With Zi Negură Bunget reach the second part of the planned trilogy of Transylvanian music: the previous Tău had highlighted the beginning of a gradual departure from those black roots that had accompanied the band in the last decade and, in large part, even in the first of the albums that saw only Negru as a leader (Virstele Pamintului). This aspect is accentuated even more today, relegating almost to a marginal presence the most extreme drives: the work shifts the bar decisively towards the folk, a matter that the Romanian band has always interpreted in a unique way; all this implies, compared to its predecessor, a lower usability, since the ethnic component here is never interpreted in a playful or rhythmic way, but expresses a feeling that goes to merge the folk tradition with the spirituality that, for Negură Bunget, has always been an essential component. Compared to Tău, however, one cannot help but notice a lesser fluidity, deriving above all from an approach that puts the song form even more on the margins, opting for changing structures that tend to exalt the more mystical and evocative aspects of the sound. The fact remains that, in order to listen to a Negură Bunget album today, one needs to be endowed with a good dose of curiosity and open-mindedness, as well as an innate passion for ancestral sounds that draw lymph from popular roots: undoubtedly the Romanian band’s path is cathartic and spiritual and certainly does not have as its first objective the release of catchy and banal music and, precisely for this reason, Zi is an album that grows after many listenings, revealing itself for what it is, that is a very good work that is nevertheless slightly below Tău. The best episodes are the two central ones, Brazdă Dă Foc and Baciul Moșneag, where the two souls of the group seem to coexist in a more balanced way, not disdaining even more canonical melodic openings such as the beautiful guitar solo in the end of the second of the two tracks, but we can’t help but notice that the emotional tension, which in Tău was never lacking, here manifests itself in a very fluctuating way, compressed by an attention to the form that sometimes ends up sacrificing the substance. Negură Bunget masterfully display their inimitable brand and it is undeniable that, taken individually, Zi is a frankly unassailable work, diminished however by the comparison with past releases, as it fails to induce in the listener the same degree of involvement. A small step backwards that does not invalidate in any way the deserved cult status acquired by the Romanian band, author of one of the most peculiar artistic expressions in the metal field, and not only.
2016 – Lupus Lounge
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