Negura Bunget
N' Crugu Bradului

There are musical creations that work on the mind, while other work on the emotions exclusively. There are the ones that work both on the rational and invoke feelings, sights, simultaneously, manage to create commotion and both mind and soul storms on all levels, deep and superficially. There are musical creations that are simple, both in structure and contents, baring a linear aim, direction and intentions. There are those which are complex, unfriendly, challenging, tunes one cannot repeat mumbling to one's self, but melodies that are being sung on their own volition, weaving and wreathing inside one's mind compulsively, haunting and unrelenting in the back of one's head...Songs that are being self-created out of the chaos of themselves, only to spread eventually a vast, thick, colorful carpet of sounds, tastes, emotions, visions, excursions through some magical, imaginary musical and other landscapes...There are those who hold all the above mentioned qualities altogether: Both complex and simple, euphonious and disharmonic, linear and aimless, direct and multi-layered. Primitive yet so advanced and a head of their time...There is music which is above categorization, above labeling. Music that cannot and need not be framed, put into this or that dogma, and definitely cannot be reviewed or above that - criticized - on a simple, superficial level. Music which defies styles (i.e., Death, Black, Doom, Dark, Gothic, Metal, Rock, whatever...), barren words that bear only damage and stain with utter stupidity and narrow-mindedness the noble sounds of the musical work of art. Some albums stand completely alone, lonely in their radiant glory and uniqueness, only because they embody the ultimate in sounds: They embody MUSIC itself. Pure and simple (or complex). Music, the highest word, the gift of the gods to men, the glimpse of the lost paradise, if only for an hour or so...This album, N' Crugu Bradului, holds all those dual, sometimes paradoxical qualities, at the same time: It owns many faces, many layers, complex both in compositions and lyricism, it is vast, multi-directional and epic. The most epic album I've heard for a long, long time...Yet, this album gives me a strange feeling of familiarity, as if I was acquainted to it in some way, some time before, a continuous feeling of deja-vu, yet on the same note, the confidence that I have never yet heard an album like that. An album that gives a new meaning to the phrase: A Masterpiece.

N' Crugu Bradului, the album's name in Romanian, are the sounds of the metal musician as I've always sought after: an intelligent, profound, scholar, humble, original musician. Well, Negura Bunget is comprised of three of those rare persons, who have done a remarkable job with this recording. Mostly this album is the sound of the searching musician, searching the formula by which he could capture the natural being, and link it to human quality, but spiritual and physical bonds. And indeed, this album reeks with the pungent odors of nature: the solitude, emptiness, desolation of it, the mysteries of the universe, cruelty of the elements and their enormous power, the extreme beauty of nature and the "ugliness" of the raw powers and their destructive qualities on the same breath. This album holds within the sounds of the blowing, whistling winds, both the haunting shrieks as well as their caressing warmth; the sounds of dawn and the cold dusk and twilight time; the sounds of the blinding snow blizzards; the sounds of silence and rolling thunders; and those of the cracks created in a thick, impenetrable layer of ages-old ice fields.

So, what does actually Negura Bunget play? An uninitiated, inexperienced listener would say - Black metal. Other, more observing, will say: a very unique, atmospheric type of black metal. Maybe even dark, epic and very emotional. Some will even add that this music is mysterious in some way. I'll just say negura Bunget plays fascinating, spiritual music, both harsh, epic and dark but also very emotive and "warm": A darkened beauty. But most important, this album bears the common qualities of the human race, as it signifies what we all are made of: atoms, molecules, building stones, all emerging from the primordial soup, all sharing elements with the universe around us, and though it sounds familiar, the mystery never leaves the listener, a vast, colorful picture whose borders are not seen, a picture that spreads from this time and moment, to the beginning of our existence. The beginning, when all was simple, yet every new discovery was regarded with awe, curiosity and mystery. Not since Sabbat's mythological album 'Dreamweaver', have I encountered an album so filled with so much love and appreciation towards nature, such a strong pagan affinity, and the spiritual linkage between mother-nature and man, a perfect full circle of nature versus man versus nature and all its wonders and beauty and power and purity. While listening to this album for the fiftieth time now, I couldn't avoid picturing in my mind giant trees, dense forests, cracks in a semi-snowy ground, shades of deep green and gray, fat clouds giving birth to huge drops of rain, cold and pure and clean, and on the same breath, visions of love, universal mysteries, wisdom of man, his never-ending exploration drive, curiosity and the respect few of us still hold for nature itself. This album is simple as pure white snow, and in opposition to its radical simplicity - it is also complex, mind provoking, and diverse as a tropical rain-forest...

This album embodies the life that man should have lived, and it is almost as great as life itself, and album that will accompany me for many years to come...This is a profound, chilling, epic, magnificent work of dark musical art, no less...

2003 c. drishner