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Tengger Cavalry: Ancient Call

Myths, mayhem and Mongolian fiddle from Beijing folk warriors

Mongolian fiddle and dombra-plucking, as much as it sounds like a scene from Carry On Matron, is actually the basis of some very fine folk from exponents of Mongolian tradition, Tengger Cavalry.

Having tested the water with focused guitars on 2013’s The Expedition and touches of esoteric foreboding on Sunesu Cavalry, their newest album bears a neat balance of world music and metallic bombast. We hear it on the thunderous Brave, in the forthright gait of Battle Song From Far Away and not least in Summon The Warrior.

Regardless of what you think of sackcloth and bagpipes metal, this particular brand of heritage music is ambitious and exotic, borrowing some of the instrumental features of Chthonic, mixing in the epic drone of Rotting Christ and the sprightly gallop of Equilibrium and Eluveitie.

If nomadic warriors and lupine deities is your thing, you’re in for a treat, but while Ancient Call is steeped in valour the twist is in its strangely serene undercurrent, a bit like a massacre at a day spa.