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Wow! This album is very interesting, but I like a lot. Negura Bunget are a Romanian act who take black metal and twist it around into something eerie, mysterious and addictive. This album comprises of four songs but takes up almost an hour of exciting black metal mixed with odd structures and Romanian folklore. The words Negura and Bunget translate to Forest and Fog which is definately an apt metaphor for music like this. There is a very progressive feeling throughout this album which Negura Bunget use to their advantage keeping everything fresh, interesting and unique. Negura Bunget are very far from what you could call traditional black metal. The music of Negura Bunget is constantly evolving between mid paced black metal, blastbeats, acoustics, clean vocals and very interesting riffs bringing images of the Transylvanian forests, gypsies, despair, bleak horizons and discomfort. If you are wary because of the song lengths you have no reason to be, for even the most impatient listener there will be enough happening to keep you occupied and interested and Negura Bunget repeat riffs and passages throughout to hold everything together. 'Part I' alone morphs from atmospheric synths to mid paced raw black metal passages to blastbeats to melodic synthy black metal passages which are up there in some of the best I have heard. The majority of the riffs are not standard for black metal at all. The frantic blastbeats in some passages are very fitting and provide a perfect contrast between feelings and slower passages. Where many bands sound disoriented by putting in blastbeats straight after acoustic guitars Negura Bunget do the total opposite and make it interesting.
This album represents the natural foundation of the universe and the principle of four, hence the four parts to this album. These are meant to be viewed as a looping journey, the cycle of years and nature. There are some interesting pulses throughout this album such as at the beginnings of parts I and III which bring a psychedelic feeling. Other parts are more conventional black metal, simple basic chord progressions with an underlying melody similar to the effect Drudkh have on listeners. My favourite passage like this would have to be the closing few minutes of part III. Part IV has more of a traditional black metal approach when it starts up which soon changes into another blastbeat passage and then into more standard avant-garde black metal of which Negura Bunget are renouned for. This band's music is akin to that of a kaleidoscope, constantly twisting and forming new shapes but staying constant and with direction throughout. There are a few aspects of Negura Bunget's sound which I didnt fully get into such as the clean vocals which fortuantely arent used very often at all. This is one of those albums which will more than likely demand a number of listens to fully get into. You may need some knowledge of Romanian traditions to understand some of what is happening. You will need to have an open mind and good attention span. 'N Crugu Bradului' is an album which must be listened to in its entirety with your full attention to what you are hearing. At times it may seem disorientated but it will all come together flawlessly and when this happens you will be hooked. I have only read praise regarding Negura Bunget and it is easy to see why. Unfortunately this is a very underrated act. It is almost impossible to talk about this journey track by track, it must be spoken about only as a whole. There is nothing to really divide the songs apart, they flow as a whole. Words are not enough for music like this, it must be experienced. This is one of those albums which you will either love or hate, but it is definately worth a listen and is highly recommended. No album recently has appealed to me so much as 'N Crugu Bradului' has.