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Negura Bunget - Măiastru Sfetnic CD (album) cover

MăIASTRU SFETNIC

Negura Bunget

 

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.56 | 25 ratings

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Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer
4 stars 'Măiastru Sfetnic' - Negura Bunget (7/10)

Negura Bunget is widely regarded to be Romania's greatest metal export, and although I did not always think of them this way, they have been steadily growing on me recently. 'Măiastru Sfetnic' is the band's second album, and although receiving only limited attention, some of the more dedicated followers of the band have since considered it a classic. While now having been re-recorded under the title 'Maiestrit', 'Măiastru Sfetnic' would have been all but lost in time. Luckily, this is a gem of Eastern European metal, and while the odds may have been stacked against it, its quality will keep it going. Negura Bunget creates a convincing and incredbly atmospheric dark metal sound on this second album.

For someone already familiarized with the black metal sound, Negura Bunget does not stray far form three. Instead of focusing on how heavy they can be, Negura Bunget instead aims for atmosphere, the feeling of despair and romanticism I am sure only a Transylvanian forest can evoke. Everything is given a dreamy lo-fi production, which will turn some listeners off, but for me, it obscures the sound just enough to leave a part of 'Măiastru Sfetnic' up to the listener's imagination. Along with fast drumming, raspy vocals and a feeling of decay of sadness, the band is not so far flung from other black metal acts. There is a difference here from Negura and say, the Scandinavian black metal bands however. This difference in style most gets across through the band's moderate use of folk influences here. Folk in metal may not have been a new thing by the year 2000, but there is certainly a different, more haunting vibe that Eastern European folk gives as opposed to its warmer Western counterpart.

The highlight track here for me is the absolutely majestic 'Al Locului'; a slow building monster which ascends the mountain with ambient vocals and a repetitive atmospheric riff that keeps the dramatic tension rising. 'Măiastru Sfetnic' reaches its ultimate point when the music bursts out into nearly inhuman howls in tandem with the melodic guitars. Not all parts of this album have the same memorable feel to them, and I would say that some of these songs (most of which lurk around the ten minute mark) could be cut down a bit in order to keep some of the less melodic moments from growing stale.

'Măiastru Sfetnic' is a great album though, and one that took me a few listens to sink in. The symphonic and folk undertones to this harsh music give it an added dimension that I find very intriguing, and as far as this rehash of the album released a decade later, its difficult to beat this recording's bitter sense of atmosphere.

Conor Fynes | 4/5 |

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