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Negura Bunget - Om CD (album) cover

OM

Negura Bunget

 

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.22 | 137 ratings

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Negoba
Prog Reviewer
5 stars The Grand-Daddy of Atmospheric Black

Over the last few years, the black metal amoeba has extended its tendrils to include north European folk, swallowed some post-rock, and oozed around some prog ideas. "Atmospheric Black" is an established genre now, as is Folk / Pagan metal. Most of these bands bore me to the point of plucking nose hairs to stay awake. But as I've traced some of these sounds to their true roots, I've found some quite amazing music. The first was Ulver's BERGTATT, which basically makes Agalloch's entire discography moot. But the crown jewel of my search is this, Negura Bunget's OM.

Where much black metal tries to evoke a cold wintry forest, brittle and bleak, OM is a blazing forest fire. Danger surrounds the listener whether it's the coming onslaught of the flames in the form of textured black metal riffing, the Uru-kai on the march orchestral sounds of "Norilor" or satyrs dancing to wild flutes in "Hora Soarelui." Unlike so many prog bands that band-aid different styles together, the enormous range of sounds on this album flow together effortlessly, purposefully.

Many groups have tried to create an album long work that coheres from start to finish. Very very few have succeeded. Opeth's great STILL LIFE has its ebbs and flows. Even Queensryche's classic masterpiece OPERATION: MINDCRIME runs out of steam on side two. Green Carnation's LIGHT OF DAY, DAY OF DARKNESS has great moments but is clearly overlong. But along with Edge of Sanity's CRIMSON, OM is one of the few metal albums that presents more like a completely realized symphony. Along with phenomenally well paced orchestration, there are signature passages that hold the piece together masterfully. The almost mandolin-ish tremolo picking late in "beasrul De Lumini" comes to mind.

The energy on this album is so intense. There are thick layers of sound which include horns, strings, mallets, folk instruments, and of course the typical metal guitar/bass drums. At the same time, we always have the organic, earthy, gritty black ethic which some of the more progressive or technical acts sometimes lose. It's hard to say whether I would get more out of this album if I understood Romanian. Musically, the album does everything I want it to, and if the lyrics weren't quite there it might actually detract from the experience.

Bottom line: one of the best extreme art metal albums ever made.

Negoba | 5/5 |

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