CHTHONIC Mainman Discusses New Album

9:47 AM / Posted by metallic sucker and moslem militan /

Speed Beaver Music recently conducted an interview with vocalist Freddy Lim of the Taiwanese metal band CHTHONIC. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

Speed Beaver Music: OK, tell us about the new album, what is it called and what the idea of the album is, what's the concept?

Freddy: The album is called "Mirror of Retribution". A mirror of retribution is the first thing you will meet when you are in hell, the Taiwanese, Oriental hell. Through the mirror, you see all the bad things you and your relatives have done in your lifetime. Each spirit has to face the mirror of retribution then the ghost king will send him to the specific level of hell that he deserves. In the Oriental hell, there are ten ghost kings in ten courts and there are 18 levels of hell and hundreds of small levels. So it takes millions of years for you to serve your sentence. So the original idea is to show this philosophy of hell. All the Asians, Hong Kong, Singapore, China, Vietnam, share the same philosophy.

No other metal band has tried to do this. It's too big! So the question is how to do it. It not just like Satan and one burning hell. So in Taiwanese temples, there are some mediums there are people who can travel through heaven and hell and find people, find dead relatives and talk with them. So we needed a story, not just the facts. The story should be in Taiwanese history, so where is the crossover point between Taiwan and hell? So we found the point is the 228 incident which happened in 1947.

It's not just because it's the biggest massacre that happened in Taiwan, but that the last battle happened in front of a very important Taiwanese temple. So it makes sense that someone in the temple who is a medium would try to save his people, save the Taiwanese from the tyrannical KMT army. So he travelled to hell to try to rewrite the book of life and death. So the original idea is to write about the philosophy of hell and then we found the right story to link Taiwan to hell. That's the basic idea of the story.

The first half of the story is how he went to hell and how level by level he tried to find the book of life and death and tried to rewrite it. But then the ghost kings, wizards and monsters in hell found out that he is not a normal spirit, he's still alive, his spirit just left his body, so they, in the 6th song, all the spirits and ghost and monsters, they came from hell to the temple to try to put some seals on his body and suck his spirit back to his body and not allow him to escape from his body again. Then, he decided to kill himself as the only way to go back to hell. But he failed. The end of the story is that he is locked in front of the mirror of retribution for a billion years as his sentence. I think the most interesting part of this album is that we tried to group the same kinds of hells and put them together in one song. There are the mountain of knives and sword forests, different kind of sharp hells all grouped together.

Speed Beaver Music: How do you feel the album has progressed musically from the last one?

Freddy: I think Jessie and I write songs more. We have better chemistry to write songs together. Just like the earlier question, because we grouped the hells, so sometimes we said the hells are like sharpened weapons we need blast beat and fast rhythms and Jessie will have the same idea and we work so fast. Another example is the hell of heavy rocks and pressure things, it's so easy that through discussing hells, Jessie and I will have the same idea, so we need thrash riffs for these. So I think we have better chemistry and an easier concept of the album. So it works very naturally.

Speed Beaver Music: How long did you have the old makeup and what's the idea behind the new?

Freddy: We had the old makeup for about ten years. We changed it little by little, not like this time when we made a big change. Before, the old makeup, we tried to put some Taiwanese elements in but it didn't work very well. We found out that some fans, reviewers and critics couldn't figure it out. Some critics fought about whether CHTHONIC is black metal or not, doesn't worship Satan and so on, are folk metal. We thought we should let them know it's really hard to use the Western categories with us. We're inspired by the Western black metal, death metal bands, but we are Taiwanese, we write about local things, we're inspired by a lot of local pop and different kinds of artists.

Speed Beaver Music: That's one of the things that strikes me about your audience. At the Free Tibet concert, you had aboriginal music, rap, black metal and pop-rock and the audience stayed the same and the audience enjoyed everything! I think in Taiwan, people aren't religious about musical categorization.

Freddy: I totally agree with you. Especially in Taiwan, the rock history is not long, so the people they are interested in getting new stuff in as well as the musicians. They are interested in mixing different kinds of ideas in the music. So I think don't waste your time trying to categorize our music, just listen to it and see if you like it. All the metalheads in the world, you're just going to love it.

Read the entire interview from Speed Beaver Music.

New CHTHONIC concert photos can be found at this location.

"Mirror of Retribution" which will be released in the U.S. on September 1 via Spinefarm Records. The track listing for the CD is as follows:

01. Autoscopy
02. Blooming Blades
03. Hearts Condemned
04. Venom in my Veins
05. The Aroused
06. Sing Linng Temple
07. 1947
08. Forty Nine the Urgy Chains
09. Rise of the Shadows
10. Bloody Waves of Sorrow
11. Spell of Setting Sun
12. Unlimited Taiwan

The song "Rise of the Shadows" is available for streaming at the band's MySpace page.

CHTHONIC (pronounced "Thonic") is:

Freddy Lim - vocals
Doris Yeh - bass
Jesse Liu - guitar
Dani Wang - drums
CJ - piano/synthesizer



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