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Taiwanese black metal band is perhaps one of the biggest extreme metal bands out of the Asian region, proving global metalheads that Asians can come up with quality black metal as well. Perhaps more well known in Taiwan as outspoken icons and pushers for Taiwanese independence, ChthoniC do not let listeners down with their latest offering, Mirror of Retribution.
Compared to their previous works such as Seediq Bale, Mirror of Retribution features more melodic music and a more polished production quality (courtesy of Rob Caggiano). From their opening track, Blooming Blades to their closing (and title track), Mirror of Retribution features blazing fast guitar and drums work, giving listeners barely enough time to breathe in between tracks (with the exception of 1947, an instrumental/spoken word track).
What sets this band apart from your typical melodic black metal band is the utilisation of the er-hu (or commonly known as the Chinese two-stringed violin) in the music, providing the emotions and atmosphere n the music, in addition to the presence of the keyboards. The sound of the er-hu can sometimes be reminiscent of the sound of a woman crying, while at times set the mood to become more surreal/atmospheric. Freddy's vocals are also worth mentioning, with the ability to go from a high pitch shriek (think Dani Filth from Cradle of Filth) to a low death metal styled growl.
Lyrics-wise, ChthoniC has definitely gotten more political, and their intense passion and belief for freedom and independence definitely shows through their music. This can be seen through the release of the bonus track, suitably titled UNlimited Taiwan, a song that was composed in conjunction with their tour with the similar name.
A music video for the song, Fourty-Nine Theurgy Chains was released. (which looked pretty damn professional.)
Recommended for fans of ChthoniC's older works, Anthelion, Cradle of Filth and melodic black metal in general. This is an album not to be missed.
This review was based on the English version of the album (released on Spinefarm Records). A Taiwanese version of the album, with the lyrics in the native Taiwan language is also available in Taiwan.
Written for Heavy Metal Tribune (http://heavymetaltribune.blogspot.com/)