Thursday, February 05, 2015

Negură Bunget: Tău (2015)


By weird coincidence or a mood I’ve been in lately, my last two reviews have been for albums in the folk/pagan/black metal spectrum, and I’m continuing that trend with this one.

Romanian band Negură Bunget continue to practice that Eastern European brand of the style. Om and Vîrstele pămîntului were the Eastern European counterpart to Agalloch and Wolves in the Throne Room: Cinematic, whole-album experiences that trade more on drama and dynamism than on individual riffs. Since I enjoyed those albums so much, I was pretty excited to find Tău in my inbox.

There hasn’t been any major stylistic change. Metal and synth combine with flutes and brass to the effect of straight-faced and utterly serious black/pagan metal. The only surprise what the unusually upbeat “Împodobeala timpului,” but it’s not exactly like they went Korpiklaani on that one. To my untrained ears, I’m not exactly clear on what folk music comes from where. “Izbucul galbenei” has a truly wonderful metal riff, but the folk parts sound like my mass-media-inspired idea of gypsy music (much like Ukrainians Nokturnal Mortum). The folk break from “Tărîm vîlhovnicesc” sounds Russian to me.

Where this departs from the Negură Bunget I know, however, is subtle but incredibly important. The previous album titles demonstrated ambitious concepts—the universal chant of meditation, or “ages of the earth.” This one just means “your” (or, if we’re being charitable, “thine”). Far too vague, and seemingly less grandiose. In keeping with that observation, I don’t feel the epic, cohesive flow of the records I already know. I have no idea how they accomplished that in the first place (which is why those records were so masterful in their execution) so I can’t tell you where they went wrong. But there doesn’t seem to be a thread through the whole album, and where there is drama it just doesn’t feel as grand as it once did.

That’s unfortunately the best I can do to explain this. You really should hear “Izbucul galbenei,” but otherwise Tău doesn’t live up to the high expectations I had.

The Verdict: 3 out of 5 stars


  1. Well that's unfortunate, I was looking forward to this but it isn't seeming to measure up. Have you heard Dordeduh's Dar De Duh? Dordeduh is Sol Faur's band after the split with Negură Bunget.

  2. I had the opportunity to review that one, but at the time Patrick of Beards, Etc. was still writing a fair number of reviews here and he was my go-to folk/pagan/Viking metal guy. He reviewed it here. The review (though positive) wasn't quite glowing enough for me to seek it out with my cash. (If I farm a review out to someone else, I never download it myself. I feel like that's a breach of trust.)