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Album Reviews : Negura Bunget – Maiestrit

By on April 25, 2010

2698196Maiestrit is the second of three major releases by Negura Bunget this year which also includes the new album involving the new line-up – Vîrstele Pamîntului and a live DVD to be released later this year. Maiestrit is a re-interpretation of the bands 2000 opus Maiastru Sfetnic and is the final recording involving all three original members before Hupogrammos and Sol Faur departed to form Dordeduh.

The album is a complete re-recording of the original – not just a re-mix of old master tapes, which seemed to be an unusual decision initially. Despite my great admiration for this band, I rarely listen to the first few records – the production is primitive and they demonstrate a band refining their sound and developing their skills. I’ve always considered that the beginning of Negur? Bunget arrived with the 2002 release of ‘N Crugu Bradului. This was a belief I maintained until my third or fourth listen of Maiestrit when I began to unlock the album’s secrets and discover its energy and the decision to re-record suddenly made sense. Maiestrit is phenomenal and vast improvement on the original manifestation of these songs.

There is a splash of the atmospherics that would become more prominent in later releases but most of the album is a black metal bombardment. The guitar work is incredible – thundering black metal tremolo rhythm patterns and brilliantly executed tempo changes. They also display some interesting special effects reminiscent of Pink Floyd, in particular a ‘whistle’ effect on the track “În-Zvîcnirea Apusului”.

The drumming is faultless and considerably better than the original. In the original recording, the drums are louder in the mix but some of the drum patterns sound a bit clumsy. One of my only objections with the new recording is the drums are too low in the mix. The tribal drumming in the beginning of “Bruiestru” is only just audible against the keyboards and guitars.

There are a few other notable differences when you play the two versions side by side. Keyboards have a much larger presence in Maiestrit and there is considerable improvement in the vocal department – both in the production and mix and also in Hupogrammos’ talents.

The compositions on Maiestrit are epic and complex. It has a much more dense arrangement than their later releases and they have probably packed more riffs and tempo changes into these 55 minutes than most bands do in an entire catalogue.

Two additional acoustic tracks – “A-Vînt în Abis” and “Plecaciunea Mortii” are intriguing but feel a bit out of place to me; just tacked on to the end of the album. These songs might have been better placed on a separate disc.

I still rate everything this band has recorded since ‘N Crugu Bradului higher than this album but that only highlights the quality of their catalogue. This is an excellent album worthy of your attention and an outstanding closing chapter to the original Negura Bunget. 9/10

Band: Negura Bunget
Album: Maiestrit
Year: 2010
Genre: Atmospheric black metal
Origin: Romania
Label: Lupus Lounge
http://www.myspace.com/negurabunget

Track Listing:
1. Vremea Locului Sortit
2. În-Zvîcnirea Apusului
3. A-Vînt în Abis <- Reviewers choice
4. Al Locului
5. Bruiestru <- Reviewers choice
6. Plecaciunea Mortii
7. A-Vînt în Abis (Acoustic Version)
8. Plecaciunea Mortii (Acoustic Version)

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.