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Chthonic Are Defenders Of Bu-Tik Palace


Following their  successful 2011 Album Takasago Army, Taiwan’s Chthonic tease their new album Bu-Tik with a video for their new song “Defenders of Bú-Tik Palace”. 

Founded in 1995, the band has drawn the attention of metal fans around the world to the small contested island-nation of Taiwan. With their first several albums, the band has dabbled in several genres ranging from power metal, to melodeath and melodic black metal. What separates Chthonic from the slew of other melodic metal outfits is their incorporation of  Asian folk instrumentation; in particular their inclusion of the Erhu (a traditional Chinese stringed instrument) which has subsequently become a recognizable trademark of the band.

Another distinctive feature of the band is their thematic styling which unlike other black metal bands, focuses on Taiwanese history and the promotion of aboriginal awareness and liberation. While many black and death metal bands rarely practice what they preach in terms of their thematic approach (Editor: some of them for very good reason) – members of Chthonic have taken several steps in the promotion of human rights and aboriginal recognition in their native Taiwan. In an odd way this heartfelt dedication to a particular cause through music to me is very admirable, and lends a certain credibility to the band that you may not otherwise see from an extreme metal band. Certainly with the existing strained relationship between Taiwan and mainland China, it is interesting to see that of all things a melodic black metal band is promoting Taiwanese independence and native rights on a global stage.

In terms of the video, the primary action and style of the video is over the top right from the get go. The video opens with a overview of a CG temple which is accentuated by strikes of lightning once the song kicks in. The video then shifts between a mixed profile of the band performing the song which is accented by blinding background lights. Amidst the band’s performance, the action shifts to a Kill Bill style combat sequence between the individual members of the band and a slew of ominous military personal. Spliced between the sequences of the band playing and the Kill Bill action are a few shots of whirling conjoined bodies which ultimately amalgamate into one large mass which dangles above the group by the end of the video.

While the video itself is a gaudy piece of enjoyable cheese, the music itself is very solid. The production value on the recording is top notch, and, in compliance with their melo-black roots there is a balance between the guitars and keyboards. What really separates this song/video from the throng of other modern melo-black groups is the incorporation of the Ehru which is rather subtle in the beginning of the song, but really comes alive after a slower melodic break that emerges as the centrepiece of the melody for the song. The band kicks into an epic tremolo/key passage which is capped off by the sound of the Ehru which to me, works perfectly amidst the vortex of guitars and vocals.

Bu-Tik is Chthonic’s seventh album and will be released in late May for Japan, Taiwan, and Finland, June 3rd for the U.K. and June 25th in North America via Spinefarm Records. 

What do you guys think? Should more bands use heavy/extreme metal as a political outlet? Is it appropriate? Does it affect the way you see a band? Do you enjoy the implementation of the folk instrumentation? Do you think having a static socio-political message lends credibility to a band’s music? Sound off in the comments!