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Negura Bunget - 'N Crugu Bradului CD (album) cover


Negura Bunget

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

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3 stars 'N Crugu Bradului seems to be the album where Negura Bunget really set off on creating their metal in a more progressive vein. Although this album doesn't contain as many eccentric or avant-garde elements as OM, this is still a sufficiently melodic progressive black metal album.

The four long compositions, each representing a season (starting with Spring), ebb and flow from softer ambient passages to all-out metal aggression, but always maintain a level of energy expected from black metal, progressive or otherwise. Much like the more interesting progressive black metal bands from various parts of Europe, the songs on 'N Crugu Bradului do not contain much, if any, repetition of verses and there don't seem to be any immediately recognizable choruses, but this creates an engaging listening experience that only this type of composition style could offer. This album also marks an increase in Romanian folk influence that plays a big part in some of the heavy melodies and also with the use of traditional folk instruments in the quieter passages.

Though engaging, none of the four tracks contain any sincerity, which can either be because the band was uninspired or because the production is rather muddy and incomprehensible (I understand this to be one of the hallmarks of true black metal). Even though there is a large variety of riffs that move this mid-paced progressive black metal excursion along, it often seems very randomly put together -- the time signature changes and loud/soft dynamic changes occur suddenly and stick out like a sore thumb.

The musicianship is better than what is usually expected from black metal, but isn't as commendable as the band's more popular progressive black metal contemporaries such as Deathspell Omega or Blut Aus Nord, but Negura Bunget have their own style and are not easily comparable to the aforementioned groups in any other terms than being at least slightly avant-garde. Because they are a unique band, I'd say they warrant at least one listen from any fan of extreme progressive metal. But because the follow up to this album, OM is widely considered Negura Bunget's magnus opus and it contains many more of both avant-garde and Romanian folk influences in addition to better production and better songwriting, that album may be a better place to start. Otherwise, this is a decent and engaging listen, even if slightly bland at times.

Report this review (#653207)
Posted Saturday, March 10, 2012 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
Honorary Reviewer
4 stars According to the press release Negurã Bunget are the premier Black Metal band from Transylvania, so when the label states that their musical style is 'Primitive Transylvanian Metal' it can be argued that they don't really sound like anyone else. Negurã Bunget started life as a duo back in 1995 but have settled as a trio, with extra musicians added for live work. This is their third full-length album, but the first since signing to Code 666. It is divided into four, with the four songs representing the seasons and is presented through the eyes and mind of a shepherd, I will have to take the label's word at this as none of this album is in English, and so the vocals become another instrument.

Having read on the web about this band, they have much more of an ideological outlook than many of their contemporaries (i.e. they have one, which they publish). This comes across in the music which is inherently very complex and multi-layered, challenging the listener to make sense of what is going on. It isn't an album that can be played as background music but must be listened to intently to get the most out of it. It also helps to play it at a very loud volume indeed. While much of it is dramatic riffing in best Black Metal style there are also moments when the music is soft and gentle.

In some ways Code 666 compare them to Rakoth (of whom I am a huge fan), and to that end have given this release some very impressive packaging (according to the press release, I've not seen it). Each CD comes in a handmade box measuring 22 x 17 cm and also contains a leaf from the tree that saw the birth and composition of their album. This is not music for the fainthearted but is worth seeking out if you want something out of the ordinary.

Originally appeared in Feedback #72, Feb 03

Report this review (#978674)
Posted Saturday, June 15, 2013 | Review Permalink

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