Monday, February 19, 2007

top50 - #3

3. negură bunget - 'om'

(review published on issue 33 of Unrestrained! magazine and slightly adjusted for too.many.records.)

Maybe in a few years we will have a better term for it than the rather hideous post-black metal, but there’s a wealth of activity brewing in the wake of the black metal’s heyday that is truly fascinating, with a few bands expanding on the orthodox black metal framework by incorporating other influences and concepts. Just as quick examples, there’s Blut Aus Nord, Anaal Nathrakh, Deathspell Omega and these rather mysterious romanians, Negură Bunget.

Having evolved wildly in the 10 years of their existence so far, never making the same record twice, they now seem to have reached a point of maturity of which 'Om' is the direct result: an ambitious piece which will surely lift them out of the hushed possible-big-thing-in-the-future semi-obscurity in which they have dwelled in the past few years. It’s not like the previous album, '‘N Crugu Bradului', a masterpiece of eerie darkness, was an accessible work, but 'Om' goes deeper into uncharted territory, adding melancholy and even psychedelia to the mix. Don’t be fooled by the term, or by these changes, though. 'Om' manages to create an even more suffocating environment than its predecessor. Forgive the cliché, but it does feel like you’re standing in the middle of a forest in the region of Transylvania from which Negură Bunget hail from. Except it’s not at night – it’s in daytime, with the pale rays of light coming through the few openings in the thick leaves, as if choked by them.

This light-and-dark contrast is a theme explored throughout the album, with piercing screams and harsh black metal distortion being juxtaposed with enveloping keyboards and some truly spooky clean vocals. The song 'Cunoaşterea Tăcută' is a good example of this, a slowly evolving epic that reaches almost unbearable intensity levels. You don’t just put on this record – you need to give it time and attention to absorb you, but when it does, it does it like precious few other records do.

'Om' is a part of a bigger spiritual concept created by the band and it would take several posts of this blog to go into it in depth, but suffice to say that after a few listens, a lot of bands in your discography will seem a bit cartoonish in comparison.

Much of the future of black metal in particular and extreme music as a whole resides here.

song of the day:
'Cunoasterea Tăcută'


  1. Se eu não tivesse mais nenhum motivo para me orgulhar de ti, bastar-me-ia orgulhar-me por fazeres aquilo que gostas.
    Tenho saudades tuas.

  2. Amen to that, Jose. I have '‘n crugu bradului'and I love. This is a band I've been meaning to explore more of. I've just begun with '‘n crugu bradului'. I'll slip OM onto my list of albums to check out.