ALARM's 51 Favorite Albums of 2013

ALARM’s 51 Favorite Albums of 2013

Saving the best for last, we’ve chosen our 51 favorite albums of 2013, pulled from the acclaimed and the unsung — some of the best as well as most boundary-pushing releases from rock and beyond.


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.

Chthonic's Rhythm Crusher

Got rhythm? Taiwanese thrashers Chthonic challenge fans with mobile game

Taiwanese extreme-metal band Chthonic’s latest album is in the bag, and while it’s being mixed in Sweden, the band is taking care of other business — notably, promoting its recent mobile game, Rhythm Crusher. It’s similar to other play-along games on the market, but it features Chthonic’s brutality and metal background art. And the band is promoting it in a unique, take-it-to-the-streets fashion.

Doris Yeh

Queens of Rock: Chthonic’s Doris Yeh

This content appears in the July/August iPad edition of ALARM Magazine. Download it for free and keep reading!

takasago armyChthonic: Takasago Army (Spinefarm, 7/6/11)


Chthonic: “Takao”

Since the late 1990s, Hsiang-Yi “Doris” Yeh has served as the leader and bassist of Chthonic, a Taiwanese metal outfit that utilizes the traditional Asian erhu. The band shreds, but its members have a more important mission: supporting internationally recognized independence for Taiwan from the People’s Republic of China.

The members have been a voice for Tibetan freedom as well — vocalist Freddy Lim, who doubles as the chairman of Amnesty International Asia Pacific, met with the Dalai Lama in 2009 in advance of a “Free Tibet” benefit concert — and they remain outspoken in support of the Uyghur people of China.

That would be solid enough as a day job, but Ms. Yeh, who has appeared on the cover of GQ Taiwan, also moonlights as a sex symbol. Maybe China should rethink that whole blacklisting thing…

Doris Yeh

50 Unheralded Albums from 2011

50 Unheralded Albums from 2011

In just one more trip around the sun, another swarm of immensely talented but under-recognized musicians has harnessed its collective talents and discharged its creations into the void. This list is but one fraction of those dedicated individuals who caught our ears with some serious jams.