Originally around twenty minutes long, I have a couple of bonus tracks (yes, on an EP) from these Chinese born (but now New York implants) Mongolian folk-metallers. That's not something you hear every day, which is the reason I'm reviewing it as well. If you've ever checked these guys out on YouTube or social media, you'll see that they use a lot of battles from Chinese films as music videos and the music fits quite well. But why wouldn't it? That being said, Mountain Side is much different than the band's Blood Sacrifice Shaman record released last year. Instead of heavy death metal influenced pieces, we're almost getting something that sounds like a mix between modern metal and traditional Chinese acoustic folk music. There are a lot of outside elements on this record that make it more of an atmopshere and appreciation for traditional Chinese music, though I'm not sure how the country feels about metal these days. I remember watching the documetary Global Metal a while back, and learned that things are not as tolerated over there as they are here. Which is why I'm glad they came to the states to give us a taste of China.
The vocals here almost feel like a mutter, as the guitars wail and the drums carry on a more traditional and less metallic vibe. There are still moments where the electric is plugged in, but you have to respect the fact that they wanted to something a bit different than their previous seven releases. In addition to the main track, we also get an interesting acoustic version as well as an um.... club mix? We also get an instrumental of the track, so let us hope you like it. In addition to that, we have a new recording of “War Horse” in this style, as well as “Krutaya Goya” and an interlude. All of these sort of mix together to form an atmosphere quite unlike any that we've heard from the band before and it sounds quite spiritual in some instances.
There are three bonus tracks as well, like I mentioned. We get a fiery version of “Tengger Cavalry” that features the band in a raw, live setting and sounds completely unfiltered. It might be a bit tough to hear, but Tengger Cavalry have yet to make millions of dollars in which to gain a high quality performance. This is just fine, and it sounds like what you'd expect from one of their shows, which is pretty damn amazing. There is absolutely NO ONE doing this kind of metal, so you'd better get your ears on this EP as soon as you can. Even the two bonus folk jams are worth checking out. They'll give you a little bit of insight as to how such a large ensemble of metal and Chinese mysticism combine to form a sound like none other.
(11 Tracks, 31:00)