Released: Apri, Indpendent
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
There aren’t many bands that make you double take, but I would have to say that Mongol is one of them. I was unaware of their presence, so read their intro a couple of times:
“Forged in the frozen bowels of Edmonton, Alberta, the folk metal act, Mongol pays homage to the Mongolian Empire of old. Blending heavy melodic riffs with an array of folk instruments and Asian harmonies, Mongol wields a sound as diverse as the nations their historical influences conquered.”
What it doesn’t mention, that their hometown is called ‘Devon’. So this is a band from Devon, in Canada paying homage to Mongolia. In many ways this tells you everything you need to know - if you like this, you will like them. Thankfully I do.
Their third release is a three track EP, and all three tracks are pretty epic, in the literal sense of the word.
‘The Mountain Weeps’ kicks off with suitable gusto. What is notable, is that this and the other tracks have quite a range of dynamics and tempo, plus some interesting incorporation of traditional sounding instruments*. ‘River Child’ the middle track, is no exception to this, starting with a flute/whistle (possibly a tsuur?) that plays a refrain that becomes the leading riff. In terms of musicianship it’s all pretty impressive stuff.
However, there’s something about it all that I find a little bit twee. I really can’t tell how seriously they take themselves, but it seems to be quite. Don’t get me wrong, it’s all really well played, but I find it difficult to adore something that I find a little bit silly. For me, they fall into the same bracket as Alestrom. In fact, musically they aren’t all that different. All in all, though, definitely worth a listen.
*Knowing as much about traditional Mongolian music as I do about why I was in trouble with the girlfriend last weekend (less actually, at least with Mongolian folk I can Google it and get a satisfactory answer), I thought it would be worth doing a bit of background research. I’m not sure how traditional or Asian the harmonies are in Mongol’s music, but thankfully I’m not a purist. Not about Mongolian Folk Metal at any rate. Anyway, turns out Mongolian folk music is really relaxing. I recommend a group called Huun-Huur-Tu.