Review: Tengger Cavalry – Blood Sacrifice Shaman

Tengger Cavalry - Blood Sacrifice Shaman

MarkAnother day, another folk metal band. But not just any folk metal band, for Tengger Cavalry are – to the best of my knowledge – unique, playing a mixture of traditional Mongolian music interlaced with heavy metal. We featured them as Band of the Day a couple of months ago on the strength of their originality and this is the first new recording to crop up since then.

One thing that sets Tegger Cavalry apart from other folk metal band, for me, is their heavy emphasis on the “folk” part of their musical pairing. Instruments and techniques are very obvious with the metal always following on behind, bolstering the original sound. I wish I had the original recordings so that I could listen to them independently. I think you could actually separate the metal and the folk elements and listen to them on their own. Each is strong enough, but they combine very well. The whole being stronger than the sum of its parts and all that.

Blood Sacrifice Shaman is essentially an instrumental album with all vocals being limited to chants and drones, with no actual lyrics (at least to this non-Mongolian’s ear). This in no way detracts from the impact of the music, and makes it wonderfully atmospheric. There are forceful, driving tracks and haunting melodies; metal-led anthems with deep strings overlaid rather than a lyricist; beautiful plucked melodies that lift the heart and thunderous beats that bang the head.

Tengger Cavalry are a band that you need to check out just to hear something refreshing and different. They really have managed to overcome a clash of cultures and produce something genuinely original as a result.

Highlights on the album are “Horseman”, which probably has the best heavy segments, and “Hero” which weaves to and fro between the two styles.

Blood Sacrifice Shaman is out on May 18th through Metal Hell

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