While Taiwan is considered home of Austronesian peoples, and a mystic island nation in the Orient, advanced technologies and modern cities are also part of the image of Taiwan. The metal band Chthonic has given the best interpretation to the contrasting images of the country.
Chthonic's lyrics are inspired by Taiwanese mythology, folk stories, and history, and the music incorporates elements of traditional Taiwanese folk music, enka, and sorrowful melody from Taiwanese opera, accompanied by traditional Taiwanese musical instruments, such as hena, zheng -also known as "box zither"- and pgaku flute. Also integral parts of Chthonic's music are elements from contemporary symphonic black metal, melodic death metal, blood-boiling riffs and solos. Critiques have tried to label Chthonic's music as black metal, death metal or folk metal, but Chthonic has chosen to use the term orient metal to define this genre of heavy metal music that's unique to Taiwan.
From Fuji Rock and Loud Park in japan, to Ozzfest in the US, Download in the UK, and WOA in Germany, Chthonic has been to major music festivals around the world, and has had toured over 200 shows in more than 30 countries. Chthonic is certainly one of the most active Asian bands in the world of metal.
In Taiwan, several of Chthonic's albums were on the pop-music charts, and the band has been awarded the "Golden Melody Award"-the Taiwanese version of the Grammy Award. Besides being Chthonic, band members are also active in different fields. Doris, the bassist and the band leader, has advocated a women's rights organization, and acted in movies; the drummer Dani is working hard in music education to bring up younger generation musicians; the guitarist Jesse and the keyboard player CJ are involved in production of many albums of Taiwanese bands; the lead vocalist, Freddy, is active in public affairs relating to human rights and social justice issues. And now he is a member of the Taiwanese parliament.
Chthonic's recent albums include Seediq Bale (2007), Mirror of Retribution (2009), Takasago Army (2011), and Bú-Tik (2013)--all were released by Spinefarm/Universal Music worldwide, with positive feedbacks from music critiques. Chthonic has also had concert tours in Europe, North America and Asia following the albums' releases. In 2014, an acoustic album Timeless Sentence was released, with unplugged concerts in cooperation with MTV Taiwan. Right now, Chthonic is working on its new movie, in which Randy Blythe, the lead vocalist of Lamb of God, also played a role. The movie is scheduled to be in theaters by the middle of 2017, and a new EP will be out with the movie.