Death Metal Lawmaker Unleashes Battle Cry on Taiwan National Day
(Bloomberg) -- As Taiwan celebrates its national day Wednesday, President Tsai Ing-wen got an thunderous reminder she will have to contend with the voice of youthful rebellion at local elections in November.
Taiwanese death metal band Chthonic, led by first-term lawmaker Freddy Lim on vocals, dropped its latest album Wednesday. Lim is one of the co-founders of the New Power Party born in 2015 out of anti-China student protests. Contesting its first regional elections this year, the party has 41 candidates running for local council seats across the island.
While the band’s album is called “Battlefields of Asura” in English, its title in Chinese is a little more pointed: “Politics”.
The NPP is proving a draw for younger Taiwanese who want a more decisive break with China. That’s a problem for Tsai who -- despite also supporting Taiwan’s independence -- has lost traction among younger voters frustrated with the slow pace of progress on issues such as marriage equality and political reform.
Tsai hosts Wednesday’s national day celebrations at a time when ties with China are at their lowest ebb in years. Angered by Tsai’s refusal to acknowledge Taiwan as part of China, Beijing has steadily increased the pressure on her administration by upping the number of military flights around the island and pressuring multinational companies to avoid referring to Taiwan as a country.
Lim’s album reflects the growing sense of unease. Featuring foreboding lyrics such as “Darkness surrounds, Endless seas as yet unseen, Death’s fugue abounds”, its songs explore themes such as resistance and freedom through a mix of Taiwanese mythology and history. The track “A Crimson Sky’s Command” is about a god on the warpath.
“It represents the courage we need to face, confront and overcome our own weakness,” Lim said in a video statement Tuesday. “That’s what I’ve learned in my political career.”
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