It’s been quite the year for folk metal with some excellent tours hitting the UK, and albums coming out. Well-known acts such as Skalmold and Eluveitie have gone from strength to strength, but it’s always interesting to hear a group coming from another area, and adding a metal spin to their own indigenous music.
Welcome to the collective Tengger Cavalry, a band based in China, but focussing on the music of Inner Mongolia. Originally a one-piece (Nature Ganganbaigal being the man who started it all off), they’ve expanded into a full band due to the popularity of early releases and the demand for live shows. Mongolian musical techniques included in their music are overtone throat singing, Mongolian fiddle melodies, dombra plucking and pentatonic modes. I’m no musician, but even a quick listen to some of their songs demonstrates these clearly and the sound is very much unlike one I’ve heard before.
As far as lyrical themes go, tradition is also maintained as they focus on “the bravery of the steed, the valour of the horseman, the beauty of the grassland and the enjoyable life of the nomad”.
Tengger Cavalry currently have four full albums (one a double), and an EP out though availability of some of these is – or has been – limited regionally. I can currently spot all but 2013’s Black Steed on Amazon UK, for example.
There are plenty of tracks on their SoundCloud and BandCamp pages to have a listen to (I’ve picked one almost at random and embedded it below), and I heartily recommend giving them a few minutes of your time. Their music is a wonderful blend of the far east and traditional metal.