Extreme rocker takes Taiwan history, politics overseas

Mon Oct 5, 2009 3:08am EDT
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By Ralph Jennings

TAIPEI (Reuters Life!) - Pop music-mad Taiwan has bred a mutant that is casting a long global shadow: an extreme metal band that roars about the island's fractious politics and the dark side of its history.

Freddy Lim and his band Chthonic have made a name over the past few years as the only commercialized heavy metal band from Taiwan, as they take elements of their homeland, including hints of local music and issues such as the island's struggles with China, to stages overseas.

"Most of the fans enjoy the oriental and sorrowful emotion that we create in this extreme metal music," Lim told Reuters in an email interview from the United States following his latest album "Mirror of Retribution."

"That's what is unique, I think. We are the metal band that most people know in Taiwan."

Lim, 33, was introduced to music via piano lessons at the age of 4. As he grew older, heavy metal became his real passion and the band was launched in 1995. Chthonic has so far put out five albums and performed in 20 countries.

The Taipei-based group was the first Asian extreme metal band to perform at the Wacken Festival in Germany and toured as part of world renowned rock star Ozzy Osbourne's Ozzfest in the United States, the band's website says.

Chthonic performed around the world in 2007 to promote Taiwan's ill-fated bid to enter the United Nations over the objections of China, a veto-wielding Security Council member that says the island lacks U.N.-required sovereignty.

China itself claims sovereignty over self-ruled Taiwan.   Continued...