CHTHONIC: Articulate, Thoughtful Face Of Symphonic Black Metal

December 3, 2006

Alexander Chou of the Taiwan Journal reports:

For the majority of young people in Taiwan, the singer called Wubai is considered an icon of rock'n'roll. When it comes to heavy metal, however, there is no doubt that the symphonic black metal band CHTHONIC and its vocalist, Freddy Lin, are at the top of their genre. Lin and his band, hailed as the BLACK SABBATH of Asia by the Taipei Times, released their fourth album, "Seediqbale", on Oct. 3, and it hit No. 2 on CMJ Loud Rock's metal charts within a week of its debut.

In November, Lin was invited to attend a convention panel at the Music Marathon held at Lincoln Center in New York, at which he joined musicians from such big-name bands as COAL CHAMBER, KITTIE and UNEARTH. Metal icons from the genre's golden age were in attendance as well, including TWISTED SISTER, DOKKEN and BIOHAZARD.

During the discussion session, Lin described the theme of his latest album. It is the tragic story of an aboriginal group in Wushe and how the hero Monaludao led his Atayal warriors in an uprising against the imperial Japanese army, which then ruthlessly massacred the tribe during the Japanese colonial period (1895-1945).

The musician is not shy about expressing his love for Taiwanese history and is open about his political stance, which is that Taiwan is an independent country. This is exemplified by the fact that CHTHONIC has performed many times at political rallies organized by the island's pan green forces, which are pro-Taiwan sovereignty.

"I always want to explain to people that Taiwan is not a part of China," said the vocalist, who believes that a real rock 'n' roll band should always carry an important message in its music, be it in support of world peace, human rights, environmental protection or some other cause.

As a loyal fan of Wubai, Lin said he thought that the Taiwanese icon should convey an even stronger social message to his audience. "I'm surprised by the acts of other vocal artists who claim to have been inspired by rock music from the West and yet seemingly refuse to listen to the underlying theme of much of that music," commented the singer, who admitted to feeling somewhat betrayed.

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