The Hu // Fire From The Gods // Live Review // The Limelight // Belfast
One of the more curious gigs of the year has finally landed in Belfast this evening along with Storm Denis, a highly anticipated gig for sure as Mongolian Metal via The Hu is making its debut here tonight at The Limelight Belfast along with American Angst metallers Fire From The Gods.
FIRE FROM THE GODS
Thankfully I’ve landed in between storm systems and I’ve missed the rain. I’m in the Limelight in Belfast and awaiting the first act tonight. And here they come! Lead vocalist, AJ Channer and band explode into life imploring the substantial crowd to surge to the front and make some noise, the crowd is only too happy to oblige!
The band themselves maintain a melodic, albeit edgy, sound and vocals you can hear, (maybe I’m getting old but I like that), it’s a big departure from death metal growling.
Track two has a surprisingly mellow mood but that soon dissipates as they move into something resembling the 2000s rap-metal. The following piece leads into a more psychedelic sound, albeit with a hard-edged undertone, but that doesn’t last and before I know it, it’s back to that rap-metal sound.
The set ends with a surprisingly downbeat finish which to my mind conjures up an apocalyptic image, enhanced by the impressively fast staccato vocalizing from AJ. It’s at this point I finally read the message emblazoned on the back of his denim jacket: “Rich mans’ war, poor mans’ blood”. Point well made. I can almost hear the sirens closing in as their vision of the world becomes our reality.
Fire from the Gods from Austin, Texas are:
AJ Channer on lead vocals, Jameson Teat on rhythm guitar, Drew Walker on lead guitar, Bonner Baker on bass and Richard Wincader on drums.
And now for something completely different! The Hu (this led to slight confusion when I mentioned my next review, believe me)! Hailing from Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, they formed in 2016 and combine traditional Mongolian throat singing and instruments – the Morin Khuur and Tumur Khuur (a kind of two-stringed fiddle played with a bow) and the Topshur (a two or three-stringed lute).This was not your average Belfast gig and not a show I expected to see in the UK. Using these instruments and their degrees in music, The Hu combines a typically western metal sound with the instruments mentioned above.
It’s not every day you hear Mongolian throat singers doing their thing (a first for me), especially in such close harmony. The second track begins with a prime example of the skill involved in pulling off that throaty sound, I must confess I tried it earlier and it’s not easy! The sound these men produce is the kind of thing that could make you run into battle headlong regardless of the enemy. It’s hypnotic, elemental and put me in mind of New Zealand Haka. The aggressive, persistent beat is so stirring.
As they move onto their next number, the flute and mouth harp are added to the mix. The overall mood becomes surprisingly upbeat as the show progresses but they maintain that thumping, raw rhythm throughout. At around this point, the crowd around me is really getting into it and has started a war cry of their own in-between songs.
The band has a lot of energy and doesn’t hold back. As the night draws towards a close they launch into Wolf Totem, a nearly six-minute-long chant, with confrontational lines which translate into English as, “If lions come we’ll fight to the end, if tigers come we’ll fight and battle, if elephants come we’ll fight in rage, if humans come we’ll fight and obliterate.” Overall, powerful performance and something out of the ordinary.
A jubilant crowd witnesses something truly unique with the fusion of East & West coming together in the most remarkable way and tonight’s gig will last long in the memory of all who attended, The Hu are riding the crest of a wave currently and with the likes of Alien Weaponry laying the foundation of native/traditional music being integrated so successfully with Metal who knows where this crazy journey will take us next. Long may it last.