Bat­tle­fields Of Asura NAPALM Tai­wanese war­riors un­dergo an epic iden­tity cri­sis

Metal Hammer (UK) - - Albums. Lives. Merch. - ADAM REES

Metal has al­ways seen it­self as a re­bel­lious counter-cul­ture force, and in re­cent years the num­ber of bands from ev­ery cor­ner of the Earth us­ing it as a plat­form to strive for change or even just stick the digit up by play­ing loud gui­tars in coun­tries where it’s deemed il­le­gal is some­thing ev­ery met­al­head can surely em­brace. Few are as praised for this spirit than Chthonic, who have long been ac­claimed for more than just their mu­si­cal ac­com­plish­ments given their ac­tivism in their na­tive Tai­wan, and it’s im­pres­sive we’ve only had to wait five years for a new al­bum given front­man Freddy Lim’s po­si­tion as a legis­ta­tor in the coun­try’s gov­ern­ment.

It’s clear that the band’s colos­sal-sound­ing eighth ef­fort is no mere side-project. heavily util­is­ing the sym­phonic el­e­ments that came to the fore on 2013’s award-win­ning Bú-Tik al­bum, Bat­tle­fields Of Asura could eas­ily duke it out with the Eu­ro­pean heavy­weights for the ti­tle of most epic and op­u­lent al­bum of 2018. With only Freddy’s se­vere vo­cals re­main­ing from their ex­treme be­gin­nings, it’s a sound that fits the lyri­cal aes­thetic, draw­ing on myth­i­cal sto­ries to ex­plore themes of re­sis­tance and mod­ern Tai­wanese pol­i­tics. how­ever, it takes un­til the cin­e­matic scope of the fourth track, A Crim­son Sky’s Com­mand, for the dra­matic wall of sound to have the de­sired im­pact, with sub­tle East­ern mo­tifs that have long been their hall­mark. Taste The Black Tears towers, with Jesse Liu’s re­gal gui­tar lines win­ning the duel for promi­nence over the soar­ing strings and horns, while the melodeath riffs and choral bom­bast of One Thou­sand Eyes and Carved In Blood­stone send the al­bum hurtling to­wards the ma­jes­tic fury of the fi­nale, Mil­lenia’s Faith Un­done. As with the best of sym­phonic metal, Bat­tle­fields Of Asura con­jures a tremen­dous spec­ta­cle, but it’s one that slightly loses what made Chthonic so unique in the first place.


Chthonic: Taipei per­son­al­i­ties

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