Sur Austru - Obârşie review

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Band: Sur Austru
Album: Obârşie
Release date: February 2021

01. Cel Din Urmă
02. Taina
03. Codru Moma
04. Cânt Adânc
05. Caloianul
06. Ucenicii Din Hârtop I
07. Ucenicii Din Hârtop II

I haven't listened to any more Negură Bunget since reviewing Sur Austru's debut two years ago, but I consider myself relieved of any responsibility for further research; after a successful first venture and a timely follow-up, we no longer need the Negură Bunget association to justify sparing some time for Sur Austru.

Some bands are content to direct their energies toward consciously emulating one preestablished set of musical ethos, recapitulating the common tropes of one distinct genre; you'll find this a lot in metal, and there isn't necessarily anything wrong with deciding to play "folk metal" or "black metal" as it has been passed down (or both at the same time) and then doing just that. Other bands, however, prefer writing music to create an experience and a feeling without contrivance or expectation, and this is where we find Sur Austru: playing music that evolves according to the soul of its ritual rather than to the letter of a formula. As with Meteahna Timpurilor, Obârşie contains far too much activity to pass as a drone album, but that same single-mindedness, the intent to stir sensation as much as to produce art, is what I hear reflected in the repetitive melodies, lengthy tracks, layers of sound, and immersive mood. There are long stretches of hushed voices, layers of eeries flutes, and tremolo-picked chords that flutter tensely at a distance, waiting for the moment at which the procession reaches some new stage of development and becomes compounded by harsh vocals, harsher riffs, and heavy percussion.

Whether Obârşie qualifies as "folk metal" or "black metal" is immaterial, because elements of both and more besides mingle without artifice throughout every song, creating a sound that is Sur Austru and no more or less. A diverse vocal array - lead and choir, male and female, clean and harsh - accompanies a similarly equipped roster of instruments; when the standard metal lineup and the incorporated ancient tools blend within these dense compositions, they emit the mystifying aroma of wooded mountain sanctuaries. No matter how the tempo changes or how many instruments weave in or out, the album maintains its steady somnolent effect. Obârşie promises to spirit you away "to the endless forests of Romania and southern Carpathia with [a] ritualistic blend of black metal and local folklore" - and this it does; after two titanic tracks of intensely atmospheric metal, "Codru Moma" splits the sea with a gorgeous piece of acoustic scenery whose flute summons a grey, sylvan landscape soaked in the scent of rain. From that interlude grows "Cânt Adânc," which shepherds the album back into heavy metal without relinquishing that earthy sensation of wariness. The two-part "Ucenicii Din Hârtop" that closes the album is perhaps Sur Austru's most interesting composition so far: large in scale, imposing in demeanor, and yet still very melodic and delicate in places. It plays more to its melody than to the concentrated spirit of the preceding tracks, but it's still a far cry from typical folk metal fare.

Structurally, stylistically, Obârşie is not terribly different from Meteahna Timpurilor an dmight be described merely as a sharpening of all its qualities; the songwriting is more enchanting, the production slightly more complementary, the overall effect more concentrated. One less obvious comparison is Orphaned Land, whose more progressive material demonstrates a similar ability to become sneakily hypnotic and repetitious without explicitly abandoning the traditional elements of the melodies or the darker and more extreme aspects of the metal side. If you delight in the type of folk metal that makes your hair stand on end or the type of black metal that draws its darkness from the echoes of history rather than the corners of basements, then you should take an hour to sit by Sur Austru's campfire and explore the source of mystery.


Written on 20.02.2021 by I'm the reviewer, and that means my opinion is correct.

Guest review by
Aries Rising
Solid mix of folk and black metal.

published 30.05.2021 | Comments (13)


Comments: 6   Visited by: 64 users
20.02.2021 - 20:37
Absolutely love the production on this thing.
Do you think if the heart keeps on shrinking
One day there will be no heart at all?

2021 goodies
20.02.2021 - 20:57
Meat and Potatos
Sounds interesting, gonna check this out
Rose is red, violet is blue. Flag is win, Baba is you.
21.02.2021 - 00:50

Both Sur Austru full lengths are stunning. I'm waiting to get Obarsie on CD in my hands. I love these two albums as hell.
Føroyar mítt land

Tú alfagra land mítt

Føroyar mín Móðir
22.02.2021 - 13:21
Not to mention that this band has been constantly featured on the main page for the past 5 months because no gallery has been uploaded since.
Do you think if the heart keeps on shrinking
One day there will be no heart at all?

2021 goodies
22.02.2021 - 13:31

Written by RaduP on 22.02.2021 at 13:21

Not to mention that this band has been constantly featured on the main page for the past 5 months because no gallery has been uploaded since.

The Romanian takeover of Metal Storm in full effect

I like the album, although I think the synth blasts are a tad overbearing. I like Caloianul a lot with the folk aspects central to the song
08.03.2021 - 04:52

I absolutely loved the album. The more indigenous elements added to the song absolutely did it for me.

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