Chthonic - Takasago Army
Spinefarm Records
Melodic Black Metal
10 songs (41:29)
Release year: 2011
Chthonic , Spinefarm Records
Reviewed by Jaime
If you were to say that a metal band was to become something of a political ambassador a few years ago you probably would have been laughed at before you could whip out the Ferrero Rocher. But since they broke out of Taiwan in 2006 with Seediq Bale Chthonic have been trying their damnedest to make their case for their country's independence, although one could argue that half of the western metal mags tend to drool over their bassist instead. However their latest album, Takasago Army, has a somewhat... different theme. While no single army is free from their share of atrocities, the crimes committed by the Japanese Imperial Army during the Second World War have sat amongst the worst that have been documented, especially in recent times, and while I understand Chthonic's wont for being proud of their heritage I must admit that I find their dedication to this topic and their nation's contribution to the Japanese war effort rather questionable. It sticks even moreso after Seediq Bale, which was based around the aboriginal Taiwanese fighting against the Japanese occupying forces at that time, to this, where they were a volunteer force, and even if they were at different time periods (although not massively) it's a very strange shift to go from one to the other. While the band may simply be promoting some of their country's history, one would have imagined that their part in the Second World War would not have been the most shining example to use.

While the theme of the album could be discussed at great length the music itself is a bit of a letdown. It suffers from a ridiculously drum heavy production, the bass is lost in the mix and the guitars are barely distinguishable, not to mention the fact that you've heard this sort of thing all before, traditional instruments or not. The first song proper, Legacy of the Seediq has an amateurish sounding tempo change between verse and chorus which doesn't really set up you up for the rest of the album. Lead single Takao is easily the strongest on display irrespective of the production (I swear I heard the kick drum distorting at points, which is a massive no no for any sound engineer). Its anthemic chorus works remarkably well and the song on the whole is pretty powerful. Kaoru gets a few extra points for using Doris' otherworldly vocals, but there's nothing else of note. And uhh... that's about it. The rest aren't bad, but aren't exactly going to stick in your head and if they do you'll probably think that it's another band instead. Case in point, the only song I can remember from the album is Takao, so at least they chose the right one for promotional purposes.

I don't know if I was expecting more out of the band, perhaps something a bit more interesting to go along with their concept, but ultimately they're produced something that just sits in the middle of the road, with any aggression coming across as synthetic due to a combination of a questionable mix and, basically, dull songs. It’s a tad difficult to recommend it to anyone without thinking of other things that are more worthy of their time, and doesn't improve with any repeated listens, but if you have nothing else that you want to sink your teeth into give it a shot. Just don't expect anything mindblowing.
Killing Songs :
Jaime quoted 64 / 100
Other albums by Chthonic that we have reviewed:
Chthonic - Bú-Tik reviewed by Jared and quoted 78 / 100
Chthonic - Mirror Of Retribution reviewed by Goat and quoted 84 / 100
Chthonic - Seediq Bale reviewed by Goat and quoted 84 / 100
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There are 6 replies to this review. Last one on Wed Aug 31, 2011 5:24 pm
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