Power of Metal.dk Review

Negura Bunget
Style: Folk Black Metal
Release date: 27 February, 2015
Playing time: 50:32

A couple of months ago, I discovered the Romanian folk black metal band Negură Bunget, which is a true gem among metal bands. Not only their outstanding musical style that combines black metal with traditional Romanian music put them on the map - the band's a lot about ideology and tradition, too. The band name already points it out nicely: roughly, the term "negură bunget" describes a black fog coming from a never-ending, dark forest. Magical places like dense forests can be found in Transylvania, the band's home region - that's why Transylvanian spirituality is one of Negură Bunget's most important concepts: They got inspired by the endless beauty of untouched land, mythology and pastoral traditions. Negură Bunget offer melodic black metal mixed with a piece of Romanian tradition with every album.
"Tău", the band's most recent release, is the first part of their Transylvanian trilogy and for me as a native-born Romanian from the Eastern Carpathians, it's been truly instructive and appreciative to really dive into the concept of "Tău" (which means "rime" in English), as far as it has been possible to understand the main topics without the lyrics in front of me (they aren't available yet).

If I could infer some general information from the song titles, understood lyrics and a couple of released music videos, "Tău" is a sonic and visual tribute to Negură Bunget's home region Transylvania. The first tracks deal with nature and important places and the rest with region-specific traditions.
 The album starts with an over ten-minute-track "nămetenie" (which I believe means "behemoth" or "thurse") which, accompanied by a beautiful music video (watch it here), has already been released beforehand and pretty much sums up the album nicely. With lots of dynamics, "izbucu galbenei" describes the place where very cold, opalescent green-blue water springs from a cliff and gives birth to the Galbena River, a tributary of the Gilort River. The next track "la hotaru cu cinci culmi" (translation would sound something like "at the compass of five mountain's peaks") is one of my favorites. I'm not quite sure about the location of these "five mountain's peaks", but I assume the band refers to the Rodna Mountains. "curgerea muntelui" and the addictional music video (watch it here) offer another visual experience with pictures taken in the region of the Retezat Mountains.

The second and more spiritually-centred part of "Tău" starts with "tărīm vīlhovnicesc", a heavier song that sets ancient wizardry to music. The album continues with the groovy and folksy "īmpodobeala timpului" ("time's adornment") and the atmospheric and profound "picur viu foc" ("bespeckled fire", not sure about this one, though). My favorite track is by far the last one called "schimnicește" (watch the music video here) which deals with the act of leading the life of an anchorite. It's easily the most succeeded and emotional song and rounds out the album perfectly.
With every new listen, Negură Bunget's music reminds me of how beautiful and rich in tradition my homeland is and makes me proud of being part of it. "Tău" en bloc is a strong album that offers loads to discover, musically, geographically, mythologically and ideologically all together. The overall style turned out to be very melodic and atmospheric and it reflects the selected locations and topics very well. I do think that it doesn't overcome the legendary album "OM", but maybe the completed Transylvanian trilogy will. Still, "Tău" is probably one of my personal highlights of the entire year of 2015, and as described throughout this whole review, it's more than music - it's a bit of Romania. I'm already looking forward to part two!

01. nămetenie
02. izbucu galbenei
03. la hotaru cu cinci culmi
04. curgerea muntelui
05. tărīm vīlhovnicesc
06. īmpodobeala timpului
07. picur viu foc
08. schimnicește
Label: Lupus Lounge/Prophecy Productions
Distribution: Soulfood
Artwork rating: 95/100
Reviewed by: Cristina Somcutean
Date: 8 March, 2015
Website: www.negurabunget.com