The Hu - The Gereg review


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Band: The Hu
Album: The Gereg
Release date: September 2019

01. The Gereg
02. Wolf Totem
03. The Great Chinggis Khaan
04. The Legend Of Mother Swan
05. Shoog Shoog
06. The Same
07. Yuve Yuve Yu
08. Shireg Shireg
09. The Song Of Women

It's strange to think that Mongolian folk could achieve such mainstream acceptance as a fusion genre, but Tengger Cavalry began paving the way several years ago. The trailblazing horselords may no longer be with us, but their contemporaries remain, and already a second generation of Mongolian minstrels has arisen to take the next steppe.

That might be a step back, depending on how you view it: The Hu is much more of a folk rock band than a folk metal band, almost a straight folk band with an overactive rhythm section. The broad sound and bass-heavy locomotive chug (something of a country/western export) may suggest nascent metal elements, but the guitars and drums are definitely at a 5 and not an 11. That might be the trick; The Hu had already garnered a substantial following even before the release of The Gereg, hence the suggestion that they could take over for Tengger Cavalry as international ambassadors of Mongolian music. And The Hu's taste for chilled-out, atmospheric songs and half-acoustic jams sets them apart from the other bands combining their traditional sounds with western genres, which probably preserves their palatability for broader audiences.

That also prevents cannibalization within such a small scene; of the handful of bands bringing metal to Mongolia - Tengger Cavalry, Nine Treasures, Aravt, 颠覆M, and Suld, to name a few - each seems to have its own area of focus. Some belong more to melodeath or metalcore, others to a more western-style heavy + folk sound; others incorporate more atmospheric or blackened elements. The Hu bounces along at a groovy gallop: cowboys as much as khans. The Hu conserves its electricity as it layers throat singing, thick drums, and various drones to amplify its sound. The guttural sounds of the Mongolian language blend into rich, warm bands of pastoral drone, creating a sensation that is at once roughshod and soothing. The Gereg contains martial stomps like "Wolf Totem" and "Shoog Shoog," but that steel is layered over by silk; this album captures nature's beauty where more metal-oriented artists would focus on its depravity. Then again, I don't speak Mongolian, so what the hell do I know about anything?

The Hu has found an attractive sound that rests on the cusp of the familiar and the foreign, which is a nice place to be for any artist. They also struck gold when they came up with that name. Beyond the sound, though, The Gereg is a surprisingly safe-sounding album to my Western ears: the structures and some of the beats are commonplace, and though the mood is relaxing, few of the songs leave a lasting impression. Despite its reasonably unique setting, the album never really takes off and leaves its basic concept behind.

Truthfully, I'm not really sure what an album like The Gereg has to offer metal fans per se, being very much a rock-shaded folk album that seems to pull even from blues and country on occasion. I'm sure there are plenty of us (myself included) who have become interested more broadly in what can be done with Mongolian folk as a result of certain bands successfully fusing it with metal, so in that sense The Hu is a good band to check out; The Gereg is a fun album, even if its songwriting is not all that adventurous.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 8
Songwriting: 6
Originality: 8
Production: 8


Written on 11.11.2019 by I'm the reviewer, and that means my opinion is correct.


Comments: 2   Visited by: 90 users
11.11.2019 - 08:10
*Throat singing intensifies*
Father: How can a picture of a field be sad without a sad person looking sad in the field?
Young Woman: That's an interesting problem. Yeah, I struggle with that.
14.11.2019 - 00:34
This album and Band are simply stunning. I need to learn Mongolian language to sing along better than I do when I play the CD on my Badass Denon 5.1+SW. Most of the songs are written in mongolian language and few in english. I love as hell the full length. My vote is 10

Performance: 10
Songwriting: 10
Originality: 10
Production: 10
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