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Negura Bunget

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

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Negura Bunget Măiastru Sfetnic album cover
3.56 | 25 ratings | 3 reviews | 12% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2000

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Vremea Locului Sortit (9:01)
2. In-Zvicnirea Apusului (9:48)
3. A-Vint in Abis (6:02)
4. Al Locului (10:16)
5. Bruiestru (10:38)
6. Plecaciunea Mortii (10:22)

Total Time 56:07

Line-up / Musicians

- Edmond Karban "Hupogrammos Disciple's" / guitars, bass, vocals, keyboards
- Cristian Popescu "Sol Faur" / guitar
- Gabriel Mafa "Negru" / drums

Releases information

CD Bestial Records ‎- BR CD 002 (2000, Romania)

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NEGURA BUNGET Măiastru Sfetnic ratings distribution

(25 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(12%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(28%)
Good, but non-essential (44%)
Collectors/fans only (12%)
Poor. Only for completionists (4%)

NEGURA BUNGET Măiastru Sfetnic reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Maiastru Sfetnic is the second full-length studio album by Romanian experimental black metal act Negura Bunget. The album was released by Bestial Records in November 2008 and was limited to 1000 copies which came in a hand made box. A very rare release that one. Maiastru Sfetnic has since been re-released on Disc 3 as part of the Triology (2004) box-set.

The style of music hasn“t changed much from the style on the earlier releases by the band. The music is still mostly mid-paced black metal with tortured raspy/ howling vocals, simple riffing and atmosphere creating and at times epic keyboard parts, but the quality of the material is much higher than on earlier releases IMO. The atmosphere is actually darker than dark on Maiastru Sfetnic and if you“re looking for bleak emotions this album is a good candidate for a purchase. Supposedly the album is a concept album but I don“t understand the Romanian language so the concept is unfortunately lost on me. The music isn“t though and I“ve been pleasantly surprised by Maiastru Sfetnic. The playing is a bit sloppy at times and it does drag my rating down a bit but otherwise this is a great album.

The production is pretty lo-fi and murky but I think it works pretty well this time around. I usually don“t enjoy lo-fi productions but this one suits the music well even though I could have wished for a more professional sounding production if I had to chose.

Maiastru Sfetnic has really opened my eyes to Negura Bunget and I“m definitely going to check out the rest of their discography. A 3.5 star rating is well deserved and had the playing been a bit tighter and the production just a bit more professional this could have been a 4 star album.

Review by Conor Fynes
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.

Review by siLLy puPPy
COLLABORATOR PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
4 stars After the ho hum debut album "Zīrnindu-să," the Romanian extreme metal band NEGURĂ BUNGET found the stars aligning on the following EP "Sala Molksa" with the addition of Sol Faur (Cristian Popescu) as the second guitarist which really lifted the band's sound up several notches. Add to that the more sophisticated progressive songwriting techniques as well as a better integrated strain of local folk music elements finding their way into the mix and the band had successfully strayed from mediocrity to becoming one of Eastern Europe's most innovative atmospheric black metal bands. This trend continued on the second full-length album MăIASTRU SFETNIC ("Masterful Guide").

This album shows an even more progressive development in the songwriting with six long tracks that stretch out over the 9 minute mark with the only exception being the 6 minute "A-vīnt īn abis." Once again Hupogrammos (vocals, guitars, keyboards), Negru (drums) and Sol Faur (bass, guitars) conjure up an aggressive mystical experience that uses aggressive black metal as the template to create lengthy progressive workouts that result in a creepy journey through the Transylvanian forests with spooky atmospheric embellishments coinciding with buzzsaw guitar riffs and pummeling bass and drum rhythmic sections. The experience is augmented with connections to antiquity through the use of Romanian folklore and traditional sounds that would continue to increase up to the band's most famous offering "Om."

At this point the band exists in a rawer form of adrenalized second wave black metal however the music is enshrouded in a mystical brume of symphonic and artistic touches and overall comes off as rather hypnotic despite the orotundity and rage seeping out of every cadence ready to go in for the kill. The opener "Vremea Locului Sortit" sets the stage for the lengthy black metal workouts but tracks such as the idiosyncratic "In-Zvicnirea Apusului" add surprisingly incongruent extras, in this case the inclusion of theremin sounds which as far as i know had never been used in a black metal context up to this point. Despite the second wave black metal template, the compositions are carefully thought out with the atmospheric elements not simply playing in tandem with the aggressive guitar, bass and drums but rather playing together as partners with a greater focus in mind.

While many an extreme metal band with its eye on the progressive prize were implementing more elements of avant-prog and jazzy dissonance, NEGURĂ BUNGET was taking a different route altogether. This band was opting to retain the melodic and aggressive aspects of bands like Emperor and simply tease them out into much more epic runs, therefore the playing times were lengthening and the compositional sophistication came through the variations between the nooks and crannies. The production while filthy and raw, still feels frosted over by a fresh falling of icy cold snow but also portends that monsters are at large and awaiting any unsuspecting passers-by to succumb to their predatory nature. The music all in all is ominous and creepy but maintains an easily accessible stylistic approach. The vocals while exclusively in the raspy shouted camp are buried beneath the din and emerge from the pits of hell to deliver an anguished torturous frenzy.

There are many atmospheric metal albums that can sound cheesy but not the case with MăIASTRU SFETNIC which successfully integrates the elements into the filthy rawness without ruining their menacing effect. This is a great album to get lost in as the repetitive tracks meander on but change things up just enough as to prevent tedium from setting in. This is actually a really great black metal album that paved the way for the 21st century scene and single handedly put Romanian black metal on the map. While not as masterful and mind-blowingly beautiful as the band's magnum opus "Om," MăIASTRU SFETNIC is an excellent slice of amazingly consistent black metal that cops an Eastern European epic flair and displays the vast improvement of musicianship since the band's 90s output.

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