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Negură Bunget - Zău

Negură Bunget
Zău
by Andrew Harvey at 14 December 2021, 6:16 AM

NEGURĂ BUNGET started out in the mid 1990’s as a black metal band but then evolving into a progressive/folk/atmospheric black metal combination. Their band name can be translated as ‘dark foggy forest’ in their native language of Romania where they hail from. Unfortunately in March 2017, their drummer and driving force behind the group died from a terminal heart attack. Their career goes back to the 1990’s and it started when their debut album ZÍRNINDU-SĂ was released in 1996, MĂIASTRU SFETNIC in the year of 2000 and N CRUGH BRADULUI in the year of 2002.

Then in the year of 2006, we saw their fourth release OM followed by MĂIESTRIT in 2010 before their sixth album, VIRSTELE PĂMINTULUI. Then their ‘Transylvanian Trilogy’ began in 2015 with TĂU, second part was ZI in 2016 and ZĂU is now the their final part of the trilogy of albums, since the sudden death of their drummer NEGRU. Their musical approach changed throughout the years as they originally wanted to go “deeper into elements of their ancestral ideology in order to concoct a unique black metal perspective”. This covered their early years in the 90’s and 00’s but then in 2006, they decided to combine “noise, raw and atmospheric black metal, folk metal and progressive sounds both industrial and ambient”.

The first track of five on their latest album, ZĂU begins with a correlation of the traditional folklore sounds of their native country of Romania, ambient soundscape and vocal noise effects swarming the audio spectrum. “Brad” being the intro to this album and it very much brings out a more atmospheric and traditional folk ensemble. The flow and construct of this track is peaceful, airy and rich in texture with revolving sounds clashing but not too harshly.

Their sound has compared to their following of Swedish outfit BATHORY as they too used themes of Norse and Viking traditions. The emerging guitar and vocals which do symbolize the black metal but the atmosphere is filled with appealing movements on synthetic gestures. Also this track is their longest, more like a symphonic intro or exposition leading into the next track to come which is “Iarba Fiarelor”. The second track which is an 8 minute continuation of those folklore sounds from before. Drums do emerge from the shadows of the background and play a part of the storytelling of this track.

Vocals also again join forces, as two parts from what I hear, one clean and second is more aggressive but cunning. Even keyboards and music programming contribute but now into the third track which is “Obrăzar”.This third segment which is close to 7 minutes long is sharing aesthetics and flow of the first track, ambient but quickly evolves into the atmospheric black metal, drums pulled back and vocals crackling as well. Guitar and bass guitar do play a vital role in this track but only so much can fit into 7 minutes.

Darkness ensues with a short vocal passage into the fourth penultimate track. Titled “Toacă Din Cer” there is more rhythm and movement amongst the more mysterious  finale to this album. Like the first track it’s much longer than the previous track. Tempo also plays a role here with airy tapping noises like a drum wooden based instrument. Then the black metal merged with atmospheric feel or ambient surrounding comes with drums, vocals and keyboards too. Electric guitar, bass guitar and folklore sound effects join with more satanic or occult vocals so there is a mythological side to this track. Ending with the subtle touch of secrecy with that same tapping noise plus woodwind instrument. The album is very well arranged, methodical and there are elements of surprise or suspense. More of a concept album perhaps than musical but overall great sounds.

Songwriting: 7
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Brad
2. Iarba Fiarelor
3. Obrăzar
4. Tinerețe Fără Bătrânețe
5. Toacă Din Cer
Lineup:
Tibor Kati - Vocals, Guitars, Keys & Programming
Adi “OQ” Neagoe - Guitars, Vocals & Keyboards
Ovidiu Corodan - Bass Guitar
Petrica Ionutescu - Flute, Nai, Kaval & Tulnic
Gabriel “Negru” Mafa - Drums & Percussion
Daniel Dorobantu - Visual Design
Record Label: Lupus Lounge Records
     


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