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A Landmark: an Incredible Masterpiece of Work. - 100%

Hubster, October 15th, 2006

It is with "struggling perception" that I write these words in the context of this latest Negură Bunget release - "OM" is a complex and layered piece of work and I feel reviewing it would serve an injustice. Music reviews tend to "trap" music by defining it, and I feel this conflicts with "OM" because it's a piece of work which I consider one of the most "vast" I have ever heard.

"OM" can not be approached from a typical Black Metal perspective. To do so would completely ridicule the amount of work that has gone into this new release and pigeonhole it.

This is not an "album": after listening to it countless times, watching the DVD which accompanies the music, accounting for the bands spirituality, combined with the complete visual presentation, I will say that "OM" is "a document", but I use this term as "vastly" as I can. Perhaps saying it's an "experience" is a better portrayal.

"OM" indirectly extends from the treat we got with the Inarborat Kosmos EP, but does so on a truly epic scale. One could almost say that Negură Bunget's entire existence has built up to this release: it combines their journey so far, but then leaps above to a new, almost unfathomable level.

This release is almost "sacred", it is highly conceptualised. Every note played or sung, every drum beat every growl or shriek and every ambient interlude seems to have a clear metaphysical and natural expressive purpose. The album seems to be written and performed in such a way that it is like air: everywhere, flowing through everything, almost physically touchable, having colour and yet having none.

Without being able to decipher the lyrics, I can only draw upon my feelings: this music is about cosmic life. It is about existence on a spiritually vast, yet physically small level. Our physically minute place in the universe, and the vast size of our metaphysical selves. This is what the music, using Black Metal (as a foundation only) speaks to me.

I say Black Metal is used as a foundation because this is where Negură Bunget's path has logically led to. Black Metal influences are still there as they were on "'N Crugu Bradului", but now the music has grown into something with more breath, and funnily enough, I think we first got hint of this higher maturity on "'N Crugu Bradului".

There are more sweeping (note, NOT melodic) elements to the music, we are treated to more ambient soundscapes, sounds of nature itself and excellent use of folk instruments as Negură Bunget have never shown us before. For those seeking the Negură Bunget Black Metal elements, fear not, they are still present, but now balanced with a majestic element to the music, a strikingly obvious and higher maturity delivered via exceptional musical execution.

"OM" can not just be listened to, it must be experienced via multiple senses: emotion, visual and aural in order to make complete sense. I found I came to this realisation more so when I had watched the DVD (more about this realisation in a moment).

The DVD component of "OM" (and I do consider it to be part of "OM" as much as the audio CD is) is jawdropping, the work that has gone into it is truly impressive: the band interview is fascinating and a must-see in order to gain more insight into the music. Every pixel of the artwork, every audible sound and spoken sentence has been paid attention, and despite some material on the DVD being pre-OM, it is VERY relevant to this release.

I highly suggest that people watch the DVD first, and THEN listen to "OM" itself. Because of the spiritual nature of this release, it is a necessity to comprehend and understand what their expression is about. It will make "OM" much more logical to take in.

It has been a long wait, but a wait that has been worth it like few albums have. This is not for the faint of heart, nor for the those seeking mindless aggression from their music.

"OM" is pure expression, done in ways that Metal has not seen the likes of before. In my opinion, it is a landmark release: Negură Bunget have finally achieved their higher level of expression. For what I believe in the first time of the history of Black Metal, taken us on a true journey of transcendence.

An outstanding piece of work.

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