ChthoniC, praised as one of the best bands performed at the Ozzfest in 2007 by the New York Times, is a heavy metal band born in Taiwan over a decade ago. ChthoniC was invited to perform at the Fuji Rock Festival in Japan in 2000, and was the winner of “best group” award at the Taiwanese 14th Golden Melody Awards in 2003. In 2007, Chthonic was invited to perform at the biggest rock festival in the US, the Ozzfest, the Wacken Open Air music festival in Germany, and was the first Taiwanese band to take part in the MIDEM, an international music expo held in Cannes, France. In September of 2010, ChthoniC was also played Loud Park Festival in Japan in 2010.
In 2006, ChthoniC was dubbed “the band to watch” by the popular music magazine Revolver. In the second half of the same year, ChthoniC’s North American and European tours made it to renowned music magazines including Terrorizer, Metal Hammer, Rock Sounds, Kerrang!, as well as international media outlets such as the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and the TV netowrk ABC in the US. ChthoniC’s outstanding achievements in more than a decade have made it a star among Asian metal bands in the eyes of North American and European rockers.
After inking a contract with Spinefarm Records/Universal Music in 2009, the band released its fifth album in September of that year, Mirror of Retribution, and completed two UK and North American tours through over 30 cities in the US, UK, and Canada. ChthoniC’s popularity in Europe and in North America boosted rapidly after the 2009 tours.
Besides being a familiar face in major music magazine worldwide, ChthoniC was voted to win the second place in both “best band” and “best album” by readers of the UK rock magazine Terrorizer in January, 2010. In addition, each member of the band was honored with the eighth to the second places as best musicians.
In 2010, ChthoniC will release a new single in September, and the band is going to have their solo concerts over Singapore, Hong Kong, Macau, and Vietnam during summer to fall, and has already confirmed to play in “Loud Park”, the biggest metal festival in Japan during mid Oct, from the end of November, ChthoniC will launch their UK Tour with Arch Enemy and Sabbath.
Recounting myth and history with music
In their first album Where the Ancestors’ Souls Gathered, ChthoniC recounted the crossing of the Taiwan Strait by ancestors of Han Taiwanese. The second album, 9th Empyrean, is an epic poem describing a battle between immortals of Taiwanese Aborigines and Hans. In their third album Relentless Recurrence, the band gave new life to the tragedy of the Screw Pine Lady, while the fourth album, titled Seediq Bale, manifested the true spirit of Taiwan’s Seediq Aborigines in their struggle against Japanese colonial rule. ChthoniC’s fifth album Mirror of Retribution, released by Spinefarm/Universal Music in August last year, blended the oriental idea of the hell and the 228 Massacre, a true historic event. Mirror of Retribution is the work that all members of the band are highly satisfied with, since it was completed after two years of touring and breaks. ChthoniC’s latest album was highly evaluated by most of the major rock magazines.
Unlike western heavy metal bands, ChthoniC’s music features Taiwanese mythology, history, and mixes in traditional Taiwanese tunes and melodies created with five-note scale. International music reviewers have attempted to label the music of ChthoniC with western music categories like “black metal”, “death metal”, and “folk metal”—however, they all failed to accurately define ChthoniC’s music with terms familiar to the traditional metal genres. On the other hand, senior British music critique Dante Bonutto identified ChthoniC’s music as “heavy metal unique to Taiwan”.
New Face Paint with Mystical Incantation and Traditional Culture
ChthoniC members changed the makeup they wear as the new album came around. They replaced western heavy metal makeup with elements of face paint for the Eight Generals of a Taiwanese ritual dance, and of Taoist incantations. Their new look made themselves center of discussion among many heavy metal fans and metallers around the world.