Mongolian and metal aren’t two words I typically associate together. That is until I saw The HU take the stage at Denver’s Oriental Theater Thursday night.
It’s not difficult to see why buzz has been building. Traditional Mongolian music lends itself easily to a heavier interpretation. Add in a pack of skilled musicians, and the mix of old world and contemporary gets even more appealing. Loads of viral video views (19 million at last count). Shows that sell out well ahead of time (this one included). It all made sense.
If anything defines The HU live, it’s a steady and driving beat. There’s a pulse that runs through the entire set. Beginning with the crowd chant of “HU! HU! HU!…”, and building with the addition of multiple drummers, guttural vocals and the methodical strum of tribal instruments. The core group of four are backed by an additional set of musicians. Adding even more punch to the waves of strings and percussion.
According to their web site, the band’s name is derived from “the Mongolian root word for human being.” And their style, dubbed “Hunnu Rock,” pulls it’s inspiration from the ancient empire that western culture knows at The Huns. Their lyrical themes run the gamut. Ranging from the lengendary rule of Ghengis Khan to the love of a mother for her child. The band opened with the energetic “Shoog Shoog.” And then went on to treat the crowd to a variety of cuts from their just-released debut album – The Gereg – including “The Song of Women,” “The Same,” “Yuve Yuve Yu” and Wolf Totem.”