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Seemed like a cool idea at the time... - 44%

severzhavnost, May 3rd, 2013

... but it never was. No, heavy metal should never have defiled itself by adopting elements of hip-hop filth. When you have a perfectly tasty pepperoni, olive and mushroom pizza, you don't fuck it up by adding those nasty little hairy fish! That's the influence of nu-metal on our beloved genre - an anchovy on the pizza.

Now, I'm not against bands experimenting with their sound. Hurd themselves are known for redoing some of their early heavy metal fan favourites in all acoustic, with Mongolian folk instruments. That sounds like an experiment that works. This shit though? Naw G! I want the Hurd, not the hood. I suppose my review would be more complete if I had an educated opinion for nu-metal fans, as to whether this is good nu-metal. But I freely admit that I have no idea what constitutes good rapping and turntabling, nor do I have any desire to learn.

To be fair, we are not subjected to a full-hour barrage of the heavy homeboys. Only a couple of the 16 songs can be called *ahem* pure rap-metal. These would be "Ug Sons" and "Gar Utas". That's why this album ranks a 44 for me: about 88% of the music attempts to pass itself off as real metal, and of that 88%, maybe half is successful. 

Trouble is, you can put your boots in the oven, but that won't make 'em biscuits. Call it heavy metal if you want, but the Ganglandic conception of what is music permeates the rest of the album. Even when it's not full on nu-metal, it just doesn't feel right. On a respectable Hurd album, the band will offer a couple of soft ballads that genuinely fit in to their traditional heavy metal atmosphere. But that's not the atmosphere they're going for here, so the ballads serve only to accentuate the band's identity crisis. Yup, on another album lighter songs like "Shine Jil" and "Chamaigaa Unsye" would add a nice, thoughtful interlude between higher-pace pieces. On "Myangan Jild Gants" though, they're just a WTF moment.

Singer Tomortsog is not rapping constantly, but apart from the ballads, he doesn't do much actual singing either. Sad, because if you've heard him on "The Best Collection 2", you'd know he has solid oldtime heavy metal range. Here, there's just too much dumbass big-man hollering. "Yalaa Lilee" might have been a good song, without the turntables and the gross vocals. There's some good speed and an interesting rhythm in this one. But for a really terrible decision, he uses that yelling nonsense both to open and close the album, with the songs "Hun" and "Heleh n Hegshuun". The latter would have been better as an instrumental. Yeah it sounds harsh to say "just don't sing at all, Tomortsog", but "Heleh" is just too fast to try and sing with. Especially in a tough-guy shout. It should've just been a kick-ass sort of improvised blast! Vocally, the only real Hurd song here is "Ungursun Shunu". He can hold high notes, while still maintaining his unique deep timbre and keeping pace with an actual melody, which is sorely lacking elsewhere on the album.

The guitars are sort of decent, when they're not sharing the limelight with the insidious DJ scratching. Guitars here just never rival the speed I was used to from the other Hurd albums. Too predictable, too radio-oriented, too slow and not enough creativity in riff selection. They're heavy in that obnoxious turn of the century way. Metal heaviness should be felt in your heart to get your blood rushing. Most of this album just feels heavy in your stomach, like cold poutine. There are exceptions. I would definitely pay for a concert featuring "Ungursun Shunu" and "13 n Aash", since they're the only examples of real 80s influenced guitar riffing. 

What really drags this down is the rhythm section. The bass, not so much, as it's swamped by those bombastic asstastic guitars. And that's sad because the bassist has some real skill that he showed on earlier releases. But the drums - holy Kublai Khan, what happened to the drums! Founding member Ganbayar had played drums on the early albums, and did it great. His work was top-notch speed metal, driving Hurd's music to the borders of thrash territory. On this album, he steps aside for a younger brother, Otgonbaatar, who really should know better than this simple in da club bouncing. Hell, he wrote "Boltugai", which is one of my favourite Hurd songs! For "Myangan Jild Gants", he just phones it in. Might as well have gone to Jay-Zed's workshop and bought a prepackaged beat off the shelf, for all the knuckle-dragging simplicity on display here. "Ataarhal", "Ta", "Ochij Chadaagui", and "Unegui Ym" all feature the same goofball 1-2-3-4 bouncy crapola. Only "Gantsaardal" and the two other good songs I mentioned earlier have anything resembling speed metal drumming.

Don't buy this. I've learned that "myangan jild gants" translates to "once in 1000 years", and that is one of the few things Hurd got right on this misguided album. Hearing this dumb bastard nu-metal experiment once is enough for my millennium! If I wanted to listen to Dinkin Park, I'd buy one of their albums. Then I'd call the police to report my runaway testicle.