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Negura Bunget - Om CD (album) cover


Negura Bunget


Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.22 | 180 ratings

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The T
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This is another masterpiece in the progressive-black-metal subgenre.

It's amazing that a genre that started with so low standards for musicianship (black metal) has spurred a sub-genre of such an outstanding level of quality. Norwegian black metal was meant to be the most painful experience for the ear, with its high-guttural vocals, its lightning-fast tremolo picking, its deliberately-atrocious recordings, its inhuman blast beats and the super-low tuning of the instruments. But somehow there were a few bands that managed to shine through the chaos, like IMMORTAL or EMPEROR. And it's from the seed of this bands that other musicians decided to build a whole new thing around the basic ideas of the classics of the genre. Eventually, ENSLAVED evolved into a great progressive band, Ihsahn from EMPEROR started two side projects, both of high progressive content. Finally, the influence has stopped being exclusively from Norway, and Romania has given us one of the most daring yet most true-to-roots progressive black metal bands around: NEGURA BUNGET.

If I said in my review of ENSLAVED's "Isa" that said album was much more black than IHSANH's "The Anniversary", now I have to say the same about "Om", the latest opus from NEGURA BUNGET. We have a little more fast sections here, we get a lot more growling vocals (probably 80% of the disc), and, to add to the black flavor, the recording is rawer, less-polished than in either of the other bands' reviewed records. The sound of "Om" at times borders on the unintelligible, very much in the true spirit of traditional Norwegian black metal.

Such a recording would be detrimental in other kinds of music but here, somehow, it works. When NEGURA BUNGET is not blasting away with massive violence, they build enormous walls of sound with texture after texture, using keyboards and instruments like the panpipe to create a truly depressive, dark, ominous atmosphere that really belongs in the most obscure areas of the mind. When the music is not fast, it is slow, very slow, moody, and very sedative. It makes one feel insecure, as the keys the band chooses and the harmonies they prefer are always very effective in producing unrest and utter lack of hope. As with ENSLAVED, but much more so here, the music has a distinct post metal sound to it. I would venture myself to say that, were it not for songs like "Inaborat", which has plenty of sections of pure black-metal evilness, this album would very perfectly fit in the same genre as recordings by AGALLOCH, NEUROSIS or PELICAN. But whereas in albums by those bands music can get a little tedious at times due to lack of variation, in "Om" the healthy diversity of tempos and moods make the experience a completely manageable one.

The individual skills of the members of the band are evident, yet never in-your-face. This is not a band that allows for unnecessary displays of virtuosity. What is more important for NEGURA BUNGET is the sound of the ensemble as a whole, as one big integral unit. One never leaves this album with a very high impression of any particular musician in the band, but one always does with an excellent impression of the art of the group. None shines here except for the band. As with most black metal outfits, the members have chosen not to put in the booklet their real names; instead, they use pseudonyms, fantastic names, probably taken from the black arts or stories of demons and witchcraft. And there's no need to know their individual names. They are one big thing. What we know is that NEGURA BUNGET plays some of the most original type of metal around.

It takes quite a few tries to get a real picture of "Om". The long songs, the instrumental-only passages full of dissonance and perverted noises, the erratic structures and the lack of catchiness don't make for an easy first listen. But after a few sessions the magic of the album starts to become apparent, till in the end it is a devastating, definitive fact.

A masterpiece of progressive-metal, I give it 4.5 stars. But to follow tradition, and as I'm sure the next listen will be even better, I round the rating up to a 5.

Get "Om". Now. And be ready to immerse yourself into a magnificent world of dark, evil music.

The T | 5/5 |


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