Rating:
9.0
Negură Bunget - Măiestrit
15 March 2010


01. Vremea Locului Sortit
02. În-Zvîcnirea Apusului
03. A-Vînt În Abis
04. Al Locului
05. Bruiestru
06. Plecăciunea Morţii
07. A-Vînt În Abis [acoustic version]
08. Plecăciunea Morţii [acoustic version]


This album evokes a myriad of responses from me, ranging from shaking my head glumly wondering what might have been to being outright violently "Bitter SMASH!" angry.

If you've leaped forward and seen the final score I've given the album, you are probably wondering how that lines up with my introductory statement.

It goes like this.

Negură Bunget were a lot like a seven course meal at a fine dining establishment. The opening courses were good, of increasing quality and constantly hinting at and tantalizing you for the dish yet to come.

2006 saw this band unleash the main course of this feast, OM, upon as all... and it was a masterpiece. It was an absolutely astounding and amazing album. The band had evolved from just another run of the mill black metal project into a unit capable of transcendent work.

"Nothing is fucked? The god damn plane has crashed into the mountain!"

And just like that the band imploded. The primary participants and creative forces left. The name should have died, instead the drummer, Negru, carried on with it... despite the absence of critical creative forces.

The reason I find Măiestrit so evocative is because it's the "dessert" to follow the feast that was OM. The last morsel, the last new taste it looks like we will get from the core band.

Oh, and it's evocative because it is also a jawdroppingly wondrous album.

Măiestrit was pulled from the ashes of the now-imploded band. It was a reworking of 2000's Maiastru Stefnic, with which the band was apparently thoroughly dissatisfied. Not a "modernization", which oft produces mediocrity (see: Dimmu Borgir or Exodus), but re-envisioning the entire thing, lock, stock, and barrel. The tapes of these re-recordings were assembled and released.

Măiestrit is not as sophisticated as OM was, but of course they were originating from a more primitive starting point, even if re-working the release. The songs are "epic" in approach, with the shortest being six minutes, and many dragging into double digits. The "epic" approach also applies to the music therein, so the tracks unfold and build before you... so the length is not a negative. They rely on tremolo riffing to build and maintain an atmosphere which envelopes the listener.

The usage of traditional folk instruments is not as prevalent as it was on their prior/final album, but listeners will undoubtedly notice the off the wall "Alien Ghost" whistling noise on the second track. I have no idea what makes that sound... it almost sounds like something that would be used for sound effects in a Scooby-Doo episode, but it somehow works.

Perhaps the coolest tracks are the two which close out Măiestrit acoustic* reinterpretations of "A-vint In Abis" and "Plecaciunea Mortii". Both are simultaneously peaceful, eerie, and haunting. They are the dessert and the after-dinner wine. The very last tastes of an exquisite meal.

Hope you enjoyed 'em, as this kitchen is now closed. GTFO. You don't have to go home but you can't stay here.

Sure, it's re-opening under new management soon enough... but without the two head chefs, can it hope to compare?

As they say, parting is such sweet sorrow, so I guess we should be grateful they were able to give us at least one final taste. And a sweet... and sorrowful... last bite it is.



* err, mostly acoustic.

Performance: 9
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 9
Production: 8


Band profile: Negură Bunget
Album: Măiestrit


 



Written on 05.05.2010 by
BitterCOld
BitterCOld has been officially reviewing albums for MetalStorm since 2009.
More reviews by BitterCOld ››



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Introspekrieg - 06.05.2010 at 01:07  
Quote:
The usage of traditional folk instruments is not as prevalent as it was on their prior/final album, but listeners will undoubtedly notice the off the wall "Alien Ghost" whistling noise on the second track. I have no idea what makes that sound... it almost sounds like something that would be used for sound effects in a Scooby-Doo episode, but it somehow works.


That is best way to describe it...

The acoustic reinterpretations are my favorite tracks so far, the rest have yet to fully sink in. A bittersweet farewell dinner (reheated) to a great band
Got Mayhem? - 06.05.2010 at 01:34  
Seems a bit depressing at the end to me... But that's probably because I enjoyed Vîrstele Pamîntului so much and still like to consider NB to still be the same band. This album is definitely something I'll have to listen too as well.
Arcticus - 06.05.2010 at 03:52  
Written by Got Mayhem? on 06.05.2010 at 01:34

Seems a bit depressing at the end to me... But that's probably because I enjoyed Vîrstele Pamîntului so much and still like to consider NB to still be the same band. This album is definitely something I'll have to listen too as well.


But how is that even possible, to consider them to be 'the same band'? The two main creative forces are gone! Sure, the 'new version' might still be good, and they have the same name, but they are not the same band that created OM, or any of their other work for that matter...I'm sorry, I know it's hard, but we have to move on and accept that things are going to be different now in the world of Epic Romanian Folk Black Metal. At least we have OM.
Got Mayhem? - 06.05.2010 at 04:17  
Written by Arcticus on 06.05.2010 at 03:52

Written by Got Mayhem? on 06.05.2010 at 01:34

Seems a bit depressing at the end to me... But that's probably because I enjoyed Vîrstele Pamîntului so much and still like to consider NB to still be the same band. This album is definitely something I'll have to listen too as well.


But how is that even possible, to consider them to be 'the same band'? The two main creative forces are gone! Sure, the 'new version' might still be good, and they have the same name, but they are not the same band that created OM, or any of their other work for that matter...I'm sorry, I know it's hard, but we have to move on and accept that things are going to be different now in the world of Epic Romanian Folk Black Metal. At least we have OM.

Well, until/unless they get a new name to work under they'll still be Negura Bunget to me. There is still an original member with Negru remaining, so it's not a complete fresh start. Personally, I'd rather have things change and evolve rather than stagnate. OM is brilliant. But two or three more OM's would start to get frustrating. See: Darkthrone. "Hey this style is good. I see you went for it again on this album as well. Next one too? OK, starting to see a pattern here" It works great but soon you can't help but to want something else.
Shadowcross - 06.05.2010 at 13:39  
Until reading your review I had no idea this was a reworking of Maiastru Stefnic! I think that is my second favourite album by the band and I now look forward to dining on this release! Before reading this I was terrified as I thought they were releasing an album written solely by the surviving member of the band. Great review, and yes, that "alien ghost" whistling noise was always on track two
Arcticus - 06.05.2010 at 13:45  
Written by Got Mayhem? on 06.05.2010 at 04:17

Written by Arcticus on 06.05.2010 at 03:52

Written by Got Mayhem? on 06.05.2010 at 01:34

Seems a bit depressing at the end to me... But that's probably because I enjoyed Vîrstele Pamîntului so much and still like to consider NB to still be the same band. This album is definitely something I'll have to listen too as well.


But how is that even possible, to consider them to be 'the same band'? The two main creative forces are gone! Sure, the 'new version' might still be good, and they have the same name, but they are not the same band that created OM, or any of their other work for that matter...I'm sorry, I know it's hard, but we have to move on and accept that things are going to be different now in the world of Epic Romanian Folk Black Metal. At least we have OM.

Well, until/unless they get a new name to work under they'll still be Negura Bunget to me. There is still an original member with Negru remaining, so it's not a complete fresh start. Personally, I'd rather have things change and evolve rather than stagnate. OM is brilliant. But two or three more OM's would start to get frustrating. See: Darkthrone. "Hey this style is good. I see you went for it again on this album as well. Next one too? OK, starting to see a pattern here" It works great but soon you can't help but to want something else.

Lol true, but I wasn't implying that I just wanted them to keep making the same album over and over, I definitely prefer evolution over stagnation...just that they're gonna be different without Hupogrammos and Sol'Faur, and that to be honest I think it was pretty sneaky of Negru to keep the name when he had very little, if any input on the band's previous work. Obviously I hope that the new NB make some good music, and it seems like they have (I haven't heard Vîrstele Pamîntului yet) but to still hold them as the "same band" I simply think is deceiving yourself. I guess that as long as you're happy then it really doesn't matter I just had a bit of a soapbox moment hehe
BitterCOld - 01.06.2010 at 19:15  
Written by akatana on 01.06.2010 at 18:22

Good review .. but look out for Dordeduh, the new band of Hupogrammos and Sol Faur


i will be, you can count on that. had a chance to check out the other new NB. decent, but nowhere near "OM" or "Maiestrit"... although i imagine it might be easier to pull off more seamlessly in a live situation.
BitterCOld - 02.06.2010 at 17:49  
Written by akatana on 02.06.2010 at 12:10

Written by BitterCOld on 01.06.2010 at 19:15

Written by akatana on 01.06.2010 at 18:22

Good review .. but look out for Dordeduh, the new band of Hupogrammos and Sol Faur


i will be, you can count on that. had a chance to check out the other new NB. decent, but nowhere near "OM" or "Maiestrit"... although i imagine it might be easier to pull off more seamlessly in a live situation.


I will go to see Dordeduh live in about two weeks, I really look forward to hear what they came up with. I will also ask them when we can expect a new release. Maybe I will take some photos and write a review of their performance.


that would be awesome if you were so inclined. evne if not a full review, a short summation or whatever in a band thread would be good.
Ag Fox - 30.07.2010 at 02:13  
Omg.... this album is just so awesome. I should have checked it out sooner! Thanks for reviewing
advent - 18.09.2010 at 05:04  
I must say it's one of most enjoyable reviews i ever read , agreed with every word.... and the last 2 acoustics are just incredible

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