It has been five years since Chthonic last released their triumphant full length album 政治 (Battlefields of Asura). In the years since, vocalist Freddy Lim has remained active as a sitting member of the Taiwanese Parliament, serving the people and implementing the advocacy that has long been central to his DNA.
Though his schedule makes it tough to work on music, Lim's creative passion remains equally important. Despite time and focus being scarce, inspiration to write new material is something that Lim is always in tune with and compelled to follow through on. “I feel anxious sometimes, there are so many things I want to do, but I feel I don’t have sufficient time in my life to do everything," Lim said. “How would those who came before us think of us in Heaven if we don’t move forward?”
For Chtonic's most recent release, inspiration came in the form of a meeting with Kao Ying-chieh, son of Kao Yi-sheng who met his fate during the White Terror repression under the Kuomintang regime. Kao Ying-chieh spoke of how his father heroically advocated for democracy, despite the threat of execution.
In further exploring the story of Kao Yi-sheng, Lim also read a trove of some 60-plus letters that he wrote to his family before his execution, detailing the humanity that was behind the heroics. “The very strong emotional bonds between Kao Yi-sheng and his wife, as well as with his children were an inspiration to me,” Freddy Lim said. “As long as we don’t give up, defend the people and land we love, and move as hard as we can, we’re on the right track."
The letters served as the creative fuel that prompted the band to work on their first new single in five years, "Pattonkan". The indigenous Tsou name for “Jade Mountain” is the highest peak of Northeast Asia and revered as a sacred grounds for the Taiwanese. The title of the track sources a reference to the final letter that Kao Yi-sheng penned to his family. “田地和山野都有我的魂守著", which translates that "his soul will safeguard the fields and mountains of Taiwan".
For the accompanying cinematic visual for such an emotionally loaded song, Chthonic again enlisted ilm director Hung Po-te who previously helmed the series of visuals for the band including "Kaoru", "Defenders of Bu-Tik Palace", and "Millennia’s Faith Undone".
For the video, Hung Po-te told the story from Kao Yi-sheng’s daughter Nana's prospective. Following Kao's death, his family remained under long-time surveillance and repression by the authoritarian regime. Doris, Chthonic's bassist and band leader spoke of the overarching vision of the project, “The song is not about praising a hero, but to see a family through a person, and see a generation of people through a family,” Doris said. “this is a song that’s full of brevity, yet also sorrowful.”
"Pattonkan" arrives just a month before Chthonic return to the largest rock festival in Taiwan–the Megaport Festival on April 1, 2023. Upon the band's confirmation late last year, tickets for Megaport were sold out in seconds.
"Pattonkan" will be released on all digital platforms starting on March 2nd.