Review

TENGGER CAVALRY Die on My Ride

Album · 2017 · Folk Metal
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3/5 ·
Sisslith
Folk metal is a very broad musical genre. It encompasses a wide range of styles, from "Celtic metal" (e.g. Skiltron) to "Mesopotamian metal" (e.g. Melechesh). I’ve listened to many different forms of folk metal, the last one being "Chinese metal" by Dream Spirit. But never before had I heard of a "Mongolian metal" band.

Tengger Cavalry, which means something like "cavalry of the sky god" (Tengger seems to derive from Tengri, a Mongolian and Turkic deity), have been in the metal scene for seven years. They are quite a prolific band since they have released thirteen studio albums so far. "Die on My Ride" is their penultimate offering, and it is an unusual one.

On the one hand, the instrumental work is the highlight of the album. Although most of the guitar riffs and solos are pretty basic and simple, some of them (the galloping riffs on Die on My Ride or the ones on Cursed, for example) are catchy and interesting enough to keep the listener’s attention. Nevertheless, a few songs, such as Independence Day and To the Sky feature several parts that are extremely dull and uninspired. To be honest, at those moments I just wanted to skip both songs.

Now then, not everything is doom and gloom. The folk passages are undoubtedly the best part of the record. For instance, the opener track, Snow, is perfect to set the mood: the igil and the morin khuur, accompanied by a delicate piano, create some emotive and slow folk melodies. It is also noteworthy how these instruments are effectively used on other tracks like Die on My Ride (my favourite song of the album), Strike and Me Against Me.

On the other hand, the vocal performance is the main flaw of this album. Throat singing is characteristic of Mongolia’s traditional music. It is a curious and odd way of singing, but in this record the raspy vocals don’t convey anything to me -definitely not my cup of tea. The auto-tuned vocals on Ashley (yes, you read well, auto-tuned) are the last straw. They are completely random after five Mongolian throat singing pieces and make the album feel rather messy, even though it’s just one song. The choruses, however, are great: they sound pretty epic and, oftentimes, give a vibe of nomadism.

Unfortunately, I didn’t really enjoy this album after all. The positive aspects don’t make up for the bland and slightly haphazard songwriting. Die on My Ride features some notable songs and an extremely appealing folk sound, but Tengger Cavalry should improve many aspects of their music, especially the guitar riffs. However, music is one of the most subjective things and I am sure that a lot of metalheads might appreciate this record much more than I do. Lastly, I would recommend listening to this release if you like folk metal and want to discover different and distinctive sounds.
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Sisslith wrote:
8 days ago
LOL! I have to check that one out.
Tupan wrote:
8 days ago
Don't forget the "Native Brazilian Indigenous Metal" (Arandu Arakuaa)!
Sisslith wrote:
12 days ago
That's very nice of them. Though I have mixed feelings about this album, I've heard their first ones received rave reviews, so maybe I'll listen to it.
Vim Fuego wrote:
12 days ago
You got a like from Tengger Cavalry on the facebook page. Also noticed they have a new album coming in February.
Vim Fuego wrote:
14 days ago
Nicely done. I rate it higher than that, but it's just my opinion.
Sisslith wrote:
14 days ago
MMA Reviewers' Challenge November 2017. Album selected by Vim Fuego.

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