Going back over 9 years ago, Frank Turner was the lead singer of UK hardcore outfit MILLION DEAD. He has since turned acoustic-punk troubadour, scaling heights such as the Olympic Opening Ceremony and headlining the UK’s biggest venues. However a new project has emerged from the Winchester man, alongside both current and former bandmates, and that project is MÖNGÖL HÖRDE.
The three piece of Turner, Sleeping Soul Matt Nasir and Palehorse and former Million Dead drummer Ben Dawson begin as they mean to go on in their debut album, at full breakneck speed with a strangled yell of “ONCE UPON A TIME IN MONGOLIAAAAAA!” as ‘Make Way’ indeed makes way for all that follows it. This first point to make is that the Hörde sound nothing like Million Dead; there is not a melodic second of this album as it batters you black and blue for 36 minutes and there isn’t a socio-political statement in sight.
The band have mocked people who call them a hardcore outfit, and if that’s the case then I honestly don’t know what to call them. Intelligent, frantic, tongue in cheek and brutal are adjectives that spring to mind, yet a genre eludes them. This is actually quite refreshing, as too many bands are defined by a pre-determined genre in today’s scene. The album is fresh throughout, with changes in tempo ensuring that none of the tracks merge together and avoid sounding ‘samey’ as is often the downfall of short, fast albums. This is a massive compliment to this group of musicians, especially Nasir who brings his superb technical ability to the baritone guitar and stops the band from slipping into generic riffs and chord progressions that many acts do.
One of the things that make this album such an enjoyable listen are the tongue-in-cheek lyrics throughout. This band has obviously been used as a medium to let off steam for all three members (even the umlauts in the name are seemingly ironic); fun yet expressive and the subjects of the tracks are an example of this. A range of topics are covered; from John Lennon and Paul McCartney being time travelling song thieves to the charming ‘lads’ that plague British town centres on a Saturday night, a celebrity tapeworm exodus and a middle finger to Jessie J. If you weren’t already intrigued, I reckon you might be now!
An exhausting half-hour of surprises, this is a fantastic album that shows off the talents of three men who clearly are enjoying what they’re doing. Sure, Turner is the name attracting people in, but the vital ferocity of Dawson and Nasir’s progressive riffery make Möngöl Hörde a force to be reckoned with. They’re an incredible feat as a live act, and if this does prove to be their one and only album then it will be a job well done, albeit a shame. Make way for the Möngöl Hörde, and hopefully they will come back and fuck more up!