Chthonic - Takasago Army
Taiwanese metal band Chthonic have as much as flair for the dramatic as they do for majestic riffs. They display both on their latest. "Takasago Army" is a good old-fashioned concept record, but it is better than most, both in topic and execution.
Based on the true story of the dire experiences of Taiwanese soldiers forced to train under and fight for their Japanese conquerors, the band employs a repeated motif of Asian folk rhythms underneath many of these tracks, bubbling up at certain points to bring us back to memory of those doomed men.
The frenzied riffs and solos on "Legacy of the Seediq" and "Takao," accompanied by screcching, hoarse vocals, convey the raw emotion and personal stake that drive the best tributes. In fact, the band never lets up on that peak of mood. Buzzsaw guitars reminiscent of early Metallica, some tasteful keyboards deep in the mix propel songs like "Kaoru" and "Broken Jade," in which the story is made more explicit; even the risky addition of operatic female vocals works in it brevity. The martial, marching finale, "Quell The Souls In Sing Ling Temple" is haunting and as equally hard-hitting as any in the set.
"Takasago Army" is a draining, relentless performance by a band clearly inspired by its own subject matter and willing to lay it on the line to tell it right. Chthonic out to be underrated no longer; this is forty minutes of punishing, scalding black metal that does justice to the outrage and pain the band obviously feel for the wartime plight of their elders.
User Reviews and CommentsLog In or Register to Rate Albums
Tell us why this album is great or sucks ass, or correct the reviewer. If you write enough quality reviews you may find yourself on the editorial staff.
Reviews have to be over 100 words, shorter ones are classed as comments.