Tengger Cavalry have been making waves recently as the world's only "Mongolian nomadic folk metal" band. On Cian Bi, their seventh album in almost as many years, it's time to see if the New York-based group can make good on their potential and write some truly memorable songs.
Beginning with a Slipknot-style hook, the titular single soon transforms into one of the weirdest and most bizarrely catchy metal tracks you're likely to hear this year. The combination of Mongolian throat singing and traditional instruments can be difficult to decipher, but Tengger Cavalry's songwriting skills are strong enough that the end result is never overwhelming. Fans of Orphaned Land and other epic acts will enjoy deep cuts like "The Old War" and "Our Ancestors," but it's on "Ride Into Grave and Glory (War Horse II)" that Cian Bi truly hits its mark. With war drum rhythms on top of Mongolian khuur, if this song doesn't make you want to jump on a horse and ride out to conquer, nothing will.
15 tracks is a bit much, and some of the metal influences are a little stale, but when the mix is this unique, it's forgivable. By the end, it's clear that Tengger Cavalry have much more to offer the scene then a headline-grabbing gimmick. (Napalm)