Tengger Cavalry - Cian Bi review

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Band: Tengger Cavalry
Album: Cian Bi
Release date: February 2018

01. And Darkness Continues
02. Cian-Bi (Fight Your Darkness)
03. Our Ancestors
04. Strength
05. Chasing My Horse
06. Electric Shaman
07. Ride Into Grave And Glory (War Horse II)
08. Redefine
09. A Drop Of The Blood, A Leap Of The Faith
10. The Old War
11. One Tribe, Beyond Any Nation
12. Just Forgive
13. One-Track Mind
14. You And I, Under The Same Sky
15. Sitting In Circle

A mere four months ago, I was lamenting the graceless collapse that Tengger Cavalry suffered in the bland and numbing Die On My Ride. Within 24 hours after publishing my review, I had the single "Cian-Bi (Fight Your Darkness)" heralding the next album and clouding my certainty of the band's direction.

I wondered if, perhaps, there was hope for redemption, and there may still be. The songwriting has improved significantly from Die On My Ride, with a fair few riffs putting ax to grindstone for the first time in too long. It seems that Tengger Cavalry mean to give us their first truly new material in a little while, and for brief moments throughout, they succeed. Unfortunately, the unsightly blemishes that overtook the valiant Mongolian folk metal origins of Die On My Ride also return in force on Cian Bi, once more diluting the impact of the album and only furthering my frustration with this band. Almost no song survives unscathed: for every inspired guitar line there is one cut and pasted as an afterthought from some mid-2000s edgecore; for every flourish of morin khuur there is a passage cribbed from older albums; for every minute of raw, forceful metal, there are five minutes of belched filler and poor decisions.

His technique evidently failing him with each passing year, Nature's apathetic throat mumbling sounds like an electrolarynx; the lyrics have not improved since Die On My Ride, nor has Auto-Tune improved the quality of Nature's clean vocals. Nothing kills the folk aesthetic quite like banal English lyrics sung with little respect for rhythm or tonal quality. Static-laden screams provide the only alternative, aside from a few all-too-brief reprises of more traditional throat-singing. The vocals, theoretically a major selling point for any self-respecting Mongolian folk band, have devolved into one of Tengger Cavalry's most woeful and maddening aspects, which is why the semi-instrumental "Chasing My Horse" is one of the few salvageable pieces from Cian Bi.

As with Die On My Ride, it's the traditional aspects of Cian Bi that deserve the most praise, but now it sounds as if the band is losing its passion for this side of its music; when the traditional sounds are not undercut by lame-duck metal accompaniment or janky production, these passages simply aren't as lovingly crafted as they used to be. Nature seems to be increasingly convinced by his own charade that Tengger Cavalry is capable of being or should be anything more modern, popularly accessible, or emotionally engaging than a rough-riding horse folk metal band, which was what the band truly excelled at being. The production sorely lacks depth, which strips away power levels from even the fastest and most metallic segments. The scattered moments of industrial experimentation, while not the least successful venture Tengger Cavalry has ever embarked on, stick out like sore hooves, and the sudden piano edging in from time to time makes some songs sound like failed attempts at gothic metal.

Leaving aside my disdain for the angsty nu metal and confusing commercial aspects Tengger Cavalry has dared to cultivate, it seems clear that the band has lost the passion for its former style. Tengger Cavalry has run out of steam, tacking on folk instrumentation out of pure obligation and longing for a cool, mainstream sheen that does not belong here. I cannot muster the energy to care about any near-salvageable choruses or strong riffs that last four seconds; the best Cian Bi offers is bowdlerized distillations of the old Cavalry spirit, and not all too often at that. If I want to listen to Tengger Cavalry, I will listen to Sunesu Cavalry. I'll listen to Cian Bi if I want to listen to cringe-inducing lyrics croaked out over arrhythmic, cookie-cutter guitar riffs and cybernetic drumbeats.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 5
Songwriting: 6
Originality: 7
Production: 5


Written on 20.02.2018 by I'm the reviewer, and that means my opinion is correct.


Comments: 2   Visited by: 140 users
20.02.2018 - 05:31
Lord Slothrop
I hope I disagree with you once I hear it, but I'm afraid that won't be the case.
20.02.2018 - 06:04
Yeah these guys started out great as like super kvlty folk BM with shit like (the original) Blood Sacrifice Shaman and Sunesu Cavalry, but have gone downhill post Ancient Call in my opinion. They're still better than a lot of their contemporaries, at least in the Asian metal scene, but it's still not the same.

Will probably check this out anyway just for the sake of seeing if I see any improvement and disagree with ya. Thanks for the review
This is the water, and this is the well
Drink full and descend
The horse is the white of the eyes, and dark within

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