Tengger Cavalry – “Cian Bi” (Napalm Records)
With an ambition that could’ve been inspired by Genghis Khan himself, the travels of one Nature Ganganbaigal, creator of Mongolian folk metal band, have taken him from Beijing to New York City, where he sold out Carnegie Hall, got himself a masters from NYU in film music composition and was nominated for Best Original Score at the 2015 Los Angeles Independent Film Festival Awards! Tengger Cavalry is no less an achievement. Creating a unique sound melding modern western metal with ancient folk from the Mongolian steppes through traditional instruments like the horsehead fiddle and topshur lute, not to mention the traditional sound of throat singing, Tengger Cavalry’s success has seen them grow from an underground act signed by Battlehelm’s own high priest Josh Cook on his Metal Hell Records label to now, a 6th album debuting on Napalm Records! Delivering across a vast 15 tracks to match the Mongol hordes themselves, Nature has over time built himself a multi national force who execute to perfection a breathtaking range of sounds that are either more folkloric in their sound, erring more towards metal with hints of folk, or just comfortably nestled between the two! The guitars of Nature and Patrick Reilly are raw and harsh, and when they start to inject the power like on ‘Redefine’ its pretty close to the aggressive chundering groove of Ektomorf, or hinting at industrial when considering the chopping rhythms and dance beats on ‘One Tribe, Beyond Any Nation’ while getting far out on the eastern grunge through the mellow ‘Just Forgive’, not forgetting the film score-ish spoken word of ‘You And I, Under The Same Sky’. Lyrically and conceptually still rooted in Mongolian and Turkic cultures that include shamanism, nature and worship of Tengri (from whom the band’s name is derived) the instrumental skill and co-ordination is incredible, especially given how the differing sounds make the songs unpredictable and exciting while not forgetting their roots of being energetic and rousing in the passion like on ‘Chasing My Horse’ and ‘Ride Into Grave And Glory’, both of which will no doubt appeal to long time followers of the band. Once called the scourge of Europe and western civilisation, Tengger Cavalry are no less lacking in that fierceness along with an equally jaw dropping dexterity of their once mighty ancestors!