CHTHONIC - Relentless Recurrence

Chthonic - Relentless Recurrence

10 songs
56:54 minutes
***** ***
Tra / SPV


Chthonic from Taiwan have been around for ten years and have released four studio albums. As the band is very popular on its native island where it even won some kind of metal Grammy, their label thought that Chthonic would be ready for other parts of the world, which doesn’t include China where their music is not available due to the band’s pro-independence stance. What a pity that over a billion people cannot listen to a first class black metal act.

Relentless Recurrence is not a new album by Chthonic, but a re-release of their third album from 2002. Chthonic play melodic and symphonic black metal inspired by Dimmu Borgir and especially Cradle Of Filth. This doesn’t give them any chances to win an award of originality, but the musicians’ technical abilities are quite awesome. The album contains a lot of diversity, the breaks often aren’t unpredictable and the production is perfect. To distinguish themselves from their European counterparts, Chthonic use Asian flutes and an Er-Ha which is an oriental violin with two strings.

Relentless Recurrence starts with an oriental intro containing flutes, violins and a female choir putting you in the right mood for this album. Onset Of Tragedy is an opulent masterpiece where Northern guitars are meeting sounds from the East. The lyrics are about myths and legends from Taiwan which is no surprise as European black metal bands normally sing about Northern myths. A short boring whispered interlude follows. Speed is taking over again on the next two tracks which fascinate with dark vocals and a lot of keyboards. Again it’s time for a short violin interlude as the band intends to hop steadily from chaotic to calm parts. The album ends with faster songs, but the use of organs and pianos create dramatic and gothic atmospheres. Especially the female background vocals give the music an even more mystic touch.

Metal fans who like melodic black metal will adore Relentless Recurrence which is in my opinion one of the better albums of the genre. The cover artwork can be counted as one of the best I’ve seen in a long time. The CD is sold in a digipak with artistically stimulating black and white photos and sheet with the lyrics in English. Furthermore there is for each song a postcard with a photo and the lyrics in Chinese. This extraordinary artwork could help you decide whether or not to purchase Relentless Recurrence.

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