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Chthonic’s Bú-Tik is potentially one of the year’s sleeper hits

Chthonic - Bu-Tik

Jovian raised the proverbial alarm over Taiwanese band Chthonic a couple of week ago when their video for new track “Defenders of Bú-Tik Palace” came out. It was fun and cheesy, and hopefully clued a fair few of you in to this relatively little-known group, who are known for utilising oriental instrumentation in conjunction with the more standard metal repertoire, creating some pretty awesome death metal in the process.

The band’s new album Bú-Tik has since been released via Spinefarm Records, and luckily it’s being streamed in full via Soundcloud. Check it out:

The early use of this instrumentation kind of threw me off, but it integrates nicely, and turns out to be a great record. The production is awesome, and the extra touches added by things like the erhu and oriental vocals give it a unique dimension.

Bassist Doris Yen has said of it:

[quote-symbol symbol1]The music production of Bú-Tik is very close to Takasago Army which we are quite satisfied with it. The structures of songs of Bú-Tik are a little bit different from Takasago Army. Songs of Bú-Tik are more fluent, smooth, and natural.

I was surprised to hear that Bú-Tik is Chthonic’s seventh album, but they’ve been going since 1995, so I guess it makes sense. They’re very active politically; vocalist Freddy Lim is a staunch supporter of Taiwanese independence, as well as being part of Amnesty International and an activist in preserving and promoting aboriginal awareness.

Lyrically they cover a lot of ground, from local history to folklore, and a lot of it is traditionally sung in classical Chinese, which certainly lends to the flavour. International versions, such as this, are also translated into English, which is very accommodating to us uncultured Western dumb-dumbs.

The more I see and hear, the more interested I am in this band, so I hope maybe I’ll get to see them live sometime soon – their stage show is meant to be quite impressive, with costumed shenanigans abound. They are in fact playing Download Festival this year, but alas, I am not going this year. Maybe another time.

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