Album: Nine Treasures – Awakening From Dukkha

Named after a group of objects referenced in ancient Mongolian poems, ‘Nine Treasures’ are celebrating their journey so far with their new ‘Best Of’ record, Awakening From Dukkha, to be released 19th March. The band had felt like their previous work did not reflect themselves as well ass they liked. This led them to removing their previous work from the internet and offering the previous tracks as a free wave downloads. Awakening From Dukkha is a collection of songs from those previous albums but re-recorded.

A celebration of the past it may be, but for vocalist/guitarist Askhan and his bandmates, this decade-spanning collection is also a rebirth for Nine Treasures:

“Our fans deserve to hear us at our best, which is why we were so motivated to make this album. Now we’ve done that, we just want to keep Nine Treasures going as long as possible, make music that we’re proud of and spread a little positivity… and tour the world again!”

“It’s always been about the music with us,” he says. “When I started this band I had no idea how things worked, and I thought it was all about marketing, promotion and fancy videos, but after 10 years of doing this, I’ve realised that everything revolves around the music itself. That’s why our focus is on making our music as great as it can be – we’re constantly progressing.”

‘Black Heart’ starts with the clattering of drums and crashing guitar chords the traditional instruments are not easy to spot until the Balalaika takes up the melody and we are introduced to throat singing. Mongolian style. You can’t help but be dragged into the music with that pounding and relentless beating drum beating. This is music to put a smile on your face.

Theres some cracking guitar work throughout this album also. The opening riff to ‘Arvan Ald Guulin Honshoor’ sounds so damn good it will have you reaching for the volume button. The guys are the masters of writing a catchy rhythm. ‘Fable Of Mangas’ and ‘Nomin Dalai’ are begging for a stage and an audience to clap along too. But its with ‘Wisdom Eyes’ where the band has really hit the catchy nail on the head. The hypnotic quality of the main riff makes this track a particular favourite. Each instrument takes turns to show off with a crowd pleasing group vocal that’s will sound perfect on some summer festival stage. ‘Wisdom eyes’ is the perfect introduction to this band and is a big highlight of the album with its perfect fusion of east and west.

The bassy ‘Tes River’s Hymn’ descends into some crunching guitar riffing. After all this is a metal album and with tracks like Tes River’s Hymn and Ten Years, the band have enough to please many a metal fan. Ten Years is a full on melodic assault from both sides of the instrumentation. The instrumental track ‘The Dream About Ancient City’ is the perfect combination of east and west styles. A picked guitar ballad with the melody coming from the traditional instruments.

A rousing drum fill kick things off a very Mongolian titled track ‘Praise For Fine Horse’ before the foot goes full to the floor with a bass heavy melodic explosion. A thundering relentless track thats as infectious as a track can be. The combination of melodic creating instruments bring an extra something that most bands can’t scratch. One of the reasons why bands like Nine treasures are getting more and more exposure.

‘The End Of The World’ is perhaps the most western sounding track and relies heavy on the guitar skills of Askhan Avagchuud something another track ‘The Stubborn’ also does. Both are full on hard rock monsters with ‘The End Of The World’ making use of the Morin khuur to bring the melody with the guitar as a rhythmic instrument that they then build the rest of the song from.

The album ends on the groovy ‘Three Years Old Warrior’ perhaps the best track for showing the bands brilliant weaving of instruments which is the unique signature to their sound. While often keeping the guitar as a chord munching backing and allowing the traditional instruments to pick up the melody they allow the guitar to take on a more leading role.

It’s a simple formula. Crushing guitar comes overlaid with the higher sweeter sounds of the traditional Mongolian Balalaika and soulful Morin Khuur. It creates an atmosphere you never knew you needed it till you heard it. The throat singing is another tick on the metal wanted list. With the band having decided to revisit their previous work and rerecord it we get a chance to hear it as they intended which makes this album that more important in the history of the band.

I’ve always been a fan of best of albums, especially as an introduction to a band, and what a band. The whole album is on groovy infectious metal and folk mash which grabs hold from the opening chord. For those that have never stepped foot out of their metal comfort zone, Nine Treasures is a way to expand your mind and hear exotic melodies over the comfort of a heavy backing.

Check out the track Wisdom Eyes, below:

Order the LP here

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