Tengger Cavalry is a folk metal band that started in Bejing, China, in 2010. According to Metal Music Archives, The group is named after a Mongolian Shaman. The group is considered one of the only bands in this genre. One of the main instruments featured in their songs is a Morin Khurr, also known as a horsehead fiddle. Many citizens of Mongolia feel that it is a symbol of the country itself. The songs are also heavy on throat singing, also known as overtone chanting, which changes the sound vibrates in the vocal tract. Tengger Cavalry’s songs are more than lyrics or individual group members; they are musical masterpieces that combine elements from many diverse genres. These are ten standout songs from this group.
10. Calvalry in Thousands
This sound combines a driving metal beat with undertones of traditional music from South East Asia. The distorted voice punctuates various chords and drum licks. Soft waves of sound and driving rhythms transition throughout the song in an ethereal blend of instrumentation, including the signature horse head fiddle. The combination of fast guitar and smooth instrumentation allows a listener to get lost in the complexity. Near the end of the song, it transitions back to vocals that sound like a war cry.
9. Lone Wolf
The emotion in this song is powerful. You hear more Throat-singing than screaming guitar riffs. Additionally, the background music stands out because the group chooses one unique to Mongolia and isn’t found in a metal blend. Like many of Tengger Cavalry’s other song’s this song has an anthemic quality. Within Lone Wolf, you also hear some chords that teeter between pop and metal.
8. War Horse
The music in this song draws more from Shaman influence. The pairing with heavy guitar riffs sounds like an inner revelation that erupts from your soul. The fades in and out allow the listener to have moments of meditation and points of action. Much like the emotions everyone feels, this song is complex and well thought out. Much of the group’s influence relies on ethereal teachers. Even though much of the music draws from heavy metal masters, the Shamanic introspection creates a short symphony for the ears.
The beginning of this song sounds like a shift from the group’s Mongolian roots to something Native American. Even though the guitar and drums are lighter, it has a heavier feel than other songs. Many heavy metal groups almost scream over well-orchestrated music. However, Tengger Cavalry uses the power of instruments more than the power of words. If you close your eyes while listening to the song, you are nearly transported to a meditative cave only to be awakened from your reverie by heavier guitars and drum licks.
The song starts with a short interval of water before diving into metal and smokey guitar clash. Pianos are added for an incredibly eerie touch. This song makes me think of a requiem. Much of their music highlights the human psyche. Fading in and out between soft to heavy is a thought process expressed in music. Tengger Calvary perfects the craft of introspective music in this song. As with many other songs, the music is the key element with vocals nearing an afterthought.
5. Golden Horde
Tengger Cavalry chose a blend of traditional Celtic and acoustic folk to open this song, sliding effortlessly into metal guitar and drums overshadowing everything else. The disruption stays constant through most of the music, with slight drops into a slower, more atmospheric sound. Near the end of the song, Tengger Cavalry begins deconstructing the song again, adding in guitar and subtracting drums. The contrast of instrumentation keeps the driving beat constant for the full five minutes.
4. Fight Your Darkness
The song is a departure from many of their others songs. The addition of mouth harps adds another unique element. This emotional journey is expressed heavier Celtic influence near the middle of the music. The chorus of the song is a pause in the singer’s voice. The drums remain in the background, and a collection of unique instruments gives this song depth.
3. Galloping Steeds
This song is heavy on Celtic Influence with a lot of speed metal guitar riffs. Near the middle of the song, it drops into a more traditional folk feel before hearing throat singing mixed with accelerations and Celtic influence mix near the song’s end.
2. Battle Song From Afar
There is a heavier influence on vocals in this song. The eerieness of throat singing is well executed with stripped-down guitars that play in and out of a horsehead fiddle. The Celtic influence is woven through the song. There is an overall gentleness with portions punctuated by driving drum beats. The addition of the harp creates a haunting feel that is absent in many of Tengger Cavalry’s other songs.
1. The Nameless
Throat singing and Native American drumming open this song. Although much of the opening is simplistic, the influences of Native American Flute create a smoother feel absent in many of the group’s songs. Although throat singing may seem jarring in other types of music, its harnesses add depth to a song that might otherwise stay to close the Native American influence in this song. The last-minute of this song includes a tentative, soft guitar that still is heavy on metal guitar riffs.
Despite having a Billboard presence, this group is easy to miss until you listen to a few of their songs. Once you do, you’ll probably seek out their whole catalog. The style is so unique and eclectic that each time you hear one of Tengger Cavalry, something new will emerge. The instrumentation is highly complex and innovative. Whatever genre of music you favor, this artist’s catalog is a blend of the best parts of many different genres. The group is defined by their unique sound which doesn’t sound like any other group across multiple genres.