Mongolian folk metal
Northland, Svartsot, Metallica
Folk metal is usually known to be tied to bands from regions such as Russia, Finland and Denmark to name a few, but how about from China? Welcome Nine Treasures, a folk metal band from Inner Mongolia of China. All five members are ethnic Mongolian and the lyrics are in Mongolian as well, there isn’t a lick of English to be found here. The band formed in Beijing towards the end of 2010 and released their debut album Arvan Ald Guulin Honshoor in May 2012. Their 2014 Self Titled album is a pleasant surprise. What makes them stand out is the songs are highly enjoyable and enthusiastic. There are no power metal songs, long storied ballads or triumphant synths to be found here, it’s a heavy rhythmic album with a folk metal side. Perhaps not understanding the lyrics adds to the mystique and enjoyment of the album Within this genre over the top fist pumping lyrics often cause us some pain points.
Askhan - vocals/guitar
Aoger - Bass/vocals
Tsog - Morin Khuur (fiddle)
Ding Kai - Drums
1. Intro 1:55
2. Black Heart 3:48
3. Tes River's Hymn 3:53
4. Sonsii 4:00
5. Fable Of Mangas 4:57
6. Praise For Fine Horse 3:53
7. Azalea 4:07
8. The Dream About Ancient City 3:54
9. Three Years Old Warrior 4:45
After the guitar driven intro, we are taken to the upbeat, steady “Black Heart”. The use of the Morin Khuur here and throughout the album is terrific and sets them apart, giving the album its personality. The Morin Khuur, also known as the horsehead fiddle, is a traditional Mongilian bowed stringed instrument. Track two has a Mettallica meets Northland feel, it’s quite a unique combination and has a very infectious chorus. Next up is “Sonsii,” and with its catchy rhythm could be an underground hit here in the U.S. “Fable Of Mangas” is one of the best tracks, its galloping rhythm, fancy acoustics and dual foot pedal percussion is very contagious. This leads us to the energetic “Praise For Fine Horse,” the sped-up vocals and background vocals are the backbone of this one, showing some new range and not understanding the lyrics definitely keeps things fresh and intriguing.
The album continues its folky metal pace with the stimulating “Azalea,” it’s a combination of speed and folk metal, and the highly entertaining instrumental of track eight, great bass work can be found on this track. The last song, “Three Years Old Warrior” which is just terrific, showcases abundant acoustics, the Morin Khuur and great vocals, the Jethtro Tull-like breakdown in the middle of the song is perfectly timed, a perfect song to close out an unusual album.
Nine Treasures are pretty much a new band, their style of Folk metal can be appealing to a wide audience and we’re excited to follow their career. So, if you’re in the market for something in this genre, but don’t want to get stuck with the same old power-hungry, medieval stuff, give these guys a listen. - 5/22/2015
Standout Tracks: Fable Of Mangas, Black Heart