ChthoniC - _9th Empyrean_
(Nightfall Records, 2002)
by: Aaron McKay (7 out of 10)
I have no idea, honestly, how I came into possession of this disc. I am not serviced by this label, I have never heard of this group nor could I truthfully tell you that I can even pronounce their name correctly for the record. All that aside, this Taiwanese outfit embodies quality that is imbued with elaborations found only in avant-garde black metal. Because of this disc, that is no longer true. ChthoniC has forged a melding of black metal and atmospheric harmonies that makes its own path like a cooling lava stream. I am not telling anything most of you don't already know, but such a unique trait for independent musical creativeness is become more rare than a search for meaning in the American Democrat party. While that is neither here nor there, ChthoniC is a band of some longevity to their existence. Recently this five-piece celebrated their nearly half a decade anniversary as a band at a celebration party in Hong Kong. Passing their music off as an escape to other worldliness, this band takes eight tracks of heavy keyboards and strong, but subdued guitars to heights of limited by imagination only. An ancient feel of warped divinity plagues this band, however. I have grown weary of the "more evil than thou" mentality prevalent in metal of all genres, but ChthoniC, at least on the surface, seems to keep this in check. I enjoy the isolated feel and unnaturally warm feel of this group, but a greater focus of energy toward venturesome riffs with more of a heightened spirit of the Taiwanese culture, like on track eight, "Guard the Isle of Eternally", would benefit Chthonic immensely.

(article published 3/21/2003)


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