Chinese-Mongolian folk metal band Tengger Cavalry took the stage Wednesday night. Their unique style set them apart immediately.
Salt Lake locals Vicious Souls were the first opening act for Tengger Cavalry’s show on Wednesday, Oct. 5 at Metro Bar. The thrash metal band wore corpse paint as they rocked with the rest of the crowd. After playing a short set, Incite took the stage. A groove metal band from Phoenix, Arizona, Incite is headed by Richie Cavalera. Richie is the stepson of Max Cavalera, famous frontman of Brazilian thrash/groove metal band Sepultura. Like his stepfather, Richie has a lot of frenetic energy and a commanding stage presence. The crowd really got into Incite’s performance during the final two songs, “No Remorse” and “WTF”, forming an intense mosh pit to show their engagement.
Next up was headliner Tengger Cavalry. Formed in Inner-Mongolia and now based in New York City, Tengger Cavalry is a Chinese-Mongolian folk metal band headed by Nature Ganganbaigal. The band provides an eclectic mix of folk metal that combines heavy metal with elements of traditional Mongolian music; this includes throat singing, the morin khuur — kind of like a fiddle in Western culture and the sanxian, a traditional Mongolian three-stringed fretless plucked instrument. Furthermore, the set was a visual feast of traditional Mongolian culture. A grand, rainbow-colored Buddhist prayer flag was placed behind the band, three members wore traditional Mongolian clothing known as Deel and one of the microphones was ornamented with a Mongolian Wind Horse.
Tengger Cavalry’s Uljmuren started off the concert with a solo on the morin khuur – a traditional Mongolian bowed stringed instrument – that eventually gave way to song “The Struggle.” The song’s inclusion of things like the sounds of galloping horses, electric guitars, fast-paced drums, the sanxian and the morin khurr set a cerebral tone for the rest of the night.
Highlights during Tengger Cavalry’s concert included the songs “Golden Horde,” “Galloping Steeds” and “Expedition.” The set ended with “Mountain Side,” a beautiful song that included band member Nature performing on the sanxian raised close to his head. Nature and the rest of the band were mostly reticent during the concert but Nature did close the show by saying, “I love Salt Lake!” and that he cannot wait to come back. Perhaps the majestic mountains and climate of Salt Lake City that bear a striking resemblance to his home of Inner-Mongolia will pull his band back to Utah sooner rather than later.