Exposé Online banner

The Hu — The Gereg
(Eleven Seven ESM-553-3, 2019, CD / LP)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2020-05-20

The Gereg Cover art

This Mongolian four piece (augmented by guest players) has deep roots in the traditional music and singing of their native land, presenting a style of music best characterized as folk-infused rock, since their formation in 2016. The core members are ‘Gala,’ lead throat singer and morin khuur (a two-stringed horsehead fiddle that’s typically played with a bow); ‘Enkush,’ who plays lead morin khuur as well as throat singing; ‘Jaya’, playing flute, tsuur (wooden end-blown flute), and tumur khuur (basically a Mongolian jews’ harp); and ‘Temka’, playing the tovshuur (a Mongolian guitar). In addition, four ‘touring’ members joined the group in 2019: ‘Jamba’ on guitars and backing vocals; Batkhuu Batbayar on bass and backing vocals; ‘Ono’ on percussion, tumur khuur and backing vocals; and ‘Odko’ on the drum kit. Prior to this, their debut album’s September 2019 release there were already four well-received videos circulating on YouTube since 2018, and while those are exemplary of the music on the album, they will also give an idea why many folks refer to their music as “metal” — it’s the fact that their traditional throat singing does sound somewhat related to the cookie-monster vocals in your typical death metal style. That said, most of their music is played on what are essentially acoustic instruments, the drums and bass give it its heavy rock feel, and of course their singing which I believe is all in Mongolian, but when all the rock instrumentation subsides, one can hear the bowed morin khuur leading the way, undescoring that more than anything, under the heavy surface, this is really borne of traditional folk music. The album opens with the title track, moving on to the amazing “Wolf Totem,” both of which have videos floating around on the net. “Shoog Shoog” is a heavy stomper that will have your foot moving, while “Shireg Shireg” opens into an acoustic piece for flutes and tumur khuur before things get heavy, probably the most memorable melody on the entire disc, although the bluesy rhythm of “The Great Chinggis Khan” winds into another masterful synthesis of folk and rock. Clearly, these guys are onto something interesting and unusual, comparable perhaps with the band Suld, also reviewed in these pages.


Filed under: New releases, 2019 releases

Related artist(s): The Hu

Latest news

2020-05-15
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more

2020-05-14
Jorge Santana RIP – Jorge Santana, noted guitarist, leader of the band Malo and brother to Carlos Santan, died on May 14 at the age of 68. Jorge and Carlos worked together on a number of occasions, though Jorge's career was centered around Malo, solo work, and with Fania All-Stars. » Read more

2020-05-06
Florian Schneider RIP – Florian Schneider, one of the founders of the pioneering electronic group Kraftwerk, has died at the age of 73. Co-founder Ralf Hütter announced that his bandmate had passed away from cancer after a brief illness. » Read more

2020-04-23
Shindig Festival Goes Lock-Down – Here's what they're saying: It's A Happening Thing! The Shindig! Magazine Lockdown Festival. In our days of no large gatherings of people, maybe it's still possible to have a music festival. Shindig! Magazine is giving it a go with a multi-artist streaming extravaganza on Saturday April 25. » Read more

2020-03-24
Bill Rieflin RIP – The sad news reaches us today of Bill Rieflin's death. Rieflin was best known as a drummer in bands ranging from post-punk to industrial to indie-rock to progressive rock, including work with The Blackouts, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Swans, Land, and King Crimson. Rieflin had been battling cancer for several years, and succumbed to it on March 24. He was 59. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Birdsongs of the Mesozoic - The Iridium Controversy – This new offering from my favorite prehistoric animal noise group certainly lives up to the high standards of their previous releases, and over the long term may turn out to be one of my favorites. As...  (2003) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues