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Nine Treasures - Awakening From Dukka Award winner

Nine Treasures
Awakening From Dukka
by Barbie Rose at 06 April 2021, 2:35 AM

On March 19 2021 released “十丈铜嘴 / Awakening From Dukka” - an eleven track album of newly re-recorded and remastered songs from prior releases throughout the bands history - which were “Arvan Ald Guulin Honshoor” (LP / 2012); “Nine Treasures” (LP / 2012); “Galloping Whte Horse” (EP / 2015); “Live in Beijing” (LP / 2015); “Mongol Metal” (LP / 2015) “Wisdom Eyes” (LP/ 2017); and “Bodhicitta” (Single / 2019).  From the depths of Mongolia, Tsog utilizes a Mongolian folk treasure, the Morin Kuur - an instrument perhaps resembling a cello–often played with bow.

”Black Heart” - The first album track wastes no time with the establishment that NINE TREASURES is either a thrash band, or that the band has the ability to play thrash–and play it well; however the extent of melody throughout the song–and the diversity of instrumentation – a balalaika is heard in lieu of a second guitar–albeit the “Awakening From Dukka” recording uses multiple guitar tracks; however distorted rhythm guitar even of a thrash style bears a real presence–earning NINE TREASURES a classification of folk metal.

“Arvan Ald Guulin” - the second album track opens with standard guitar as though from a nineteen eighties radio metal, but the balalaika ornaments these rhythms tracks. ”Fable of Mangas” - the third album track opens with a bright moderate tempo and a subdivided motif on the distorted rhythm guitar -ornamented by the balalaika. At just before three minutes, all other instruments rest for Askhan to play a nitty gritty distorted rhythmically subdivided motif - aggressive yet sharp and cutting; by three minutes ten seconds, Namra opens a double bass drum moderate tempo groove for the song to progress into a guitar solo. Beautifully played. At four minutes - Saina’s Balalaika adds a solo over a slow rhythmic thrash.

“Nomin Dalai” - the fourth album track opens with a vocal intro that progresses into the song riff–that from the octave, descends a natural minor progression (VI chord moves to the II chord).  However, just past half one minute, beautiful rhythmic ornamentation chops the song along–this is well played metal folks–rather new–albeit a re-recording). Further rhythmic progressions add subdivisions perfectly synchronized between Askhan’s speedy & distorted rhythms and Namra’s perky drum beat.  A balalaika solo is rhythmically accentuated with quick hit-hat clicks–and I love this subtle adornment!  As the song resumes - rhythms are played with quick, clicky & tight accents, though too fast for air drums, listeners will physically react to the slap happy rhythms.

“Tes River’s Hymn” - the fifth album track opens with a quick bass motif that rolls with an easy legato from the high and lower octaves - almost reminiscent of MEGADETH’S “Peace Sells…But Who’s Buying” yet this motive is played with a quicker, lighter, and tighter groove. The groove slows yet enlivens with intensity as we approach two and one half minutes that culminates in a bass solo–that ASHKAN perfectly accentuates with a subtle rhythm guitar groove. I may have heard subtle notions of Tsog’s - Morin Khuur.

“Ten Years” - the sixth album track opens with Tsog’s - Morin Khuur;  though ornamented with the balalaika, the distorted rhythm guitar adds a foundation of metallic sound.  At about three minutes - we enter into a Mongolian Melodic Trash. Though the drum beat is slow, we have one rhythm guitar track accentuating the drums, while another rhythm guitar track harmonically conveys a legato progression / riff. Thoroughly enjoyable–another aural distinction that listeners need to experience.

“The Dream About Ancient City” - the seventh album track opens with mildly distorted guitar arpeggiation.  The balalaika carries the melody, harmonized by the Morin Khuur.  The song progresses to a light yet speedy tempo with similar melodic even thematic instrumentation. “Praise For Fine Horse” - the eighth album track opens with a fast (horse gallop) rhythm on the floor tom–shortly after, this is accentuated by the bass. Verses progress with speedy accentuated contrapuntal rhythms–this is ear candy folks.  The rhythm section–including Askhan’s vocal line, digs the horse gallop rhythm directly into the earth–still, lightly.   Listeners need to hear this to experience it.

“The End Of The World” - the ninth album track utilizes perhaps the most melodic theme on the album; and as we approach three minutes, fully distorted rhythm guitars convey about as heavy a sound as I’ve heard on the album thus far–still the rhythm section is light punchy & tight - and NINE TREASURES never relents with this perfect rhythmic synchronicity. TSOG solos on the Morin Khuur -and the rhythmic accents utilized by his bow technique adds to the choppy feel performed with a flowing legato groove - nicely done!

“Wisdom Eyes” - the tenth album track opens with a quick and punchy subdivided motif. Distorted guitar uses wah before entirely resting for the verses. At about half past two minutes, rhythm guitars replay the opening motive with distorted sustain: if “distorted sustain” equates with “aural disdain” then I’m a’ lovin’ what I'm’ a’ hearin’. Lovingly aggressive–as an opposing  combination of a “choppy yet legato” groove. “The Stubborn” - the eleventh album track is replete with subdivided accents for the motif–as punchy and choppy a rhythmic motif on the album yet.  At one minute, rhythm guitars sustain the chord, rather than accentuate the rhythmic motive.  The Morin Khuur adds a smooth and slow ornamental (bowed) melody as a melodic counterpoint to the song theme. “Three Years Old Warrior” - the twelfth and final track is at a moderate tempo subdivision “e-&-a baah” / “e-&-a baah” is heard if not felt by the rhythm section–most prevalent through the rhythm guitar.

Songwriting: 10
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

1. Black Heart
2. Arvan Ald Guulin
3. Fable of Mangas
4. Nomin Dalai
5. Tes River’s Hymn
6. Ten Years
7. The Dream About Ancient City
8. Praise For Fine Horse
9. The End Of The World
10. Wisdom Eyes
11. The Stubborn
12. Three Years Old Warrior
Askhan Avagchuud - Vocals
Askhan Avagchuud - Guitar
Saina - Balalaika
Tsog - Morin Khuur & Bass
Namra - Drums
Record Label: Independent


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Edited 07 December 2022

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