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The Hu’s Rumble Of Thunder: Mongolian folk-metal heroes’ unstoppable march continues

Album review: Mongolian folk metal sensations The Hu add a touch of the 21st century on new album Rumble Of Thunder

The Hu: Rumble Of Thunder cover art
(Image: © Better Noise Music)

The Hu’s unlikely leap through the metal ranks remains one of the brightest feelgood stories. Even before the release of their captivating debut, The Gereg, the genre-smashing Mongolians had whipped the internet into a frenzy, notching up tens of millions of streams across YouTube and social media. It was anything but a gimmick. Blending rock and metal elements with traditional Mongolian instruments and the art of throat singing, they conjured an enthralling sound rooted in fist-raising chants and rampaging tempos that felt like a marauding horde thundering across the steppe. That they struck such a resonant chord throughout the global metal community, while singing exclusively in their native tongue, spoke to the intrinsic power of the music.

Whereas their debut felt like a metal album played on folk instruments, Rumble Of Thunder is a decidedly more modern affair, opening with the one-two punch of This Is Mongol and Yut Hövende. Stridently forceful and coursing with swagger and energy, both tracks erupt with grinding waves of riffage and a full drum kit along with the traditional string and wind instruments. Rumble… renews its predecessor’s affinity for flint-eyed rockers such as Shihi Hutu, Sell The World and Black Thunder, but it also delivers more depth and variety than The Gereg.

At times they step entirely away from metal in favour of zippy, pop- oriented numbers like Triangle, Teach Me and Bii Biyelgee – a booming folk pop gem with a hip-swivelling spontaneity that will reduce crowds to a joyful, sweaty mess. There’s even a stab at balladry in the form of Mother Nature – perhaps the only moment when understanding the lyrics might be critical to appreciating the track. Nonetheless, here The Hu have easily sidestepped the dreaded ‘sophomore slump’, delivering an infectious clutch of serotonin-inducing bangers that establish the band as both gifted songwriters and forward-thinking innovators.

Hailing from San Diego, California, Joe Daly is an award-winning music journalist with over thirty years experience. Since 2010, Joe has been a regular contributor for Metal Hammer, penning cover features, news stories, album reviews and other content. Joe also writes for Classic Rock, Bass Player, Men’s Health and Outburn magazines. He has served as Music Editor for several online outlets and he has been a contributor for SPIN, the BBC and a frequent guest on several podcasts. When he’s not serenading his neighbours with black metal, Joe enjoys playing hockey, beating on his bass and fawning over his dogs.