‘Takasago Army’ sees Chthonic telling a story that binds together their ‘Seediq Bale’ and ‘Mirror Of Retribution’ albums, released in 2007 & 2009, respectively. One of the songs, ‘Broken Jade’, features the voice of Hirohito/Emperor Shōwa, the commander responsible for the Japanese ‘surrender speech’ at the tail-end of World War II, whilst another, ‘Takao’, features some rousing vocal support from Ensiferum bassist Sami Hinkka.
After hearing this album it is no surprise that this Taiwan Black metallers are doing so well and have played some fantastic gigs and festivals and have currently just finished their European Tour. With a beautiful intro which immediately sets an amazing atmosphere, it’s not long until Freddy Lim’s amazing voice hits with fantastic guitar riffs which kick in with fast impressive drumming from Dani Wang. The album is great throughout and continually shows the gorgeous Eastern sounds that play next to the harsh black metal tracks, using many instruments including violins, pianos and synthesizers which all works perfectly.
Doris [ Bass, background vocals] states…
“When we were writing this new album, we tried to find the perfect balance between the two different traditions represented in our songs – the traditions of western music, which do inspire us, and the traditions of Asian music, with its pentatonic scales & Taiwanese opera. The end result is what we’ve chosen to call ‘Orient Metal’, which we hope will define what we do and give a reference point to other Asian bands who want to head in the same direction…”
The track ‘Takao’, actually features a fully Taiwanese chorus and is likely to be the first/single video from ‘Takasago Army’, but it is not yet known whether Hinkka’s contribution will feature on the A-Side version of the song.
"The Takasago Army was a Taiwanese troop of Japanese force/Axis powers that fought in the Pacific War/World War II between 1940 & 1944. The Takasago soldiers were descendants of a brave and powerful people from the mountains of Taiwan, people with a strong warrior tradition. They impressed their rivals with their cunning, tenacity and skill on the battlefield, and they became the most revered and most feared combat unit in the Japanese Imperial Army."
These guys are definitely not your average black metal band, but have an unique style in their music, which is clear from their previous material and most definitly in this release.
All I can say is that Chthonic are an amazing band, on stage and in the studio and Takasago Army is an album that needs to be heard…immediately!!
Review by Jo Blackened