Mongolian Folk Metal is the New Musical Genre that Everyone is Looking For – A Rumble of Thunder Album Review


The Hu is a Mongolian folk metal band formed in 2016, which combines traditional Mongolian instruments including the Morin khuur, the Tovshuur, and Mongolian throat singing, with the genre of rock and metal. The members include the lead throat singer Gala, who also plays the traditional Mongolian instrument called the Morin Khuur, a bowed string instrument that is also called the horsehead fiddle. Enkush is another throat singer in the band and is the lead Morin Khuur player. Jaya plays the jaw harp, the Tsuur which is a traditional Mongolian flute, and is also a throat singer. The final member, named Temka, plays the instrument called the Tovshuur, which is a three-stringed lute/guitar. All of these traditional instruments, the Hu electrified, adding more to the rock but folk feel. The band calls their style of music “hunnu rock”, in which the “hu” is inspired by the Hunnu, an ancient Mongol/Turkic empire. The unimaginably deep pitch of the traditional Mongolian throat singing lends itself to the harsh and distorted vocals of metal without the harsh, almost scream-like nature that metal can sometimes seem to have. Many times, the band’s lyrics include old Mongolian war cries and poetry, adding to the folk aspect of the band’s musical presentation. The Hu started to gain international recognition after their songs Yuve Yuve Yu and Wolf Totem blew up on YouTube, and they released their debut album The Gereg, the name nodding to the infamous Hun Ghengis Khan, in 2019. Their latest album Rumble of Thunder released on September 2nd 2022, and adds much more to the Hu’s discography, in complexity and style, than what we were able to listen to before. The album has 13 tracks, adding up to a total playing time of 1 hour and 8 minutes.

The Hu’s discography mainly consisted of standard metal anthems with touches of mongolian folk music added in every now and then, but the driving guitar chords, or shall I say Tovshuur chords, as the heavy drums gave a strong feel of traditional metal to the music. The genre of folk metal is very intriguing, as it is one of the most interesting sub-genres of Metal music. It is able to showcase the possibilities of combining the brashness, heaviness, and technicality of Rock with the finesse and sophistication of cultural and traditional music. The Hu is a great gateway to this kind of music, and their new album, Rumble of Thunder, explores the idea and appreciation of this with new rhythms and instrumentation, so that every song on this album feels completely different from the next.

The first track of the album is called This is Mongol. This first song sounds very similar to the rest of the music that the Hu had released in their previous singles and albums. It has the perfect mix of hard rock chords and percussion combined with the ever so recognizable deep throat singing, that there isn’t much to be disappointed by.

The next song on the album, Yut Hövende leans into the metal feelings more, and the guitar chords almost seem like those from a Metallica song. The multilayered gang vocals give a feeling of connectedness to the song, that gives warmth to the harsh percussion and instrumentation throughout the rest of the song.

The third song on the album is called Triangle, and it is my personal favorite. This song is the most different song that we have seen the Hu release so far. It is much softer, with jaw harps springing throughout the whole song, and it has a sort of liveliness to it. Triangle could even pass as an indie pop song if it really wanted to.

Even in these first three tracks of Rumble of Thunder, there is so much variation in the rhythms, instrumentation, feelings, and emotion, that a person couldn’t possibly not find a song they enjoy listening to on this album. These tracks are perfect for shamelessly blasting in the car with the windows rolled down, tuning out the distracting chatter while doing homework and trying to study, or even hyping yourself up before a sporting match. In all, Rumble of Thunder is a well rounded album that deserves any curious ear a worthy listen!