文：Pat Borzycki 译：Jason Zhou
《黑骏》的闪光点在于，歌曲创作手法单刀直入的同时也有很多让人拍案叫好之处。风驰电掣的吉他佐以凶暴的手掌闷音锻造出最纯粹的重金属之音，而主音吉他仿佛在对老牌速弹名家们致敬，对颤音的表现则让人看到了大神Michael Amott (Arch Enemy)的影子。铁骑乐队毫不吝啬地展现了让他们与众不同的民谣之声——马头琴悠扬的旋律配以阴冷的呼麦与金属风格琴瑟相和，以此制造出属于铁骑自己的风格。更不必说这张专辑有着难以否认的“魂”——你完全能听到这群人对金属以及传统蒙古族民谣的热爱，给人感觉耳目一新。
Tengger Cavalry: Black Steed Review
Tengger Cavalry are a band that needs no introduction in the Chinese metal scene – having already carved their name into local history with 2 releases, Nature Zhang and his recently acquired band of merry men have proven themselves to be a folk metal force to be reckoned with. Now as their sound progresses and reputation grows, the third album in their unique discography has arrived. Is this LP the trifecta effort fans have been hoping for, or is it merely a stepping stone in their career?
Black Steed is the first official album in Tengger Cavalry’s lifespan that has been recorded by a full line-up and has not solely been carried on the shoulders of Nature Zhang. Furthermore, it is also the shortest album release from the band, clocking in at 34 minutes with 7 of the 9 tracks being new material, suggesting a more upfront direction. The opening track “The Battlefield” is a short instrumental piece, carried by a small ensemble of strings, horns, and haunting Mongolian throat singing. The song attempts to set the tone for the album; however it ends quite abruptly before the track really has a chance to gain any sort of momentum. Of course, it is a delicate procedure composing an opening track especially if it’s instrumental, but it really feels as though this should be serving as a mid-way filler instead of being the all important first impression. Unfortunately, this is a problem that persists throughout the rest of the album. The title track “Black Steed” ends far too abruptly, leaving an anti-climax after a thrashing solo and gallant melody. This would be ok if “War Horse” picked up where “Black Steed” left off, but it’s at a totally different pace, ultimately damaging the flow of the record. Additionally, there’s an underwhelming lack of exploration and adventure in composition – there are instances when it feels as though a track is building up for an awesome folk journey of blazing around on horseback, but then a verse is repeated and you’re reminded that your steed is actually an office chair. Misplaced repetitive things like this really take away from the potential of the songs and highlight the short duration of the album.
Things aren’t all bad, though. Whilst there is a straightforward and somewhat simple approach in song-writing, there are catchy moments that are mighty fine. The guitars gallop and chug along with a palm-muted ferocity forged from grains of pure ‘eavy metule, whilst the leads shred with a keen sense of the old school, even echoing a familiar touch of vibrato akin to axeman Michael Amott. Tengger Cavalry retain and revel in the folky sounds that make them unique – soaring melodies on the matouqin coupled with darkly atmospheric Mongolian throat singing that is really well balanced and tightly woven into metal stylings to create a musical identity that they can proudly claim as their own. Not to mention the undeniable spirit of the album – you can really hear the genuine love for metal and traditional Chinese and Mongolian folk music that these guys have, which is very refreshing.
Overall, this is a band that has achieved a very distinctive style which they should be proud of, but they should also be pushing for more with each album. Tengger Cavalry do have the ingredients to make an awesome, well-rounded metal pie, but so far Black Steed doesn’t quite cut it (I think it was the crust), and unfortunately doesn’t stand as tall amongst their past efforts. C’mon guys; push those vocals, mix up that bass, and keep challenging yourselves! You certainly have it in you.