Saturday, June 29, 2013

symphonic, melodic, modern black metal: Chthonic (Taiwan): "Bú-Tik"

symphonic, melodic, modern black metal: Chthonic (Taiwan): "Bú-Tik"
This is the band's 7th album. Once again, it is nothing, if not professional quality music. They play fast-blasting most of the time, but the constant use of keyboards, symphonics, clean vocals, clean melodic guitars and other instrumentation, they make their songs a bit easier to know, even though it can be a little blurry at times. Not quite instant gratification, but also not monotony.
Consistent and reliable, they continue to walk the path they set out for themselves years ago: melodic, fast black metal. The guitar work is crisp and clear, with their heavy use of play-on/thrashy riffs to play fast, while letting the keyboards add a major component of melody. The guitar solos are more melodic, but the rhythms are that chunky-semichugging-play-on buzzing speed.
Thus, the keyboards and the vocal lines take the main stage in terms of memorability, and the guitars and drums have a somewhat less important role, in that respect. The guitars come to forefront when called upon, and they recede to the background during the speed.
I think the band has done a solid job with the album. To me, they are still searching for the big breakthrough album that will propel them into greatness. By now, this band is consummate professionals, very experienced, and it shows. That breakthrough is still in sight! They are not resting on their past glories, and ultimately, that's what it's all about, working towards the great album.
By the way, the drum sound on this album is very plastic, clicky and highly computerized. It does not sound like real drums. It is a very tight and fast sound, but the drum rolls sound cartoonish-plastic because they sound so blurry-fast that it does not sound real. Of course, this type of drum sound is a HUGE problem in metal music. I wonder if this is the bands' decision, or if the bands are getting pressured by the studio/engineers/producers/record labels/experts to just go with this sound because it's what "everyone" is doing. In that sense, Chthonic is just doing what many, many other metal bands are doing, so it is not a particular problem of this album or band.

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