Connect to share and comment
Meet Chthonic, Taiwan's premier metal act. Don't expect to see them in China anytime soon.
Now, Lim says he's told producers he's not interested in more talk show appearances, despite the easy pay (about $150 per show). He'd rather go on the unpaid university lecture circuit to speak out on his favorite causes.
"I want to influence young people on issues like Tibet, and global human rights," said Lim. "Tibetans, Uighurs, people in Myanmar — they face even worse situations than Taiwan. As Taiwanese, I feel we have the power and responsibility to support them."
Such causes haven't made Chthonic any friends in the Chinese government. Lim says he's been to China seven times, but hasn't been able to go after he organized a "Free Tibet" concert in 2003. Said Yeh: "We know we're on the blacklist."
Lim says he would love to tour China again, and that he stands on the side of Chinese human rights fighters. "I'm not anti-China, I'm anti-Chinese government," he emphasizes. The problem isn't the Chinese Communist Party's ideology, but its repression.
"China's communists aren't communists," said Lim. "They're communist in name, but they're really just tyrannical bastards."
Lim started the band in 1996, inspired by Scandinavian acts like Norway's Emperor and Sweden's At the Gates. But though he loved such music, he couldn't relate to the cultural symbols and messages, especially the anti-Christian themes.
"I'm always an outsider in their culture," said Lim. "The percentage of Christians here is very low, so there's no reason for us to be anti-Christian."
A search for themes to inspire Chthonic's lyrics and message led him to local history instead. "I felt like, if I want to write my own extreme metal songs with the same anger and feeling, it wouldn't be anti-Christian, or Satanic, because I have no emotion or passion about that."
"So I started to think more locally. What I really care about is my homeland."
In Taiwan's history, Lim found plenty to be angry about. "The whole of Taiwan's history is one of oppression by different empires — Dutch, Spanish, Japanese and Chinese," he said.
The oppression persists, this time from China's current government, which has some 1,300 missiles pointed at Taiwan and has vowed to some day absorb the self-ruled island, by military force if need be.
"We're under another kind of oppression, so we write our songs from these roots, and we put in stories from history," said Yeh.
Hear more from Yeh in this interview:
One album's theme was Taiwan Aborigines' resistance to Japanese colonial rule (1895-1945). The latest album, "Mirror of Retribution," tells the story of a spirit medium who journeys to hell to try to steal the book of life and death so he can rewrite Taiwan's history.