The HU – Rumble of Thunder
Released: September 2, 2022
Gala // Lead Throat Singer and Morin Khuur
Enkush // Lead Morin Khuur and Throat Singer
Jaya // Jaw Harp, Tsuur, Flute, and Throat Singer
Temka // Tovshuur
Ono // Percussion, Tumur hhurr
Jamba // Guitars
Davaa // Bass
Odko // Drums
“Our message is just let the people feel the music. We’re trying to spread this message of love your environment, and find the virtue of men, and if you’re going through hard times, difficulties, we want to help you with this, and give you this boost with our second album.”
– Percussionist Ono whilst in Sydney, Australia. August 2022.
Mongolian 8-piece The HU have not been stuffing about over the last few years. Sure, the pandemic didn’t exactly come at the most opportune time. They were down under for the Aussie leg of the ill-fated Download Festival in March 2020, neck deep on a world rampage promoting their 2019 debut album The Gereg when a cruise ship full of spicy coughers pulled into Sydney and put the whole continent in lockdown. Stuck in the mix were our Mongolian mates, who were made to quarantine in a Sydney flat for 45 days until they were permitted to return home (read more about their experience here).
In the time since, they’ve released a Deluxe Edition of The Gereg, including three versions of their own songs being performed with American musicians Jacoby Shaddix of Papa Roach, Lzzy Hale of Halestorm and From Ashes To New. Next was the release of ‘Sugaan Essena’ for the Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order game. Following that was the inclusion of their versions of ‘Sad But True’ and ‘Through The Never’ for The Metallica Blacklist album. They toured throughout North America for the latter part of 2021 into 2022, which included their appearance at none other than Coachella. Amongst all that, the lads have only gone and produced their sophomore album Rumble Of Thunder and I think it’s only fair to say that on this outing, the fellas have delivered.
The HU kickstart proceedings with thundering first single ‘This Is Mongol’ and whilst not being the most overly complicated piece of music of all time, it is the closest I’ve heard this mob get to flat out rock n roll. The bass line is straight out of the AC/DC playbook and Gala’s voice at the end will have the hairs on the back of your tongue stand up. It leads beautifully into ‘YUT Hövende’, a war cry delivered on that slow march to battle. This song carries weight in it’s delivery alone, very much at times like a Maori Haka. Powerful, measured and at the end, I felt like my breathing changed a little.
Now for the all-time hugest change of pace in history, ‘The Triangle’ starts off sounding like the intro to Bananarama’s 1987 banger ‘Love In The First Degree’. When they played this bad boy at their recent Sydney show (our coverage here), it was like a party had broken out in the Roundhouse. Hands were waved, flags were raised and a huge wave of happiness cut across the crowd. Put this on if you want to see a bunch of overjoyed revellers sing along to a tune they know none of the words to.
‘Teach Me’ is The HU you’ve loved from the start. A campfire-worthy song that you could easily find your smile in, either with a full band or just a couple of horse fiddles and a Tovshuur guitar. It’s a groovy tune, custom built to be sung along to. ‘Upright Destined Mongol’ is a killer song name and the intro reminds me of ‘One World’ off Anthrax’s album Among The Living. Horse fiddles needle their way into the song and picks up where ‘YUT Hövende’ left off. A few shots fired, some Mongolian gang vocals and this song chugs nicely into ‘Sell The World’, an almost bluesy, dare I say country feeling piece, that is until Jaya leans into it with his amazing voice and dirties the whole affair right up. I’m just waiting for someone to mash this up with a clip of Lee Marvin singing ‘I was born under a wandering star’. (I just reread that sentence to myself…I am old).
Described by The HU as the crown jewel of Rumble Of Thunder, ‘Black Thunder’ is nine minutes of majestic excellence. Entrenched with Mongolian values, ‘Black Thunder’ tells a powerful story of battle, faith, and ultimately death. This epic composition anchors this entire album and is a hallowed experience live. A song of such reverence deserves a grand follow up and ‘Mother Nature’ does so absolutely perfectly. This stirring masterpiece, along with the preceding anthem make for 16 minutes you’ll revisit forever. ‘Bii Biyelgee’ keeps the rumble rolling, picking the pace up to a joyous gallop and if I didn’t know better, I’d think these three come together to make one epic trilogy. Insanely good.
‘Segee’ is up next and I didn’t see this one coming. At first glance, it’s got a bit of Zac Brown to it before launching itself into a verse/chorus rundown that doesn’t seem too far removed from all the pub rock that gets flogged vehemently on Oz-Rock radio stations. I can’t help but think that the six weeks the fellas were locked down in Sydney for hasn’t rubbed off on them just a bit. ’Shihi Hutu’ takes off and it’s easy to see why it’s their new show opener. Like so many of their songs, it has the March of battle to it and is dripping with Mongolian pride.
The horses begin stirring as ‘TATAR Warrior’ gets ready to close out the album. A few voices chime in and it’s like a scene out of Mad Max 2. The anguish builds into a slow stirring sway that rips into Metallica Black Album-styled breakdowns. It’s all very Black Sabbath heavy and the erratic horse fiddle solo adds delicious angst and breaks the song up nicely. It all falls back into line again before finishing with a Gala and Jaya throat singing crescendo.
This is Hunnu Rock at its finest. The HU have created something instantly recognisable, uniquely theirs and this second outing is an exceptional addition to the growing body of work they’ve already released into this world.
The HU – Rumble of Thunder Tracklist:
- This is Mongol
- YUT Hövende
- Teach Me
- Upright Destined Mongol
- Sell The World
- Black Thunder
- Mother Nature
- Bii Biyelgee
- Shihi Hutu
- TATAR Warrior
Revisit our chat with The HU chatting all things Rumble of Thunder here