Tengger Cavalry – Cian Bi (Napalm)

Thursday, 22nd February 2018
Rating: 7.5/10

If there’s a band that really personifies prolific in heavy metal, it’s got to be Tengger Cavalry. Since 2010, they’ve released 13 full-length albums (not even counting smaller releases) without a dip in quality. The metal meets Mongolian folk instrumentation approach has not stagnated either, with last year’s Die on My Ride being a step that took the band into more modern waters.

Cian Bi (the band’s first for Napalm) continues the more modern feel of Die on My Ride in a way that’s less jarring for long-time fans. There’s still more of an emphasis on aggressive riffs to contrast the folk instrumentation and some clean vocals to accompany Nature Ganganbaigal’s more traditional throat singing. Songs like “Redefine” and “Strength” use the modern groove and crunch to their advantage, and it creates a sound that you don’t hear too often in folk metal. It’s an interesting mixture that the band provides, and they also employ some electronics. It should be added that the electronic elements are utilized in a more natural way this time around (see “Electric Shaman”). There’s not a track with a large sonic shift like say, “Ashley,” and the album feels more flowing in this manner, even a more mellow track like “Just Forgive.” The major strength of the band still lies in the way that the Mongolian instrumentation is used alongside the guitar to create some catchy melodies that maintain a metal edge. As one example, “One-Track Mind” veers between modern metal grooves and driving, melodic folk moments that always give you something interesting to listen to.

There’s nothing really quite like Tengger Cavalry out there. With their last two releases, they have really pushed open the doors on what they can do with their sound with more emphasis on modern and sometimes electronic integration. Cian Bi feels less ‘rough around the edges’ than Die on My Ride, and with the continued progression, their next output has the potential to be a true gem.

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