From our archives, Compass Magazine, JUN. 2002
By Selena Huang /Photos and Information provided by Crystal Records /Translated by Lisa Chiu
Most people’s first impression of this group is their white zombie-like make up and flamboyant stage presence. Freddy, one of the band members, says that their outrageous clothing and makeup are representative of their music, which is often characterized as “dark” heavy metal. Japanese magazine Burrn labeled ChthoniC’s music as “Symphonic Black Metal”.
The band was formed by Freddy, Doris, A-Jay, Jesse and Vivien. Other than the usual loud screams by the vocalist, accompanied by heavy drumming and bass, the group uses instruments such as the guitar and keyboards as well as traditional Chinese instruments, like the er-hu, to create a unique sound. The group first began performing in 1995, with the aim of establishing Taiwanese-style heavy metal. In May, 1998, the band released their first single and toured the island. In December that year, the band’s first album, “Ancestral Spirit”, was released. Three of the songs on that album describe how early Taiwanese emigrated to this island from China, a subject the group continued to elaborate on in their later works.
Their second album, “Soul”, had the main themes of “Taiwan culture” and “concept creativity”, with eight songs that dealt with the Chinese ethnic spirit and aboriginal spirit, as well as the hardships these groups have faced, especially in the early days of Taiwan. This was the group’s first concept album and the first album in Taiwan to deal with the spiritual aspects of aboriginal and Chinese culture.
In early 2002, Nightfall Records (the main sponsor of Milwaukee Festival) began distributing the English version of the second album worldwide. At the same time, the band’s third album, “Reincarnation”, was recorded in Denmark. It is based on an old story about a woman, named Lin Tou-chie, who was murdered by a jealous lover. After she was killed, her ghost remained on earth for a long, long time. The entire album is in Taiwanese. Vocals are used to create a vivid image of this tragic story, with accompanying drums, guitar and bass adding to the sadness and beauty of the tale. All of these elements combine to elevate this album to international standards.
Freddy: Lead singer and plays er-hu
Doris: Bassist, Female vocals
Vivien: Keyboards, female vocals