Track By Tracks: MONGOL - The Return (2018)

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The Return is a concept album written about a Mongolian Prophecy that Genghis Khan will return from the grave to complete his conquest of the world. In the album we explore what the Great Khan’s return to the modern world would look like. The world appears to have two very different perceptions of the Mongol Empire, most believe that it was a brutal warmongering Empire; conversely it was also among the most progressive and liberal Empires of its time. Both perceptions are true, and we try to encapsulate that essence of duality in our music. In this album you will find melodic harmonies that conjure imagery of the vast glory of a great united Empire, and the raw beauty of her homeland; but you will also hear ruthless thundering rhythms that recall the reckless unbridled violence of battle. 

1. Prophecy of the Blind:

Prophecy of the Blind is an instrumental introduction to the album which gives us a preface to the story through monologue. It describes a gathering at the sacred Mountain, Burkhan Khaldun, as the Mongol people prepare for the Return of their Khan.

A short history lesson in relation to the album: In his early days, Genghis Khan took refuge from his enemies in the forests of Burkhan Khaldun. After that, he would return after battle to pray and pay his respects to the mountain he believed had saved him. For centuries no one outside the Royal Family was permitted near the sacred mountain until very recently, though it is still a protected site. In the monologue we speak of the return of “the long lost sulde to the mountain.” For context, a sulde is a Mongolian banner, that according to legend, preserves the soul of its owner. During the Soviet occupation of Mongolia, the sulde of Genghis Khan mysteriously disappeared and has never resurfaced. In this song it is triumphantly returned to Burkhan Khaldun, signifying the events to come.

2. The Return:

The Return is an upbeat and melodic song about the prophecy and anticipation of Genghis Khan’s return. To this day, the Mongol people cherish their history and revere the heroes from the days of the Empire. This song celebrates the memory of those heroes, and longs for the return to those days. The Return ends with a chant for Temujin to rise again and assume his mantle over the world.

3. Sacrificial Rites:

Sacrificial Rites is an instrumental track orchestrated by our keyboardist, and folk instrumentalist, Sche-Khe. The track begins with a low mournful call of a war horn that introduces a drastic shift in the album from upbeat and melodic, to dark and brooding.

4. Takhil:

Takhil (Mongolian for sacrifice) is easily our heaviest track on the album leaning more on the side of Death Metal. The lyrics reflect the relentless chaotic speed of the song as we delve into the resurrection of the Khan. The resurrection is a very dark ritual that, as the title implies, demands sacrifice.

5. Amongst the Dead:

Amongst the Dead is a fast-paced heavy hitter that serves as the most eclectic track on the album. It moves swiftly from distinctly Symphonic sounds, to fast paced Death/Black Metal riffs, and then to bouncy Folk Metal chants and back again. Drummer, Bourchi really shines on this one with some insanely fast and diverse drumming.

The lyrics begin with Genghis Khan erupting from the Earth on horseback as depicted on the album art. He is overjoyed with the sight of the mountains from his youth, but that joy quickly turns to rage with the state of the world. The Khan summons an army of his fallen comrades who were loyal to the Empire and sets out to reclaim his Empire and finish what he started centuries ago.

6. To the Wind:

To the Wind opens with powerful lead guitars, and quickly transitions into some fast Power Metal riffage. The melody is a throwback to “The Prophecy of the Blind” intro, making the whole concept come full circle, and giving the album a sense of continuity. This song boasts a powerful chorus, catchy banjo licks, and probably the most majestic synth section on the album.

Lyrically the song serves as the close to the album’s concept as we delve into the conquest of the modern world and the induction of the New World Khanate. This song is a kind of reflection on our world and its many issues that remain deeply rooted in our culture. When we asked what the Khan’s answer to this great modern dilemma would be, the song began to write itself. The Khan sought total unification, he was accepting of all culture and religion so long as it did not impede on the Empire, and he valued loyalty and merit above all. This is the basis he built his Empire on and would try to instill today. Genghis Khan was benevolent to those who served the Empire, but utterly destroyed those who opposed him.  His actions in the modern world prove no different as he brutally seizes the world and shapes it into his vision of an ideal united world.

7. Dschinghis Khan:

This is a cover of the German Disco song by the group also named Dschinghis Khan. In our own way, we kind of identified with this group as they also chose to express their music in a historical context. We recorded this song in both English and German for an exclusive German release of the album.

8. The Mountain Weeps:  

The last 3 tracks of the album are from the Warrior Spirit EP, which we have gone back and retouched. The orchestration has been totally rewritten, and the EP was given a shiny new mix and master by Diego Fernandez of Oracle Studios, and Lasse Lammert of LSD Studios. This song starts with a heavy lead solo, and leads into a slow, and sombre tune, with a chorus belted out by lead guitarist, Zev.  As the song progresses through a folky interlude, it picks up the pace quickly leading into a fast paced conclusion. The Mountain Weeps was written about making the pilgrimage to Burkhan Khaldun to pay homage to fallen brothers.

9. River Child:

Since releasing the original version last year, this song quickly became a crowd pleaser to be played at every show. It has a catchy chorus that gets the crowd moving and singing along. We are especially excited to release this newly improved version of River Child. The lyrics were written about the Mongol myth of the origins of the Imperial Borjigid bloodline. According to the myth the first Borjigin was born to the union of a wolf and a faun. The song sings about this first Borjigid, and his natural adaptation to the harsh steppe.

10. War Band:

The final song on the album has a groovy and triumphant feel to it. Some historical resources speak of how the Mongols would regularly send their soldiers home to the steppe to maintain their fierce nomadic culture that made them such an effective military.  War Band is about that return to home from war and meeting with your brothers in arms, only to return to war again.

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