Tengger Cavalry - Die on My Ride

Tengger Cavalry Die on My Ride cover
Tengger Cavalry
Die on My Ride
M-Theory Audio
Initially, I read “Teenage” not Tengger (apparently a Turkic/Mongolian deity) and I thought, WTF?! The sentiment didn’t really subside when I saw a photo of the band; a NY based five piece consisting of 2 people of clearly Asian descent dressed in what seems to be proper “Mongol” garb, a Caucasian fella dressed a bit like a Cozak, a further fellow dressed in cosplay attire with a mighty “mean” look clutching what seems to be either a Persian of Chinese sort of “plate”, like one my parents had bought in a trip in Asia many moons ago and might still be somewhere in their house and lastly, another guy, Caucasian but this time dressed like your typical “patches”/warvest metalhead. Quite the bunch!

The shock was to be multiplied, when I heard their so called “Nomadic Folk Metal”. Throat (overtone) singing, which apart from the novelty value of the sound; I always found to be disharmonic, even if it’s supposed just to be that. Most of the songs are like that rather slow and monotonous pieces, with one decent repetitive riff and some other strings thrown in for good measure ie the title track or “Independence Day”, which breaks the mold a bit, but not at all times. The main issue is that the lower “basic voice” of the overtone singing – sounds crappy – as it almost always does, due to the nature of that way of singing. There’s the opener “Snow”, which is a string only – possibly cello only intro, and the autotuned “Ashley” that sounds even more messed up, as it’s main melody, I'm almost certain must be lifted from some “soca” wailing, probably by George Iwer. Talking about “weird”!

Then there are a few better “songs” in the latter half of the album, with more clean vocals ie “The Frontline” that sounds like tripped up Rammstein, or more instrumental passages that feel pretty ritualistic, ie. “Me Against Me”, “The Choice of My Mind” doesn’t have throat singing – hurrah, but is far from being a number that would get anyone hooked, with its soft acoustic and jaundiced nature. “Prayer” sees the return of the throat singing practice at the end of the album and there’s even a bonus in the form of “We Will Survive”, a bit that's a little more soundtrack like, before the “throaty” bit.

Mixing traditional Mongolian folk with guitars and other stuff is rather unique, as far as I know, interesting even, but certainly not my cup of tea, since despite some nice “rhythms” and riffs here and there, the result is way too bizarre for my “western ears” – It’s not even “exotic”, it’s plainly weird. Sorry... well, then again – they may be big in Ulaanbaatar (the capital of Mongolia), so what do I know.