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.