Symphonic black metal will always be first and foremost associated with Norway, a locale that seems to spawn a new band sporting ghoulish face paint every bloody day. But by 2007, the style had long crossed over into other faraway territories, as evidenced by the emergence of Taiwan's Chthonic. Already a sensation back home, the group -- led by singer Freddy Lim -- has been issuing albums on a regular basis in Taiwan since 1998. But it wasn't until 2006 that Chthonic issued their first proper U.S. release, Seediq Bale. Starting things off are three videos (as a result, when played on a standard CD player, for the first three tracks you hear, literally, nothing), before the metallic onslaught begins. What results is your standard/pro-sounding symphonic metal -- no big surprises or detours -- as evidenced by such ditties as "Progeny of Rmdax Tasing" and "Bloody Gaya Fulfilled." In fact, the only thing that's different about Chthonic is that the vocals alternate between being sung in English and Taiwanese -- but since most of Lim's vocals are growled, he could be speaking in Martian, and you wouldn't know the difference.
Seediq Bale Review
by Greg Prato