Chthonic (sometimes typeset ChthoniC) is a Taiwanese Melodic Black Metal band, formed in 1995 in Taipei. The group incorporates influences from traditional Taiwanese music including instruments such as the erhu (which is called a hena in their native Taiwanese).
Since their formation, Chthonic released four studio albums, starting in 1999 with the debut Where the Ancestors' Souls Gathered, followed by 2000's 9th Empyrean, in 2002 Relentless Recurrence, and 2006's Seediq Bale.
The band's stated goal is to use their music to bring ancient history and mythology into the modern era, especially the tragic history and unique myths of Taiwan (for example, those of the Seediq people). The name "Chthonic" is a Greek word which refers to the earth and can have implications of the underworld.
In 2003, they won the Best Band Award at the Taiwan Golden Melodies Award Ceremony. The band is also banned in parts of China for their political views.
The lead vocalist, Freddy Lim, is notably active in the political scene and supports Taiwan independence.
In 2007 he and other artists organized an international music festival to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the 228 Incident, entitled "Spirit of Taiwan: With justice we cure this nation".
On March 30, 2007, it was confirmed that Chthonic were to be part of the 2007 Ozzfest tour as a rotating second stage act. While taking part in Ozzfest, they also toured as a support act for Nile in July and August and as a headliner in September.
On August 3, 2007, Chthonic flew from the United States to Germany to play at Wacken Open Air. Unfortunately, their instruments were not delivered on time, so Su-Nung had to play a keyboard instead of his erhu.
The band begun recording of their upcoming album, titled Mirror of Retribution, in May of 2008. The album was recorded in The A Studio in Hollywood, California, and was produced by Rob Caggiano. On October 11th, 2008, Doris stated at the time that the album was complete, and that mastering of the album should be finished by the following week. Freddy announced that the album will be released in early 2009. So far, 3 tracks (Rise of The Shadows, Venom In My Veins, and 49 Theurgy Chains) have been confirmed to be on the album. Freddy also announced at a concert in Taichung that Er-hu player Su-Nung will be leaving the band in 2009 to follow his own career path.
While some songs have their lyrics partly or entirely written in Taiwanese, Japanese, or Taiwanese aboriginal language, most of the band's songs have their lyrics written entirely in classical Chinese (with Mandarin pronunciation), which is rarely seen in contemporary Chinese music. Taking advantage of classical Chinese's feature of being a monosyllabic language, many songs, especially those in earlier albums, used plenty of parallel sentences in their lyrics to create an epic atmosphere.
The themes mostly surround early Taiwanese colonizers' defiant spirit, fictional war between aborigine's gods with Han's gods, Taiwanese folklore and mythology, and the historical event known as Wushe Incident, which is a rebellion against Japanese governor by Seediq people.
Although the lyrics are quite profound compared to most contemporary Taiwanese songs, many Taiwanese people don't prefer black metal vocals and said that they couldn't understand anything sung by Freddy, which is probably why Chthonic is said to be more famous in western countries than in Taiwan.
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