It may be an overused saying, but never as in the case of the recent history of Negură Bunget one can rightly say that not all evils come to harm. The far from painless and unremorseful separation that took place in the last decade between the historical members of the Romanian band, has produced in the end two realities that are certainly opposed from a personal point of view but united by an uncommon musical quality. This latest work by Negru’s Negură Bunget (Gabriel Mafa) had a rather long gestation period, if we think that the previous work Vîrstele Pămîntului dates back to 2010, but, as often happens, this wait was amply rewarded. The intense live activity of the last few years has allowed the line-up to consolidate and the various musicians to become more united, bringing benefits that the fifty minutes of Tău amply demonstrate. The first of the works of the planned trilogy dedicated to Transylvania as a symbol of nature and spirituality (nothing to do, therefore, with the well-known legends of vampire themes) has almost the chrisms of the event, such is the peculiar quality exhibited by the Romanian combo. Negură Bunget‘s music is today, as in the past, music with a universal breath, deeply rooted in the Romanian folk tradition, reshaping in an inspired way those ancestral sounds that cannot even be defined as folk in the most classical sense of the term, if not for the moods of a track like Împodobeala Timpului: a track, this one, that represents a surprising incursion into Balkan music (much less joyful than the one that is usually proposed to us, let’s be clear) but that, not by chance, proves to be the weakest episode of the record, especially if compared to the ability recognized to Negru and members in bringing the ethnic component of their sound on a much higher level. The black metal component, however, is far from disappearing but, with the sole exception of Tărîm Vîlhovnicesc (a brilliant and eclectic track that features vocals by Sakis of Rotting Christ), it no longer constitutes the basis but rather the enrichment of a sound that, thanks to the use of an extremely varied instrumentation and the contribution of other guests from the most diverse musical genres, makes Tău one of the best works released so far in 2015, with a real chance to remain so even in ten months’ time. In this regard, it may be misleading to categorize the band from Timișoara in an extreme sphere without making the appropriate distinctions, in light of the risk of misleading those who approach it ignoring an artistic parable capable of marking the last twenty years of European music in the broadest sense, not only in the metal field. The poignant beauty of tracks like Nămetenie and Izbucul Galbenei immediately puts the work on the right track, clearing the field of any misunderstanding: Negură Bunget are back to reaffirm their primacy and their diversity and the crescendo of the opener is, at times, of a dazzling splendour. But it’s hard to find a moment on the album that doesn’t fall under that definition, except for Împodobeala Timpului, not so much for its intrinsic value but because, as mentioned, it rather stands in contrast to an overall atmosphere that, when not bucolic, pervades the whole work with a certain aura of drama. Hotaru Cu Cinci Culmi is another pearl that, together with Curgerea Muntelui, makes the first half of the album something that has not been heard in a long time; the physiological and slight decrease in intensity of the second half (but the final Picur Viu Foc and Schimnicește are songs that 90% of the bands would use as a cornerstone of their work) does not affect the overall judgment of a magnificent album, to be listened to over and over again in a strictly silent and pervaded by a peace that, perhaps, you can find only if immersed in the magical places evoked by the videos of the band.
Yet another magnificent proof for a unique musical reality.
2015 – Lupus Lounge