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Mongol - Chosen By Tengri

Chosen By Tengri
by Tim Bolitho-Jones at 07 October 2014, 3:39 PM

Given that the Mongol hordes of Genghis Khan and his successors carved out the largest land empire in history by mercilessly slaughtering everyone that crossed their path, it’s a small miracle they haven’t been picked up for lyrical inspiration more often. After all, we’ve had metal bands that deal solely in Vikings, Pirates, Ancient Egypt and the Romans before, so why not look a bit further east for inspiration? And on the basis of ‘Chosen By Tengri,’ the second album by MONGOL, there’s definitely rich pickings to be had.  They might lose a bit of credibility by originating from Canada rather than a genuine Asian country, but they have still produced a pretty enjoyable album. It’s eight tracks of rampaging, high speed Folk Metal and while it’s no classic, if you like a bit of manly jigging with your riffs you’re bound to find something to enjoy.

Opening appropriately enough with a dual guitar lead that sounds like horses galloping across the steppe, ‘Clans Carve The Way’ sets the tone nicely. It’s an energetic and upbeat introduction, singer Brandon Knott barking out tales of battles and heroism over a propulsive Folk Metal backdrop. It makes beheading Chinese peasants en masse sound far nobler than it actually was and is an absolute blast.

The other seven tracks don’t stray too far from this formula and in keeping with the theme there’s a wealth of oriental flourishes thrown in. ‘Chosen By Tengri’ kicks off with a Mandolin melody that could have been lifted from an Ennio Morricone film score, while ‘Last Ride Of The Merkits’ has a surprisingly appropriate banjo cropping up in it. There’s also a master-class in guitar playing and beautiful female backing vocals to make this one a definite highlight.

If MONGOL are missing anything though it’s a cast-iron insta-classic. The drunken revelry of ‘Glory To The Khan’ gets close, but they are a few catchy choruses away from making this a must-have album. Don’t be fooled, the songs are very good, but they haven’t written their ‘Inis Mona’ yet.

In short, MONGOL are a decent band and it’s refreshing to hear a Folk Metal album that doesn’t revolve around the well-worn subject of Celts or Vikings. It’s not an essential purchase, but it is great fun even if it doesn’t all stick in the memory. They’re going to face some stiff competition from the similarly minded (and genuinely Asian) TENGGER CAVALRY, but if we’re in the early days of Mongol Horde Metal, there’s no reason why these marauding Khanadians couldn’t lead the charge. Crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentations of their women eh buddy?

3 Star Rating

1. Clans Carve The Way
2. Chosen By Tengri
3. Subutai
4. The Last Ride Of The Merkits
5. Scourge Of The East
6. Storming The Wall
7. Glory To The Khan
8. Whispering Winds
Tev Tegri - Vocals
Zelme - Rhythm Guitar / Backup Vocals
Zev - Lead Guitar & Folk Instruments, Backup Vocals
Sorkhon Sharr - Bass
Sche-khe - Folk Instruments & Keyboards
Bourchi - Drum
Record Label: Independent


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Edited 30 September 2022

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