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Album Reviews : Negurã Bunget – Vîrstele Pamîntului

By on April 16, 2010

266841Despite the departure of two of the three original members, Hupogrammos and Sol Faur, Negurã Bunget has created a musical masterpiece with Vîrstele Pamîntului. The follow-up to 2006’s remarkable ‘Om’ is a work of art which will definitely rate highly in the polls later this year and be held in high regard for many years.

The only remaining original member, Negru (drums), recruited five musicians to replace Hupogrammos and Sol Faur, the majority of which had performed with the band in their live performances. New vocalist Corb delivers an astonishing performance. The vocals are a mix of harsh and clean vocals, spoken word and chanting. It is a simply stunning display – check out track two where he moves from spoken word into a really emotional, tormented out-pouring (3:46 into the track). Any scepticism I had regarding the new line-up was laid to rest at that very moment.

The compositions are long and elaborate mixing mid-tempo black metal elements with traditional percussion and folk instruments such as the flute and xylophone. The combination never comes across as pretentious or clumsy. It really feels like a natural mixing of sounds which will have a wide appeal beyond the black metal fraternity.

The album opens with an eerie pipe arrangement which gradually builds with acoustic guitars, spoken words, chanting and tormented shouting before giving way to a mid-tempo riff and drums. It’s an impressive way to open the album and successfully delivers a taste of what is to follow.

The expectation for the second track would be a black metal bombardment. However, Dacia Hiperboreana slowly builds with ominous keyboards, a reverb saturated riff and the dramatic vocals mentioned earlier. It is a stunning song – probably the best on the album. Umbra is an instrumental with complex tribal drums and keyboards. It’s really not until the 4th song where the speed and volume pick up. The album from this point is a lot heavier but there are acoustic moments mixed into all of the tracks.

The only reason this album does not score a perfect 10 is track 7 – ‘Jar’, a kind of ambient ‘Twin Peaksy’ piece. The positioning of the song is perfect but it’s a bit too long to provide breathing space in between the heavier songs and there’s not enough happening to maintain interest. Also, another reason this doesn’t get a 10, and a minor issue I have with all Negurã Bunget albums, is that I think the drums could be a little bit louder in the mix. I understand they squeeze as much as possible into their compositions but I think there is a little bit more room to move with the drums.

After Jar we move onto the highlight of the album, possibly the highlight Negurã Bunget to date. Heavy riffs, ghostly keyboards, clean and harsh vocals deliver the truly astonishing Arborele Lumii. Întoarcerea Amurgului is the perfect closing track to an incredible experience which will put you on a natural high for days.

Don’t play this record when you’re driving around or washing the dishes or whatever. Turn the lights down, give it your full attention and immerse yourself into the world of Negurã Bunget. Incidentally, there is a limited special edition release of Vîrstele Pamîntului which includes a handmade wooden box full of Transylvanian earth where the album was conceived. 9.5 / 10

Band: Negurã Bunget
Album: Vîrstele Pamîntului
Year: 2010
Genre: Atmospheric black metal
Origin: Romania
Label: Code666
http://www.myspace.com/negurabunget

Track Listing:
1. Pãmînt
2. Dacia Hiperboreana
3. Umbra
4. Ochiul Inimii
5. Chei De Roua
6. Tara De Dincolo De Negura
7. Jar
8. Arborele Lumii
9. Întoarcerea Amurgului

Reviewed by Pete Williams

About

Mitch Booth is the owner, designer and grand overlord of Metal Obsession. In the few seconds of spare time he has outside of this site, he also hosts a metal radio show over on PBS 106.7fm in Melbourne (Australia) and organises shows under the name Untitled Touring. You should follow him on Twitter.