Proving that there’s plenty of room for innovation left, and no two styles of music too disparate to merge together, internet sensations The HU have taken the world by storm with their melding of hard rock and traditional Mongolian folk music, largely led vocally by throat singing, with this particular use of the technique dating back many generations.
Their debut album has finally arrived in the form of ‘The Gereg’ – a gereg being the first diplomatic passport ever issued in Mongolia. The band’s intentions are clear without having heard a note, and much of this record is rooted in patriotism and their Mongolian heritage lyrically.
There’s certainly a psychedelic element to a large portion of the record, maintained through the title-track and opener, which sets the tone for a great portion of this album. But if you think the title-track doesn’t really go anywhere, the tribal chanting in ‘Wolf Totem’ is certainly more invigorating, assisted by the stringed instrumentation. ‘The Great Chinggis Khan’ as a song has higher peaks as well, in spite of the premise of the song possibly inviting criticism.
‘The Legend Of Mother Swan’ is more cinematic, with stringed instruments coming to the fore again. You may have to be on board with the more repetitive parts of this in order to fully be into this, but you can certainly see why people are invested at the same time.
‘Shoog Shoog’ has self-explanatory chanting at the beginning, which certainly picks things up, and you can imagine this going down strongly in a live setting. The same can be said of ‘Yuve Yuve Yu’, with more of a swinging feel to it.
‘Shireg Shireg’ leans in heavier on the folk influences, and while there’s clearly a warm, hypnotic quality to a lot of this, it does drag a little bit if your ears may be wanting something a bit more urgent.
With ‘Song Of Women’, you can hear that if played on a distorted guitar, the guitar parts would indeed be chunky riffs. The HU have never proclaimed to be strictly a metal band, of course, but you could say the apparent metal influence is being perhaps oversold by some, but, at least in this song, there’s a good build-up on show.
This album is largely on the repetitive side of things, but it does flow by pretty quickly still, and parts of this are undeniably uplifting. The HU‘s profile will no doubt increase with ‘The Gereg’, and they certainly deserve some credit for reaching a large audience with what they do, but there may have to be a bit more variation on show on a future release.