Taiwanese death metal and epic martial arts in Chthonic’s “Defenders of Bú-Tik Palace”

Chthonic: Bu-TikChthonic: Bú-Tik (Spinefarm, 6/18/13)

Taiwanese melodic-death-metal outfit Chthonic is a unique group in many ways. For one, it’s not every day that a symphonic metal group chooses to include a hena or erhu (a traditional two-string bowed fiddle) into the mix. Also, there’s the band’s ongoing advocacy of Taiwanese history and culture in its music, from lyrical content to music videos. In short, Chthonic is committed to its craft, and as the video for “Defenders of Bú-Tik Palace” shows, neither thunderstorm, nor gravity, nor sword-wielding cyborg general can stop it.

The group spent more than a month training and preparing for filming, and it ended up with a video that is impressively theatrical, cramming performance footage, wire-suspended fight sequences, and gratuitous amounts of erhu playing into the space of five-and-a-half minutes. It’s also the first martial-arts video to include Taiwanese historical monuments.

Aside from these details, the track itself is blazingly fast and technically sound. The use of erhu and guest vocals from Taiwanese opera actress Meiyun Tang play to the band’s style, which it has dubbed “orient metal.”