Taiwan's biggest metal export, the symphonic black metal band CHTHONIC, will release its fourth album, "Seediqbale", on October 3 through Down Port Music/RED.
The weepy sounds of the er-hu, a two-string violin that dates back to Tang dynasty (618-907), gives CHTHONIC's music an ethnic flare while adding another eerie layer to the band's sounds of strife and tragedy.
"The Oriental two-string Violin is a common traditional instrument in many Eastern Asian countries like Taiwan, Korea, China, Hong-Kong, and Singapore," said vocalist Freddy. "What is special about it is its plaintive, sad tone. I decided to learn from a traditional musician and started to play it in CHTHONIC's music."
CHTHONIC has stirred up controversy in the past with its strong Taiwanese pro-independence stance, which has been the focus of much of the band's past material. In keeping with its culturally-inspired concepts, "Seediqbale" reaches further back into Taiwanese history to the legend of the Seediq and its struggle with Japan over land and religion.
Like two of the band's previous albums, "Seediqbale" was recorded at Borsing Recordings in Denmark. "When CHTHONIC was formed in 1996, there was no extreme metal scene in Taiwan, not to mention the studios capable of producing this kind of music," said Freddy. "So when we were prepared for our first album, we compared some of the black metal albums we had and chose ILLDISPOSED's album, because we liked its recording quality. Then we hooked up with the studio that recorded that album and became good friends with the boss, Jan Borsing. He has been working with us since then, including in some big live concerts in Taipei as our sound engineer."
Hailing from a country with a little-known metal scene, CHTHONIC has gained national attention in its native land where it was awarded "Best Rock Group" at the 14th annual Golden Melody Awards, the Eastern Asian equivalent of a Grammy. The award was presented to the band by none other than the country's President Chen Shui-bian. "Music is more powerful, more moving than politicians," the President said before the band joined him on stage.
The group capped off that momentous year by playing the annual New Year's Eve live, nationally broadcasted concert in front of President's Hall and the release of the band's Mandarin theme for the 21st Century Fox Taiwan release of "Freddy vs. Jason".
CHTHNONIC's previous albums, "Where the Ancestors' Souls Gathered", "9th Empyrean", and "Relentless Recurrence", have been recorded in both Mandarin and English.
The group made its United States debut at the 2002 Metal Meltdown festival and returned that year for a performance at the Milwaukee Metalfest.