Thu, Sep 08, 2005 - Page 15 News List

CD Reviews

By Gavin Phipps  /  STAFF REPORTER

I Want Relax One (我要輕鬆玩)

Relax One (輕鬆玩)

Take One


Formed six years ago, four-piece pop/rock act Relax One (輕鬆玩) made it's debut vinyl outing on last year's Taiwan Colors Music compilation album of material recorded at the 2003 Ho-Hai-Yan Rock Festival.

The combination of a bad sound system and some gritty post-production engineering didn't really do the band justice, however. And while the combo has never been a real crowd puller it certainly deserved a better reception than it got on the compilation.

Thankfully, Take One studios has given Relax One the chance to shine on the band's recently released debut, I Want Relax One (我要輕鬆玩). The well-produced album does justice to the combo's happy-go-lucky pop and rock sound.

The album gets off to a rather slow start with the brass section, Mando-pop cum Latin Love ... Freedom ( ... 自由), but the lame opener is by no means a sign what follows. For the most part the album is worth a listen and features some pretty good tunes.

Along with the more standard Mando-pop/rock numbers like Forgotten (忘了) Relax One's debut mixes it up with a heap of interesting and original genres. Tunes like Black Eyes (黑眼圈) and Break Wind (放一個屁) are both juxtapositions of pop and rock standards that work well.

The two tunes that really showcase the band's musical ability are the bouncy power-pop number Happy Ending and the jerky blues The Summer You Love (你愛的夏天). And even though the band's female vocalist has a voice more befitting of less raucous songs she handles the two tunes exceptionally well.

To no doubt appease the band's younger audience the album also includes a couple of the more standard Mando-love ballads. Neither Ray of Love (愛之光) or No Need to Wait (不必守候) really stand out and are certainly not representative of Relax One's fluid and upbeat guitar driven sound, though.

Seediq Bale (賽德克巴)

Chthonic (閃靈樂團)

TRA

Taiwan's Golden Melody Award winning black metal act, Chthonic (閃靈樂團) returned to record store shelves last month with Seediq Bale (賽德克巴). The album is the band's first longplayer to feature new material in 3 years.

Unlike the combo's previous vinyl ventures, which saw the metal heads dealing solely with the dark side and waxing lyrical about the devil, hell and just about every other stereotypical death metal theme, Chthonic has opted to take, in part at any rate, a more earthly approach this time around.

Taking its name from an upcoming movie about the Wushe incident -- an anti-Japanese revolt by members of the Seediq tribe in 1930 that resulted in the deaths and decapitations of 130 Japanese soldiers and policemen -- the album sees the band waxing lyrical about the souls of the Aboriginal heroes.

The theme of the album may have less to do with devil worshipping than before, but even with the help of Mando-rockstress, Sandee Chen (陳珊妮) the material remains very much black metal oriented and is certainly not going to appeal to more mainstream audiences.

Fiery breakneck guitar solos, gothic keyboard work and brooding vocals are the order of day as the nation's award winning metal combo take listeners on a torrid musical journey.

Seediq Bale takes no prisoners from the beginning to the end, from Laqi Pusu Hyhoni (岩木之子) to the final cut, Luglungal Na a Ida Bitag Knuwan (半屍橫氣山林), Chthonic fires on all

cylinders. Like several of Chthonic's previous albums Seediq Bale was recorded, mixed and mastered at Borsing recording studios in Denmark under the guidance of celebrated extreme metal recording and sound engineer, Jan Borsing.

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