On July 26th, Alberta’s Mongol unleashed its second full length, Chosen by Tengri. A mixture of folk and melodic death metal, Mongol draws its inspiration from the 13th and 14th Century Mongol Empire, said to be one of the largest empires ever. A steadfast assault of about 43 minutes, it comes and goes very swiftly, leaving only ashes and rumbles behind.
Like the testimonies we have about Mongolia’s Golden Age, this conquest is a violent one. Like the thunder of a hundred horseshoes on the bare land, the guitars’ lead the charge with aggressivity and no finesse in technique. The keyboards cover this attack like a cloud of dust, bringing a thick veil of melodic orchestration behind the guitars during the songs, or a few exotic passages between the songs when the dust settles. This destruction clears up from time to time, offering a few melodies or hooks, such as in the title song, “Storming the Wall” or “Glory of the Khan”. Vocals are doing a great job out there, either calling the attack in a death-black metal tone, or joining forces in a clean vocals choir. The only weak link I can hear in this muscular cavalry is the drums, wich has a very peculiar, almost artificial sound.
On Chosen by Tengri, Canada’s Mongol steps onto other folk metal territories and takes no prisoners. While it could sound as exotic as the Mongolian steppes on the title song and “Whispering Winds”, many of the folk melodies on this album also sound very European, like those used by Finnish or Latvia folk metal bands for example. Overall, this mix of cultural ‘folk’ influences is not a bad thing and shows the territorial conquests made by the genre. Aside from the Mongol Empire theme, this is an album I really dig in general for its take on folk metal: it sounds as raw and savage as the first albums from Skyforger, Manegarm, Catuvolcus or Protokult.
This album is adorned with a beautiful artwork from Jose Arias depicting a Mongol warrior standing before a massive fortification. The challenge of stepping into folk metal territory is huge indeed, but Mongol is determined. A case in point, the band was added on the bill of Noise Metal Fest, the first international metal fest in Mongolia. Check out their diary and pictures on Crown of Viserys: http://crownofviserys.wordpress.com/2014/08/18/mongols-tour-diary-an-update-on-mongols-mongolian-trek/.
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