Tengger Cavalry: “Cian Bi” Album Review

The Mongolian metal of Tengger Calvary is something to behold, and nowhere is the magic of this hybrid more spectacular than on Cian Bi.

Cian Bi marks the beautiful collision of traditional Mongolian instruments, throat singing, metal, and electronics that create a time warp tearing listeners into the future while anchoring them to the past with traditional themes that tie each composition together. Horsehead fiddle, also know as the Morin khuur, opens the album with a sinewy lament sparsely decorated with the plinking of piano, but the sextet quickly delves deep into an ocean of dramatic sound fueled by blast beats and mouth harp on the title track that follows. “Electric Shaman” delivers electronic beats, industrial riffing, and classical nuance, making for an opium dream in vivid color, and “Ride to the Grave” throbs with skittering guitars and Naturre G Ganganbaigaali’s deep-throated singing countered by clean vocals.

While this amalgam may seem odd at times, the astute and precise repetition of the traditional instruments lends itself to the ambient squiggles and blips that dance music favors, and although it is a departure for a band that have already broken boundaries with their far-reaching style, it works.

Metal traditionalists be cautious – Cian Bi requires open ears and an open mind. Tengger Cavalry are delivering heady, heavy music for a future world.

Cian Bi is out now on Napalm Records. Buy it here!

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