Mongol Horde - Möngöl Hörde (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Mongol Horde

Möngöl Hörde (2014)

X-tra Mile Recordings

Frank Turner has worn many faces in his fourteen-year musical career. He has fronted the scholarly and political hardcore(-ish) act Million Dead, become a folk-punker with a cult following, and now is a stadium rocker a’ la Bruce Springsteen. In 2014, he revealed his latest (winking) face: Möngöl Hörde.

Turner is reunited with Million Dead drummer Ben Dawson for this project (as well as Sleeping Souls member Matt Nasir), but this is a far cry from anything he’s done previously. He’s clearly won enough clout and freedom from his successful solo career to get him some Xtra Mile studio money. The songs are well-produced, with a slickly-polished sheen that edges it away from those early Million Dead numbers. Further distancing the two is Möngöl Hörde’s unabashed love for metal. Though labeled as “hardcore punk”, and certainly containing many hardcore and punk elements, the album is much closer to Judas Priest than to Refused.

Even the lyrical content of the album seems more metal in its violent absurdity. “Make Way” is about the titular Mongol horde: Ghengis Khan and his band of marauders, pissing off the Chinese and wreaking general havoc. “Tapeworm Uprising” is about Natalie Portman’s tapeworm and its quest for Hollywood control. There’s the pirate-themed “Blistering Blue Barnacles” and “WinkyFace: The Mark of a Moron”, a brutal anti-emoticon anthem. There are some moments of subtler commentary-- “Casual Threats of the Weekend Hardmen” is a biting satire of the total badasses out looking for fights in bars—but most of the songs are straightforward in their flippant metal glee.

Möngöl Hörde is the musical equivalent of candy. Not a ton of substance, but a hell of a lot of fun to consume. There’s a sense of enjoyment from Turner and crew on this album that make it easier to digest than much released during his recent tenure as serious folk-rock hero to the masses. I just can’t help but think of the conversation he must have had with X-tra Mile before making this: "Let me do what I want on this one and I’ll give you another Tape Deck Heart".