Taiwanese heavy metal
The Levitator--a solidly good blog from Taiwan--has a fascinating post on the Taiwanese heavy metal band, Chthonic:
There is a reason why Chthonic is more than just another bunch of head-banging noisemakers. To their growing fan base, their songs have become part of Taiwan’s creation myth—like myths at the heart of every other nation’s collective psyche. They are architects consciously shaping the Taiwanese ethos in pop culture, and an important force in Taiwan’s long-running tug-of-war between different identities.
And they’ve done it with little help from the big media-entertainment-culture establishment.
Chthonic’s themes are not limited to the Han Chinese experience. Their first album includes songs that invoke Aboriginal gods. Their second album Ninth Empyrean deals with conflicts between Han and Aboriginal gods. Relentless Recurrence deals with a female ghost who follows her rapist-murderer to China for revenge.
The gradual expansion and consolidation of the Taiwanese identity is clearly evident in the band’s decade-long success—nowhere as big as Andy Lau but big enough to sustain the band under their independent TRA label. They are also big enough to get concert tours in quite a few countries, recording tours in Denmark, and US releases of their albums. No mean feat for a “symphonic black metal” band in a country where the demand for this genre is generally low.