Words & Pictures: Adrian Hextall \ MindHex Media
Fire From The Gods
Fire From The Gods delivered their hybrid rap-metal sounds in London last week. The five-piece outfit are touring on the back of their American Sun album that came out last year. Having been picked up by Zoltan Bathory’s management company, the band, along with Zoltan’s other great find, Bad Wolves, are going from strength to strength and this show, in support of rising Mongolian stars The Hu, will do them no harm whatsoever.
They sing about topics they believe in and whilst the initial view may appear to be political, the reality is that the topics are wide ranging and they speak more to the upcoming generations that are going to have to deal with the mess that is going to be left for them thanks to the lack of care the current powers that be have bestowed upon us.
Although the band is energised and makes the most of the stage area, the focus is really on lead vocalist AJ who raps, growls and sings cleanly in equal measure. He speaks honestly to the crowd and they respond in kind and seemingly take on board the message the band is trying to put across.
It’s clear that the band truly believe in what they are doing and it’s credit to them and AJ that they have a willing and receptive crowd. The perfect tour for them with a headline act that is also making people stop and think and approach music and what it means in a non typical way.
Everybody is in the house tonight. Dignitaries from the Mongolian Embassy are spotted, locals and people that have their travelled from far and wide to see the band have ensured the venue is sold out. The chants of “HU! HU! HU! HU!” threaten to take the roof off of Camden’s Electric Ballroom; hundreds of raised fists, many sporting traditional Mongolian tribal wear punch the air and this is before the band have even arrived on stage. When they do, the chants intensify tenfold.
Formed in 2016, the band have grown exponentially to become a global phenomenon in the past year. Their marrying of traditional Mongolian throat singing with modern elements of rock and metal, all wrapped inside some very catchy pop hooks. is like a breath of fresh air for a UK crowd that typically can’t handle cross over genres. Melding modern music approaches with the traditional is something that shouldn’t feel as fresh as The HU but somehow it really does feel as if they’re trying something that no one else has considered before.
Onstage, if’s as if they’re a tribal force. The sound reverberating around the walls of the venue throbs with energy and frontman Jaya (Nyamjantsan Galsanjamts) whipping his black hair around whilst punching the air and with a few choice phrases in English, does more than enough to engage an already willing crowd. The four core members, Jaya, Gala (Galbadrakh Tsendbaatar), Enkush (Enkhsaikhan Batjargal) and Temka (Temuulen Naranbaatar) line up at the front of the stage, their gorgeous traditional instruments, coloured red, green and blue bringing a wonderful visual aesthetic to the show. The outfits may be of traditional design but wouldn’t be out of place in a sci-fi movie or TV show where the heroes are all dressed for harsher environments. Leather, tassels, heavy boots and long coats to protest them against the elements, they look like they’ve come from 2000 AD’s Cursed Earth story lines.
The Gereg, (the Mongolian Passport issued in the days of Genghis Kahn) the band’s debut that has rocketed to the top of charts around the world is, not surprisingly plucked clean to ensure a full set from the band. Opening with ‘Shoog Shoog’ they get everyone singing along without a care in the world and in a lot of cases, without any knowledge of what the lyrics mean. If you do make the effort and dig deeper, the meaning behind The HU’s music comes from heritage [of course] but also the way we need to interact with nature and the planet generally.
The HU may initially be seen as a metal band yet even my parents are aware of them and engaged in a good 30 minute conversation over the weekend about the band. After watching a few of the videos on YouTube, even my Father was tapping his feet to ‘Yuve Yuve Yue’. As soon as a band can cross generations both up and down, you know they can and will succeed.
The Song of Women
The Legend of Mother Swan
Yuve Yuve Yu
The Great Chinggis Khaan
This Is the Mongol