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Chthonic, is an amazing Taiwanese band that has garnered international famed. I have always wondered, were they a great band during their humble beginnings? Now I have an answer and the answer is yes.
Relentless Recurrence is an album that dates back to 2002 in Chthonic’s discography. The album starts of a 2 minute instrumental piece with only the weeps of the sorrowful Er Hu. The instrumental track flows nicely into the title track which has a sad aura to it only to be splattered with Freddy’s energetic vocals. This track is a very atmospheric and has an eerie feel to it. The whole album seems to be woven tightly and the entrance of track 3 proves it. Track 3 is another Er Hu/keyboard instrumental with some voice samples in the background. All of the sudden a guitar comes rampaging out of nowhere in the fourth track with no keyboards and Er Hu for the first few 30 seconds. The track then continues in an eerie atmosphere only to be torn apart with rampaging black metal riffing at 1:37. The drum goes to a fast paced beat. Freddy then pulls off a mix of growls and shrieks which turns out to be an excellent concoction. There are some spoken parts in this track where the guitar goes to a halt which gives it an epic feel.
The fifth track is another amazing black metal opus, very atmospheric at the beginning then slaughtered with a heavy death metal sound, topped with excellent shrieks. There are also some spoken parts in this track. The spoken parts manage to give this track an amazing spooky feel. It sounds like the cry of a weeping lady. The keyboard sounds very interesting in this track. Drums are excellent with the help of crazy double pedaling. This track is a nice blend of At the Gates influenced melodic death and black metal. The sixth track, which has a long intro of Er Hu even, has a doom metal feel but it’s only instrumental. The seventh track “Sha Tu” is probably the catchiest track of all. The use of organs and guitar slides reminds me of Swedish melodic death metal. During the chorus, growls and shrieks were done at the same time. This track in my opinion is the highlight of the album. An excellent mix of eerie, spookiness and rampage this is. Around 3:13, a sad guitar solo comes in with a fast paced and clear mix of Er Hu and guitar sounds. The next track somehow reminds me of Amon Amarth’s style of melodic death, only with keyboards and Er Hu. However, at the one minute mark, the song burst into a high speed rampage and with, surprise, a keyboard shred. The track is around 8 minutes long, but the diversity of riffs makes it less boring. There is even a sad sounding guitar solo that sounds as if something that belongs to a power metal band. The last track is longest track and ranges around 13 minutes. Lots of At the Gates worship in this track.
To sum things up, the whole album is quite an experience. The band was very talented even before the days of Seediq bale. Be warned that there are no operatic vocals here. This album is sweet but Seediq bale is better in production and drumming.