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The Hu, The Gereg – review

Genre: Mongolian Folk Rock

Label: Eleven Seven Music

Release Date: September 13th 2019

 

Band Members: 

Gala / Lead Throat Singer and Morin Khuur

Enkush / Lead Morin Khuur and Throat Singer

Jaya / Jaw Harp, Tsuur, Flute, and Throat Singer

Temka / Tovshuur

 

Track Listing:

1. The Gereg
2. Wolf Totem
3. The Great Chinggis Khaan
4. The Legend of Mother Swan
5. Shoog Shoog
6. The Same
7. Yuve Yuve Yu
8. Shireg Shireg
9. The Song Of Women

 

The HU is a band from Mongolia that blends heavy metal and traditional Mongolian throat singing. Their first two videos (“Yuve Yuve Yu” and “Wolf Totem”) immediately went viral garnering the band over 18 million views. The explosive reaction to The HU resulted in a number of features about the band in international media such as NPR, ET India Times, Playboy Mexico, Jack Canal+Fr, Hong Kong 01, DW News Germany and others.

The band’s name The HU, is the Mongolian root word for human being. They call their style “Hunnu Rock”…inspired by the Hunnu, an ancient Mongolian empire, known as The Huns in western culture. Some of the band’s lyrics include old Mongolian war cries and poetry.

Founded in 2016 in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia by their producer Dashka, along with the members Gala, Jaya, Temka, and Enkush. The HU combines Rock Music with traditional Mongolian instrumentation like the Morin Khuur (horsehead fiddle), Tovshuur (Mongolian guitar), Tumur Khuur (jaw harp), guttural throating singing and the bombastic bass and drums of rock. All four members have earned Bachelor’s or higher degrees in music and have several years of touring experience throughout Asia and the Pacific Rim.

The debut is now upon us, ‘The Gereg’. The word Gereg was used as the first Diplomatic “Passport” by the Mongol empire during the time of Genghis Khan.

The album opens with the title track and it’s crafted in such a way to immediately draw you into the music of The Hu. Like all great anthem led albums, this is music that gets into your brain immediately and stays there. Containing all of the components that make the album distinctly traditional, highlighting the Mongolian instrumentation from the off, the fact that the majority of the world won’t have clue what’s going on without a great translation app is irrelevant. And that really is the core component of the music that The Hu produce. If Sepultura can engage everyone with heavy hitting tribalistic anthems thanks to their ‘Roots’ release, then The Hu can achieve the same with ‘The Gereg’. The album isn’t as heavy (by a long way) when compared to Sepultura’s seminal release but it contains enough elements to make the listener feel like they’ve purchased a heavy rock \ metal album. All the key ingredients are there, atmospherics, driving rhythms, growling vocals (courtesy of traditional throat singing from both Gala and Enkush) and some smart drumming that simply makes you want to bounce.

Check out for the gang anthem approach to ‘Shoog Shoog’ below to get a sense of what to enjoy on the album.

 

The 9 track album benefits from a vinyl release as well and it’s that one that really warrants the extra mention. A double album on 180gm vinyl, the 9 songs sit pretty across three sides of the double discs. The fourth side is notable for the immense engraving exercise to highlight the band name and also what appears to be a panther, leopard or other big cat. The engraved design sits perfectly with the music the band produce as the video below highlights. ‘Wolf Totem’ thankfully coming with subtitles as well.

 Mongolia is a country filled with history, tradition and outside of the exploits of one Genghis Khan, the western world knows very little about what the people and the place have to offer. The Hu, with their own brand of Hunnu Rock hope to change all of that. The mix of traditional music fused with the sort of U.S. driven rock music that the members of the band were fortunate enough to grow up with has influenced the style that they deliver on this release and whilst it retains enough traditional elements, take ‘The Legend of Mother Swanfor example, tracks like ‘Yuve Yuve Yu’ give something modern western rock fans can latch on to and sing along.

The sing along elements of the songs will make you smile without a doubt. The tracks are all sung in Mongolian. Both Gala and Enkush, with their throat singing make the words at times difficult to decipher, yet the magic works because it is almost impossible not to attempt to sing along and the sense of satisfaction of getting what you believe to be the correct vocal style and enunciation correct is worthy of a huge pat on the back and another beer for your efforts.

With the first three singles garnering millions of view of YouTube, the band are celebrating the album release with a fourth track, the wonderfully titled, ‘The Great Chinggis Khan‘.

To avoid confusion for us western mortals, the title Genghis (or Chinggis) Khan, means “universal ruler”, and was adopted by the Mongol Empire founder Temujin in the late 12th century. Remembered both for his military brilliance and his brutality towards civilians, he went on to conquer huge areas of Asia and Eastern Europe. It seems only fitting that The Hu sing about one of the most fascinating warriors ever to have lived.

I love this album, simply because it offers something wholly original. It makes me want to go out and buy leather armour, a bow, arrows and a horse. It’s safe to say nothing has come close to triggering that thought process since Manowar released ‘Into Glory Ride’.

SCORE: 10/10

Reviewed by: Adrian Hextall

TOUR DATES:

The band are currently on tour in the US. Dates can be found below at the main HU website:

https://www.thehuofficial.com/
 

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