Friday, December 3, 2010

Chthonic (erhu)

The first time I heard of Chthonic was when I saw them at Ozzfest in 2007. After seeing that they had an erhu (a Chinese 2-string violin), that they were from Taipei, Taiwan, and that they fought for human rights and Taiwanese independence from China, I have never forgotten them. They are a driven and impressive group - they were the first asian metal band ever to play at Ozzfest, they have been banned in parts of China for their political views, and they have also met with the Dalai Lama as a part of their human rights endeavors. Even though their music is more brutal than stuff I normally listen to, I am a sucker for bands with political motives, girl musicians, and ethnic instruments. It didn't hurt, too, that I am half-Taiwanese. They have very interesting corpse paint, which they call "ghost paint," (not pictured above) which actually corresponds to symbols and curses in Chinese mythology. They are a band which has a deep concept behind their musics, which is something I really appreciate.
They consider themselves an extreme metal band because their lyrics don't really fit into the black metal scene, but musically they have a very black metal sound. They utilize high screams, low grunts, fast tempos, eerie keyboard sounds and sometimes haunting choirs and female vocals. They even incorporate some thrash influences on their newest album, Mirror of Retribution. As far as lyrics go, they sing about oriental mythology of the underworld, ghost stories, tragedies, and the oppression and colonialism of Taiwan. (A word of warning, their lyrics can be very brutal)
Now, I don't know much about the erhu except that it's awesome. Chthonic used to have an erhu player named Su-Nung (pictured), but he left in 2009 and now the erhu is played by singer Freddy Lim. In their music, the erhu plays mournful melodies behind the heavy guitars and screaming, and sometimes plays traditional folk tunes.
While this is not a violin, I feel like the erhu melodies could be easily adapted on the violin. It's also a unique style of playing, and a good reference for metal violinists who are looking to add an asian feel to their music.

Recommended Songs: "Progeny of Rmdax Tasing," "Enthrone," "Blooming Blades," "49 Theurgy Chains," "Bloody Gaya Fulfilled"

Official Site:

"Progeny of Rmdax Tasing," great song! :

"Blooming Blades," listen @ 0:21 !! :


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