Negura Bunget - _Inarborat Kosmos_
(Code666, 2005)
by: James Montague (6 out of 10)
Negura Bunget is a band that's been close to my heart for some time, ever since they captured my attention with their naturalistic, spiritual form of black metal that yielded the stunning _Sala Molksa_ and _Maiastru Sfetnic_, as well as the latest excellent LP, _'n Crugu Bradului_. Yet I do recall noting on the latter release several new developments that could lead to future disappointment. In particular, I perceived the band's yearning to expand into more technical forms of metal, manifesting itself with the rather cumbersome death metal riffing that introduced the second track of the album, and the over-indulgent use of synth intros and outros on the final song. _'n Crugu Bradului_ redeemed itself when the band played to their strengths, building their epic tunes into sublime harmonic climaxes. Unfortunately, their latest MCD, _Inarborat Kosmos_, has cranked up the experimental side even further and left us with a work that vacillates frustratingly between the sublime, the mildly pleasing and the mundane.

This limited edition MCD contains four tracks: two metal songs and two ambient interludes. Take into account the intros and bridges on the main songs, and about half the disc's 20-minute duration is made up of synth effects. That's just a little excessive, in my opinion. Furthermore, some of the metal parts feel rather lazily written, with one melodic riff sounding distinctly like something I heard on a Cradle of Filth record many years ago, and some of the trademark Negura Bunget symphonic climaxes relying too heavily on cheap synth mashing, making the band sometimes appear a pale imitation of itself.

On the other hand, the Romanian trio do sometimes hit the high notes, notably with the excellent intro and impassioned opening riff of "Wordless Knowledge", an adrenalised closing passage on "Uprising Follow" and several moments of impressive interplay between the drums and guitars. The first of the two ambient pieces is quite haunting and evocative; but in keeping with the inconsistency of the metal component, the second ambient piece turns out to be a real stinker, with an embarrassing attempt at spooky vocal effects betraying singer Hupogrammos's sometimes overinflated sense of his own versatility.

The brevity of the new material is offset by a generous and elaborately designed multimedia section containing live renditions of the song "II" from _'n Crugu Bradului_, and "Vãzduh", the song which appeared as a music video on the same release. While neither recording has particularly good sound quality, the latter was taped at a large open-air concert in Bucharest with a level of stage engineering normally reserved for big-name rock bands. If nothing else, these bonuses do add some curiosity value to a rather underwhelming release by a normally outstanding group. The MCD was limited to only 734 copies and I can only hope its reduced availability can be attributed to the band's desire to get a few superfluous ideas out of their system while saving the big guns for the forthcoming full-length, _Om_.


(article published 27/9/2005)

5/25/2000 P Azevedo Negura Bunget: Truly Transylvanian
11/15/2006 J Montague 8 Negura Bunget - Om
3/26/2003 P Azevedo 8 Negura Bunget - 'N Crugu Bradului
3/13/2001 P Azevedo 8 Negura Bunget - Maiastru Sfetnic
3/14/1999 B Meloon 7 Negura Bunget - Sala Molksa
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