• "A dream back to Mongolian folk tales": A review of Nine Treasures' "Live in Beijing"

    Dear readers of my blog!

    Here comes another band I would like to introduce. Nine Treasures is a quite active sextet from Inner Mongolia in the People's Republic of China. Formed back in 2010, the group has released two full length albums, one extended play, two singles and one live album. The band has participated in many concert and festivals in mainland China but they also made it to the biggest metal festival in the world, the Wacken Open Air in Germany. The six musicians are authentic defenders of Mongolian folk tales and instruments combined with modern folk and heavy metal elements in the key of bands such as Eluveitie, Ensiferum and Korpiklaani. Nine Treasures is only one of several Chinese bands influenced by Mongolian history such as Ego Fall, Tengger Cavalry and Voodoo Kungfu that are all equally recommendable. Please support this underground movement of the New Wave of Mongolian Folk Metal. I hope you enjoy the authentic atmosphere, the joyful music and the profound tales of this sextet.

    Sincerely yours,

    Sebastian Kluth


    Nine Treasures - Live in Beijing (2015)

    After the solid debut full length release "Arvan Ald Guulin Hunshoor" and the really strong follow-up "Nine Treasures", the authentic folk metal sextet from Inner Mongolia celebrates its five years of existence with the short concert album "Live in Beijing". If the studio versions of the joyous yet profound Mongolian folk tales sound charming and exotic, the live versions go one step further and are much more energizing and entertaining. The sound is much heavier which makes the riffs feel more gripping, the bass guitar more present and the drum play more dynamical. The vocals sound much rawer and more powerful on stage without losing their hypnotizng elegance and traditionally inspired skills from the studio versions. The exotic folk instruments are still audible and complement the heavier tones perfectly. I really liked the sound of the two balalaikas on the previous studio effort and they do sound great on this new release as well but I'm more specifically digging the longing sound of the Mongolian horsehead fiddle morin khuur. It's definitely the most dominant instrument on this album and adds even more soul, a whole new sound dimension and profound uniqueness to the band's interpretations. 

    Apart of the excellent morin khuur play, the great interaction between the band and the audience make this record stand out. The concert has a harmonious and intimate atmosphere during the calmer passages but the crowd actively participates and goes wild in the right moments. The fans are almost constantly encouraged to clap their hands, dance along and shout or sing with the band. The vocalists make a couple of energizing announcements but also some funny jokes here and there. The different songs have a couple of improvised openings or endings in form of solo chants or jam parts that differ from the studio records and add some contagious diversity and power. The best live atmosphere can probably be heard in the authentic, extended and soulful rendition of "Nuutshai Chadal". 

    Despite its rather short length, the seven songs are among the very best tracks of the band and therefor wisely chosen. Opener "Black Heart" immediately drowns us into a magical live atmosphere that sounds much more profound, relaxed and spiritual than the studio version which rather convinces with surprising changes, raw energy and ferocious pace. The heavy and melodic "Sonsii" is probably the band's catchiest tune and its live rendition sounds even more organic and to the point. The melancholic and raw "Arvan Ald Guulin Hunshoor" is a perfect conclusion that resumes the band's fusion of modern rock music and traditional Mongolian folklore perfectly while the final seconds of the track capture the great atmosphere of that memorable night.

    If you like Western folk metal bands like Alestorm, Eluveitie and Korpiklaani, you should go one step further and discover the emerging scene of Mongolian folk metal around bands such as Ego Fall, The Samans and Tengger Cavalry. The best way to discover this fascinating genre is to start your journey with a live record like this that captures the liberating feeling of freedom, unchained lust of life and profound respect for ancient traditions even more than the diversified, philosophical and technical studio versions. These key elements form an essential mixture that help people from China and all around the world to escape from a conformist society, everyday pressure and modern technology to rediscover their cultural diversity, enchanting history and spiritual well-being. This haunting album may be called "Live in Beijing" and was recorded in a modern concert hall a few months ago but it almost feels as if it came directly from the traditional tents in a raw Mongolian steppe where a similar kind of music could have been played by a joyous tribe over decades and centuries.

    Final rating: 8,5/10

    "Black Heart" performed live in Beijing on January 10th, 2015:

    Here is some other footage from another live concert, recorded during the MIDI Festival 2014 in Beijing during quite difficult weather conditions:

    Finally, here is some footage from the band's performance at Wacken Open Air in Germany back in 2013:

    Please support the band and check out the following links:

    Bandcamp: http://ninetreasuresband.bandcamp.com/

    Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ninetreasuresofficial

    YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ixCh281Qa9c

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