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Bucium - Voievozii CD (album) cover




Prog Folk

3.48 | 10 ratings

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4 stars

Bucium's debut album, Voievozii, finally saw the light of day some eight odd years after the band's formation in 2000. But by golly, was that worth the wait. The concept upon which it was built takes us back to a period shrouded in legend about Wallachia's and, to a certain extent, Moldavia's mediaeval rulers known as voivods; a period where Christian beliefs would intertwine with the ancient Dacian philosophies.

The album per se is characterised by sudden tempo changes from metal influences residing in the heavy guitar riffs, but mostly in the alert and powerful drumming, to gentle guitar playing and elegant violins inspired by Romanian folklore, all accompanying the solemn, yet absolutely splendid male vocals, courtesy of Andi Dumitrescu. But do not fear, despite having one of the three main sets of instruments - violins, drums and guitars (the bass is barely perceptible as it mostly follows the guitar riffs) - subdued by the other two at different phases throught the album, chaotic it is not! Every single change of pace is perfectly justified as it relies on the twists and turns that dwell in the stories recounted in each of the eight tracks. For instance, Maria Doamna (Raresoaia), an ode dedicated to the mother of one of Moldova's dearest voivods, has barely perceptible tempo changes, since it intends to be delicate, feminine and reverent, as can be heard in the beautiful and catchy chorus. Another 'slow' track is Zamolxe (the supreme deity of the Dacians) which features light folky electric guitar and soft violin generating an almost abstentious atmosphere fit for a ceremony, which ends with cheerful, yet tasteful vocals.

The highlight of the album, is most definitely Rovine - a gorgeous 15 + minute epic about the mythical 14th century battle of the Wallachian army led by Mircea cel Batran (Mircea the Elder) against sultan Bayezid's I Ottoman Turks, where, although heavily outnumbered and with severe casualties, the Wallachians managed to claim victory. The track debuts with clamour from a distant battlefield and sounds of galloping horses which slowly get lost in the cluster of instruments led by the violins which gradually becomes and more alert, the lead being taken by the heavy guitars and drumming. The lyrics at first person plural - which at first sound pessimistic, the Wallachians awaiting to perish druing the night time, turn into victorius chants, but still hardly believing the outcome; the instrumental part which is slowly building up with gentle guitar and violion, gets heavier and heavier as the battle follows its course and increases in intensity, at this time the violins on one hand, and the guitar, bass and drums on the other, have entwined to create an almost utopian battle soundscape. With each acceleration of pace, one can imagine the Wallachian army pulling itself together under the ever so close supervision of its commander, Mircea, and charging forth to finally defeat the Ottomans.

All in all, a superb first effort from this Romanian band that I think, passed the 'promising' stage. Keep up the good work, guys!

4 stars! - to my ears anyways.

Lizzy | 4/5 |


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