Chthonic – Bú-Tik (Spinefarm Records)Thursday, 27th June 2013
Not what one would call novel, but certainly unique, Taiwanese extreme metallers Chthonic have managed to capture the imagination of the Far East metal scene, which up until a few years ago, was largely dominated by either power or melodic death metal. At the present time, Chthonic is without question the biggest export from that part of the world, and it’s all done between the bounds of death and black metal, with some cultural touches added to the mix. Bú-Tik (the band’s seventh) should be considered another notch in Chthonic’s belt.
The cuts on Bú-Tik are action-packed, sort of like a high-wire cinema outing with multiple cut scenes and cool effects. Outside of some keyboard arrangements and spare native instrumentation, Chthonic makes headway with riffs of the melodic variety, laid out in a fashion that eludes Sweden and Finland, but bears the mark of its makers. It probably explains why the lavish “Supreme Pain of the Tyrant” and excellent “Rage of My Sword” can connect with Gothenburg and symphonic black metal territory. It’s not a combination of the two, yet the air and execution of the riffs leave plenty to the imagination for both styles.
Freddy Lim’s constant bark might be the only slight deterrent in an otherwise bountiful album. There’s plenty to cherry pick from, and these songs have traction (check out the somber outro of “Between Silence and Death”), which again, come from a familiar, but foreign-sounding spots. We’ll attribute that to Chthonic’s geographic standing, and the fact they’re a more complete band than people give them credit for.