Album Review – Cthonic “Takasago Army” 2011

  One of the upsides to all the genre fragmentation happening in the metal scene these days is that it does give rise to bands like Cthonic who are capable of crystal-clear specialization. The name of the game is not to fill an arena or put a hit on the radio but to fully explore the concept at hand. Cthonic know who they are and exactly which stories they want to tell. 

The band hails from Taiwan, a hotbed of conflict and political maneuvering with a history of violence and oppression. Takasago Army tells a conceptual tale of the Taiwanese soldiers who fought for Japan in the Second World War, and were later on the frontlines of resistance when mainland Chinese forces occupied the island afterward. 

Sonically, the album is a lush fusion of symphonic black metal with traditional Asian sounds and instrumentation. The techniques scream Cradle of Filth (literally!) and the recording is rich yet precise. It’s one of the most crisp-sounding records I’ve heard since System Divide’s The Conscious Sedation. However, it’s the gut feeling of Takasago Army that really drives each track forward, a snarl of outrage that rivals Soulfly in its embrace of land, culture and resistance.

 Thoroughly enjoyable, and will leave you wanting to hear more. 8.5 out of 10

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