Vera : Only few bands are unique, but Negura Bunget deserves this predicate. Not only due to their Romanian origin, but also because they manage to catch the atmosphere of folklore of their region perfectly in their music, all this on a foundation of black/pagan metal. Of course it is not that simple to build up a metal career when based in Transylvania, but after years in the underground, they finally got some recognition abroad since 2006 with the album ’Om’. A brave approach with much touring helped them spread their eclectic soundscapes around the globe.
Around 2009 some quarrels were going on within the band and this would result in a transformation, but that should be common knowledge. Hupogrammos and Sol Faur left the band and founded Dordeduh and from then on drummer/multi-instrumentalist Negru took over the helm to represent the spiritual heritage of Negura Bunget. After a time of indistinct line-ups (not a trace anymore from the line-up of 2010), he formed a new band around him in 2013 and now we can hear that outfit on their first studio album. ‘Tau’ is not only the embodiment of a new start, it is also the first part of an ambitious Transylvanian trilogy and the debut (concerning new material) at quality label Lupus Lounge/Prophecy Productions. This audiovisual tribute to their native country is a tour de force in ethnic authenticity.
Let us use kitchen terminology for a change: ‘Tau’ happens to be an artisan made wholemeal bread, rich of food for the soul, yet not so easy to digest as your tiny slice of white bread. However, the feeling of satisfaction remains longer. The listener needs to experience this multilayered sonic trip many times, only then he will be rewarded with some moments of recognition and have the kick of seeing the trees through the wood. This is folkloristic metal as ethnic as can be, with low-pitched growls and clean heathen chants, but also solemn proclaimed texts (all in Romanian language). In opening track ‘Nametenie’ we hear – in addition to the contrast between atmospheric introvert passages and raucous outbursts – the trembling sound of the Theremin. A mysterious vibe always prevails, but in the lengthy tracks one can find always some unexpected twists and turns. ‘La Hotaru Cu Cina Culmi’ starts with soaring sounds, while we hear a waltz folky rhythm during the clean harmony vocals. Then suddenly there is a spoken fragment that turns into proclaiming, while ending in serenity. ‘Curgerea Muntelui’, earlier released as a single, remains magnificent, dark and a blend of captivating voices, tulnic, percussion and at the end even trumpets. That’s something new: for the first time, all kinds of horns were used. In ‘Tarim Vilhovnicesc’ we hear Sakis of Rotting Christ as guest singer. The song includes wild up tempo passages and in the middle part slower pace with clean vocals. It has some avant-garde flavours and even a short psychedelic keyboard solo. The most experimental track appears to be ‘Impodobeala Timpului’ in which Rune Eriksen of Aura Noir (Blasphemer ex-Mayhem) plays a guitar solo. It is not my favourite track with its weird rhythms, female vocals, horns and folk rhythms. But I do enjoy the peaceful ‘Picur Viu Foc’ and the rather contemplative, solemn occluding track ‘Schimniceste’ which weaves cobwebs in our minds in an atmospheric manner. As you see, a multifarious experience with loads of impressions, loads of unknown local instruments and a tribute to their landscapes. You cannot deny yourself this archaic delight!