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Mongolia : Black Leaf

For 150 years, the Mongolian Empire stretched itself out from Eastern Europe to the outer-limits of Asia, and historically, it is the biggest empire ever to exist. Mongolia’s Black Leaf Demo on the other hand, takes up 80,000 KB on my flash drive. Some comparison. But despite the size difference, Mongolia has a sound that could one day rival their name: big--with room to expand. Mongolia is a new band, and they are off to a great start, however, some empires crumble from the pressure of time.

Mongolia are an instrumental trio playing riff-oriented Sludge that’s melody-driven, and a Doom so melancholic, I can foresee the band including Funeral Doom influences in their future releases. Like all great empires at their start, Mongolia could go either way: they can expand, conquer, and live on, or, they can be vanish from the maps and be less than a footnote. What creates the divide in my opinion, is their decision to go instrumental.

First off, it works well for Mongolia. The lack of vocals allows the various moods to unfold and shine in front of the listeners. The heavy shit sounds heavier. The slow shit gets borderline mammoth. Yet in the same breath, the instrumental aspect of their music takes away from Mongalia's potential.

The band has a great sound with interesting riffs, but what I find unpleasant is that it all feels incomplete, like something's lacking. After enjoying the first two tracks, ‘I’ and ‘II,’ I get the feeling that I'm listening to studio tracks and the singer is smoking in the parking lot, refusing to lay down his vocals. The riffs are great, but on their own they can get a bit boring—and the riffs are not boring. They become tiresome because the songs are written like traditional songs: there are main riffs, a hook, chorus, just no vocals. If Mongolia is going to go the instrumental-Doom route, they need to be more experimental in their song structures. Chunks of noise, bridges that span a few minutes, something to emphasize their lack of vocals, not draw attention to it.

This is a good start for a new band. Whether they can conquer the genre is up to them. Re-evaluate, strategize, attack.

Reviewer's rating: Unrated


Tracklist :
1. I
2. II
3. III
4. Black Leaf
5. Stoned Nomad

Duration : Approx. 33 minutes

Visit the Mongolia bandpage.

Reviewed on 06-08-2010 by Mark Breckles
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