Chthonic - Takasago Army review
|Release date:||July 2011|
01. The Island
02. Legacy Of The Seediq
05. Southern Cross
07. Broken Jade
08. Root Regeneration
10. Quell The Souls In Sing Ling Temple
Mixed By: Rickard Bengtson, Sweetspot Studio.
Recorded By: Jesse Liu, Gecko Studio; CJ Kao, CJ Studio; Luxia Wu, Noiz Studio; Rickard Bengtson, Sweetspot Studio.
Mastered by Mats Limpan Lindfors at Cuttingroom, Stockholm, Sweden.
It's a Battle metal record, folks!
Yes, again. Welcome to another edition of personal struggle and starving for identity and independence that Chthonic's new album Takasago Army presents. For people not acquainted with this band, I recommend you to pick any album of Chthonic and check for yourself. After all, these Taiwanese are pretty good in the rehashing department. Well, musically - no, lyrically and stylistically - big yes.
I'm quite amazed by the response I saw towards Takasago Army (on and outside MS) and shocked to see that people haven't listened to their early records at all. Only a couple of years back (in 2009) my colleague MetaNoir (in reviewing Mirror Of Retribution) said something about Chthonic's music:
Chthonic approximately the Far East's version of Brit nasty, filthy and evil worshippers of Cradle of Filth.
Takasago Army is no different. The only thing I liked about, of course, musically is that they altered the vision and now injecting it with tremendous amount of folk traits and traditional instrumentation like Erhu (Taiwanese two-string violin), stringed instruments the Koto and Shamisen, Tibetan bells, Shakuhachi and Pgaki flutes, making the musical direction unique, interesting and different from Legacy Of The Seediq and Mirror Of Retribution. The album starts off with an instrumental track which simply can be a theme or background score for ancient Japanese battle movies. After that, vocalist Freddy Lim tried real hard to sounds like Nergal of Behemoth from "Legacy Of The Seediq" to "Southern Cross" where the metal married to folk approach is flowing and palpable. The first half has relatively short tracks closing in to 3 min each, which doesn't have much of an impact to the start of the record.
The real strength lay in the last half of the album where the momentum of ferociousness and awesome blends of folk elements with melodic metal seen from "Kaoru" until the album finishes. You can feel the extremes of emotion and surreal atmosphere as the triumphant roaring turns to introspective disenchantment. With the band's forte of expressing about historical events, the album once again went on to the path of native mythology like in "Oceanquake" (where gods protect Takasago soldiers from foes and misfortunes) and "Quell The Souls In Sing Ling"(Wubus surrendering himself for his companions). The production seems to be better from previous releases and the guitars take the central role which was previous occupied by synths and melodies. Other than that, I don't think it is much difference here. You can almost hear Dimmu Borgir's Puritanical Euphoric-vibes throughout the album.
Overall, I strongly feel that Takasago Army was exclusively rehashed from two strong albums Seediq Bale and Mirror Of Retribution with an awesome use of traditional folk instruments (as covered above). As always there's a strong political mission with Chthonic and the only good thing which comes out of this is the modified musical direction, which I think will be the only factor as to why fans are gonna buy this record. Not my personal favorite but if I ever have to choose I'll pick Seediq Bale over this.
Highlights - "Mahakhala" "Broken Jade".
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