Back in the early-to-mid 2000s UK folk/punk hero, Frank Turner, was the lead singer of the hardcore band Million Dead. After seven years, Frank reunited with Million Dead drummer, Ben Dawson, to form a new hardcore band along with Matt Nasir (from Frank’s other band The Sleeping Souls) on Baritone Guitar. This venture was called Möngöl Hörde, and they have played four shows (including Reading and Leeds festivals in 2012) to date. Nearly two years after they showed themselves to the world, their debut album has finally seen the light of day.
They open with the track “Make Way,” which they used to open their live shows with. Its jazzy intro before launching itself into a delightfully deep and heavy riff shows that Frank has not lost an ounce of his abilities as a hardcore vocalist. It is clear from the lyrics that this could not be further from Frank and Matt’s usual work in the folk scene as the narrative moves away from tattoos and growing up in Essex and towards the story of Ghenghis Khan.
The entire album is nothing but straight up hardcore, jam-packed with interesting time signatures and often ludicrous lyrics. Frank, himself, has said, “an awful lot of the words are literally the first s**t that came to my head.” And this shows in abundance of songs, especially those concerning Natalie Portman’s tapeworm having a sudden and unexpected change of heart, and a tale of how the communists ruined Christmas.
What sets Möngöl Hörde apart from the rest of the current hardcore punk bands is the extremely technical instrumentation. Since baritone guitarist, Matt Nasir, didn’t grow up with heavy and hardcore music, he doesn’t resort to the classic rhythms and riffs and uses his technical knowledge instead. This, combined with the drumming of Ben Dawson, makes for some truly engaging tracks which are constantly mixing things up to avoid sounding even remotely repetitive.
In summation, if you buy one hardcore album this year, it better be this one filled with 13 tracks of fantastically written music with Frank Turner’s humorous lyrics sprinkled on top. But I must reiterate, for fans of Frank’s solo work, this could not be further from that. And also, for the Million Dead fans out there, I think this is as close as you are getting to a Million Dead reunion.
Catch Möngöl Hörde on the Lock Up stage at the UKs Reading and Leeds festivals this year.
The album is available now here through Xtra Mile Records