Sur Austru - Meteahna Timpurilor review

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Band: Sur Austru
Album: Meteahna Timpurilor
Release date: September 2019

01. Dincolo De Munte
02. Puhoaielor
03. Mistuind
04. Bradul Cerbului
05. Jale
06. Dor Austru
07. In Timp Vernal
08. Jabracie

If E-an-na wasn't enough for you, Romania's folk metal scene continues to spawn intriguing variations in the form of Sur Austru, a band that includes current and former members of Negură Bunget and Grimegod. With the experience collected here, it's to be expected that Meteahna Timpurilor sounds unusually strong for a debut.

I'm not all that familiar with Negură Bunget, but after checking out a few tracks from Grimegod's latest album, Wrong Roads, I can see some parallels in how often Sur Austru breaks free from its nominal stylistic moorings. You could describe Sur Austru as primarily a folk metal band, due to the traditional instrumentation and certain aspects of the songwriting, and a black metal band second, due to the tremolo-picked riffs and eerie chord progressions (maybe the other way around), but there's a lot more to Meteahna Timpurilor than any one style (or two). A semi-constant carpet of vocal drones and misty keys conjures monastic ambience; the chthonic growls, leathery toms, and ritualistic solemnity reflect Septicflesh; the slow, churning pace and reedy clean vocals that surface throughout mix in some gothic doom flavor. Sometimes the melodies shift oriental, sometimes Nordic.

Everything drones together on this album: flutes, guitars, keys, voices, etc. The songs are distinct and varied, each leaning into some genre outside the folk/black base from time to time, but the entire album flows in one direction, all pushing toward some haunted, doom-ridden endpoint. Those flurrying flutes have much to contribute to all aspects of the album, whether garnishing the soft instrumental piece "Jale," contrasting the hellish breakdown in "In Timp Vernal," or opening the album with the very mists of time themselves. Even on the absolutely Septicflesh-sounding "Jabracie" the flutes have something to add. "De Dincolo De Munte" may be my favorite track, alongside "Bradul Cerbului," but I haven't reached the point of skipping anything yet, and probably won't - the feeling of unbroken pace and atmosphere makes it easy to take Meteahna Timpurilor as a discrete piece of music, even with so many shifts in tempo, style, and tone throughout.

Sur Austru already have mastery over many soft, ambient textures that complement the thick, dirgey, doomy black metal - owing much to the flutes, certainly, but just as much to a basic understanding of how to create shifts in mood, of when to let a monumental riff punch its way out and when to buttress it with other layers. Meteahna Timpurilor is a very strong debut from what will hopefully become the next big name in the Romanian metal scene.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 9
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 7
Production: 8


Written on 17.09.2019 by I'm the reviewer, and that means my opinion is correct.


Comments: 3   Visited by: 42 users
18.09.2019 - 01:07
Troy Killjoy
This is worth checking out if only because of the Negura Bunget connection, keeping in mind it's mostly folk with some black metal elements. Looking forward to listening soon.
I have no memory of this place.
20.09.2019 - 12:33
JoHn DoE
I enjoyed this more than the last couple of albums from NB.
I thought the two primary purposes for the internet were cat memes and overreactions.
20.09.2019 - 13:20
Really didn't expect to like this one as much as I did, given how relatively unimpressed I was with this lineup's Negura Bunget albums. Sounds similar enough to those albums but makes just enough effort to have its unique sound.
- I've dreamt of that for years.
- Dying?
- Running.

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