Tengger Cavalry is a band that I was interested in checking out from the moment I heard about them. In the realms of Folk/Pagan Metal, the vast majority of bands come from two schools: Celtic Folk and Slavic Folk. When you say “Folk Metal” to a fan of the genre, they immediately rattle off a slew of names, all of whom are from Europe, either Western or Eastern. The Western European bands tend to be Celtic Folk influenced and the Eastern European bands tend to be Slavic Folk influenced. Tengger Cavalry comes from an entirely different school. This is the first time I can recall ever hearing a Pagan/Folk Metal band from China that is influenced by Mongolian/Chinese Folk music and traditions. It isn’t the first time I’ve heard Asian Folk influences in Metal (Chthonic used some on Takasago Army and other releases) but none of the bands prior to this have been exclusively Pagan/Folk Metal. The Mongolian/Chinese Folk style gives Tengger Cavalry a very unique sound. In some ways, the fusion of Metal and Asian Folk has created a style that is both familiar and exotic at the same time. You get the standard instrumentation (guitars, bass, drums) mixed in with Chinese Folk instruments and structures. I was a bit disappointed by the fact that the Chinese/Mongolian Folk wasn’t further integrated into this band’s style. The places on Black Steed that shined were the slower, Doomier parts where the atmosphere and the Asian musical influences were more prominent. When a more traditional Black Metal approach and song structure was used, the band lost a lot of what made them unique. I wanted more of the atmospheric stuff and less of the “traditional” Black Metal style. Still, this is a very solid and interesting album. If anything, the music on this LP makes me want to go out and get the rest of their discography. Tengger Cavalry is supposed to have another release later this year so I’ll definitely be on the lookout for it.
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