The Pitch: The latest evolution in sound from New York Mongul-themed folk metal band Tengger Cavalry. FFO: Whispered, Moonsorrow, Nokturnal Mortum
What I Like: I have always appreciated Tengger Cavalry for having a fresh spin on the folk metal genre. While most bands toy with Northern European imagery and instruments, this is pure historic China. I loved Ancient Call, back when the band still focused on a more extreme vocal approach, but I was pleasantly surprised by Nature's shift towards more throat singing and instrumental focus on the re-recording of Blood Sacrifice Shaman. Die On My Ride continues this trajectory towards a more atmospheric angle while trying out a few new tricks along the way. The throat singing has expanded and matured, bringing a really unique sound to many of these tracks; and the clean sung chorus on the title track gives me chills. "The Choice of My Mind," on the other hand, has a bit of a Panopticon feel. Of course the regional instruments are still in full swing and continue to steal the show. But for those of you still hoping to bang your heads, the guitars bring plenty of distortion to the war march.
Critiques: Of all of the experiments on this album, I found "Ashley" to be somewhat off-putting. Props for having the balls to try auto-tuned vocals on a folk song, but it works out about as well as that sounds.
The Verdict: Another fascinating and different album that could have easily coasted on the band's previous laurels, but chooses instead to reach for new sounds and ideas. Hop to it.
Flight's Fav's: Die On My Ride, Cursed, Strike