Chthonic – Takasago Army

I like to think of metal as a universal language that cuts through all the crap that makes different people at odds with each other and brings them together for a cathartic sweaty good time. If you need any evidence of this go check out the documentary “Heavy Metal in Baghdad” or Sam Dunn’s “Global Metal”. People everywhere love metal. Naturally, you can also find metal bands from just about everywhere, and they all bring their own special touches and nuances to the music that make it personal to them and keep metal fresh and interesting.

Chthonic are a Taiwanese band who have been bringing the metal for years now, and while their core is the same metal we all know and love, they also incorporate symphonic elements and aspects of traditional Taiwanese music as well. I love to hear music like this. I mean not only does traditional Asian music sound badass when combined with metal, but it’s so cool that they can add that piece of who they are and where they come from to their music. The same applies for other parts of the world. Middle Eastern themes and music also sound great with metal, and I think we all know by now that Sepultura proved metal works with percussive Brazilian music. Folk metal and Viking metal; it’s all good.

Anyway, “Takasago Army” is the new album (their 6th) and I’m not surprised to find that it sounds awesome. As usual the production is superb and the instrumentation is epic and brilliant. Machine gun drums lay the foundation for tight yet fluid speedy guitar riffs that dash in and out of the massive rhythm low end. The vocals, in various shades of harsh, penetrate the mix like demons emerging from the mist. If I had to pair them with another band to describe the atmosphere of the music I would say they would go well with Dimmu Borgir. They don’t sound alike, but they both have that larger than life epic sound that just gets my blood pumping.

I can’t think of a single thing I would change about this album. It’s great as it is. And in closing I must respectfully mention that bass player Doris is one of the most beautiful women in metal. She rocks. Just saying.