Review – Chthonic: Bú-Tik

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Review – Chthonic: Bú-Tik
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Chthonic: Bú-Tik
Melodic Black Metal, Melodic Death Metal
Spinefarm Records
June 25th, 2013
Release length: 41:56
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Taiwan’s Chthonic have built up a very strong and loyal fan base over the years. They formed back in 1995, and since 1999’s debut Where the Ancestors’ Souls Gathered have been tearing the Metal world apart. It wasn’t until Seediq Bale in 2005 that they started to get a name outside of their home country though. Over the course of their career, they have changed their sound around on some albums, and not always for the better, such as 2011’s Takasago Army. For 2013, they bring they seventh full-length release Bú-Tik to their anxious fans. Does this one top their previous effort, or is it another that is more mediocre than anything?

“Arising Armament (Intro)” is a superb atmospheric piece. It starts with a horn being blown in the distance, which also appear on “Undying Rearmament (Outro), and small bits of drums native to their land crash and create an interesting rhythm that builds some tension well, later accompanied by additional keyboards. This continues to grow into a bit of an epic performance that perfectly gets the listener ready for the songs that follow. “Supreme Pain for the Tyrant” has a nice touch of aggression to the faster paced riffs, and the leads lend some memorable melodic hooks that the keyboards top with some moving emotions. “Rage of My Sword” kicks off with some high-pitched horns compared to the intro and outro tracks, moving into some blistering drumming that builds the tension well before heading into battle. There’s a good deal of technicality to the main verses, finding much of the melody left up to the keyboards, carried over well into the chorus, though the bridge between then does slow the pace down a bit, making it all the more glorious once it hits.

“Between Silence and Death” does have some thinner riffs, but the band makes up for that by making it impossible to not bang your head along to the groove they carry, and easily the most emotional chorus, and matching guitar solo, you’ll find on this album. Some of the early Melodic Death Metal hooks that appear through the album, especially right after that rich section, really stick with the listener, benefiting greatly from the always on enthusiasm Chthonic possesses. This proves a worthy factor to their success again with “Set Fire to the Island,” another intense track with a somewhat emotional chorus that finds additional clean singing at work, a stark contrast to the later dark and dismal passages of “Defenders of Bú-Tik Palace.” The song begins like the many before it, but about one-third of the way in, the pace slows and the music creates a storm cloud over your head that continues through the rest of the song. The bass kicks here even find the click to sound a bit tighter and more thunderous, which does give way when the pace picks up and we are greeted with some additional female clean singing that is rather beautiful against the ominous musical landscape that becomes chaotic with what sounds like layered voices that are distorted in the studio.

Bú-Tik is obviously more of a Melodic Death Metal recording than a Melodic Black Metal one, but it leads to one of the most awe-inspiring Chthonic experiences available. The only weak track here is “Next Republic,” which is thanks largely to the inconsistent nature of the music, starting off edgy but moving to an upbeat, even fun chorus. Other than that, there’s plenty of great songs that will be stuck in your head much longer than the album will be lodged in your player or digital playlist. Even if you’re not a fan, this is a release you simply must hear.

01. Arising Armament – 2:32
02. Supreme Pain for the Tyrant – 4:55
03. Sail Into the Sunset’s Fire – 4:09
04. Next Republic – 4:20
05. Rage of My Sword – 4:47
06. Between Silence and Death – 4:47
07. Resurrection Pyre – 5:10
08. Set Fire to the Island – 3:55
09. Defenders of Butik Palace – 5:53
10. Undying Rearmament – 1:51
Initial Pressing Score: 9.5/10

Chthonic (band)
Chthonic

Digital review copy of this release provided by Spinefarm Records via Earsplit PR.