In just a couple of years, The Hu has turned the metal spectrum on its ear by implementing the genre with elements of traditional Mongolian folk, inclusive of throat singing and traditional instruments, and presenting themselves in the garb and armor of the Huns. The music is of such a spectacle that it’s difficult to fit into one genre—they refer to themselves as Hunnu rock or some fans use the umbrella term Mongolian folk metal. As for myself, I categorize them as ‘brutal Mongolian folk’. Their style is of such a swelter that it is near impossible to confuse it with any other artist, even when covering a highly ranked song from one of metal’s most illustrious groups.
Anybody who proclaims themselves as a metalhead has heard of, and at some point listened to Metallica, who have their own identifiable style. As someone who has listened to Metallica’s catalog, front to back, on multiple occasions, I must admit that this cover of ‘Sad But True’ sounds as if the Hu wrote it themselves. They roll back on the electric output in the intro, letting the acoustics build up the tension up to when the drum roll signals the drop and the distorted instrumentation slams in, submitting a headbanging massacre, with some added “Hu! Hu!” chanting. The vocal output of throat singing pays decent homage to the conjuncture of melody and rasp of James Hetfield, and what’s more the lyrics are translated to their native language! Most bands of bilingual standpoints have re-recorded their own material to be presented with translated lyrics, however this is the first time I’ve seen it done through a cover song. It’s not dissimilar to when they recruited Jacoby Shaddix (Papa Roach) to sing in a redox of ‘Wolf Totem’, creating a spectacle of where each line in the verses are sung in English by Shaddix and repeated in Mongolian by The Hu.
The brutality ensues and I’m happily shrouded by the riffs and translated lyrics, until the solo hits so hard that I’m knocked out of my seat. Keeping a straightforward mindset of what they represent, the solo wasn’t covered with guitar but by the morin khuur, more so encapsulating how they are making this song their own. That’s something you have to appreciate about bands that cover popular songs—not so much copying and pasting, but rhyming. The Hu proudly conducts the latter—with their cover of this Metallica classic simultaneously being a discernible send-up to the creators while being able to stand on its own volition.