Label: Ciong Zo Idea Corporation Playing Time: 40 Min Release: 12th October 2018
Taiwan can be hardly found on the international Metal map. But there is one exception: Chthonic. The band which releases albums on a regular basis, and has done so since 1998, reached international level a couple of years ago. They became famous in Europe with their shows at the Wacken Open Air and the Ozz Fest. And the band is also very busy outside the music business. Especially vocalist Freddy is known for his political activity, for example as chairman of Amnesty International in Taiwan or as a deputy in the Taiwanese parliament.
On their albums, the band did not deal with politics, rather with myth and folklore of their home country. The band does not break with this tradition in their 23rd year of existence. The topic of Battlefields of Asura is the Taiwanese gods.
In terms of music, the band plays a mixture of Black and Death Metal, enriched with traditional instruments from their home country. The beginning of the album goes into this direction. However, the first songs are the weakest of the album. Why on earth has the band placed them at the beginning… Especially the keyboards, which are far too loud in the mix, strike a nerve as the playing time advances. The quality of the music increases with ‘Tast The Black Tears’. The keys are supporting the song much better than before, hence the song gets a nice, bombastic but also evil vibe. ‘Carved In Bloodstone’ is a huge contrast to the other songs because it features some sort of Power Metal vocals – which also increases the amount of variation in the track list. Also the final track ‘Millennia’s Faith undone’ is again well done.
All in all, the album includes three great songs. For a band with the amount of experience like Chthonic this is simply not enough. Next time the band should go easier on keyboards. Sometimes less is even more!