Rating:
8.0
Negură Bunget - Vîrstele Pămîntului
26 March 2010


01. Pămînt
02. Dacia Hiperboreană
03. Umbra
04. Ochiul Inimii
05. Chei De Roua
06. Tara De Dincolo De Negură
07. Jar
08. Arborele Lumii
09. Întoarcerea Amurgului


Thoreau's shrewd diagnosis of life: "Truth needs only two groups of people to surface - some to express it and others to hear it." Negură Bunget have done the first part by unfettering another Transilvanian beast, to roam the dark rainswept streets of Romania, under the name of Vîrstele Pămîntului. It would be unwise to spurn the quest to discovering the concealed hoards of Negură Bunget's sixth proud album just because it doesn't live up to the standards set by its predecessors, Om and Maiestrit to name a few. All that we have to do is to hear it as it winds paths through the cold mountains of the legendary Dacia. I have already done that, and here's my story...

The ramble commences with "Pămînt," a high-pitched flutted opening track, which soothes me every time I give it a listen. It starts off as haunting, peaceful and eerie as the unswerving river Dâmboviţa that sunders the Transylvanian Alps in south-central Romania, before it plunges into a lake of bewitched atmospheric folk metal at its best. Something that even the most scrupulous fans of Negură Bunget, myself included, wouldn't expect after the departure of two of the three members of the Romanian outfit. And while I realize this album is not anywhere near Om's matchless authenticity or the black metal transcendent spirituality that the band was reputed to hold, I still believe it's gold. Not following? I'll explain... from The raw whited-backdrop and the root-curved tree that embodies the artwork (which I believe depicts anger towards those who continue to scourge nature) to the earthly songs, the Romanian black metal thunder has managed to combine, brilliantly, Drudkh's crafty style, using numerous ethnic instruments (tulnic, xylophone, cobza, dulcimer, talangi, panpipe...) with Negru's true love for nature which greatly contributed to improving the greater whole. At this point, people would begin to compare this release to Om and of course to deplore the departure of Hupogrammos and Sol Faur. Well, let me save you some time, I'm not going to, and neither should you. Clearly Vîrstele Pămîntului isn't Om, and frankly, I don't think that Negură Bunget will ever record a masterpiece in Om's flawlessness, and why should they? They've established themselves as the upper crust of the black metal hierarchy and neither a shuddering tempest nor a tsunami could dethrone them from their well-deserved throne.

Vîrstele Pămîntului (which means The Ages Of The Land) is a solid album, not as impressive as Om or Maiestrit but it's a must for everyone who yearns to hone his Negură Bunget experience and his metal knowledge as a whole. I'd even go as far as saying, that this album, with all its flaws, blows the other so-called atmospheric black metal kings' works out of the water.


Band profile: Negură Bunget
Album: Vîrstele Pămîntului


 


written by Mindheist | 03.01.2011


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.



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ApocalypticaMax3 - 04.01.2011 at 01:29  
Well, I may provoke controversy with this, but in fact, I liked this album a lot more than Om.

I'm not too much into black metal, but I'm starting to get into it a bit more through more atmospheric stuff like that.

It seems to me that this last album was more folk oriented than others like Om. And, well, the folk/atmospheric black balance of the last album seemed to fit my taste a lot more; I'm in love with Vîrstele Pămîntului.
Irinel - 24.01.2011 at 11:56  
Written by ApocalypticaMax3 on 04.01.2011 at 01:29

Well, I may provoke controversy with this, but in fact, I liked this album a lot more than Om.

I'm not too much into black metal, but I'm starting to get into it a bit more through more atmospheric stuff like that.

It seems to me that this last album was more folk oriented than others like Om. And, well, the folk/atmospheric black balance of the last album seemed to fit my taste a lot more; I'm in love with Vîrstele Pãmîntului.


varstele pamantului is a comercial album... they are decading since they broke up with the main song writers...btw OM is a masterpiece...
Anibx - 31.03.2011 at 19:55  
Comercial black metal?? Righttttt:hopeless:, now I'd heard everything.
BitterCOld - 31.03.2011 at 20:12  
Uh, this is in no way commercial. not by any stretch. Negru is hoping to reap the benefits of continuing the band name rather than starting over with a fresh name, but it's hardly a commercial powerhouse brand name.

that said, I agree with the general assessment of the reviewer. doesn't quite hold up to OM. Maiestrit is a re-working of an older album, so I didn't consider it in terms of band evolution. it sort of stands off by itself. not a bad album at all. enjoyable, but the bar was set impossibly high.

i think i have it somewhere between 7.5 and 8... amusingly had they gone with a new name as a new project i'd peg towards the higher end of that range, because I wouldn't hold it up against the back catalog.
Irinel - 08.04.2011 at 16:54  
If you are really into black metal you'd find out that Virstele Pamantului is a comercial album; it sounds too melodic and it's easy to understand it ( 7.9 says it all ) ... real black metal is Moonsorrow, Angantyr, Manegarm and other good bands...btw all the albums from negura are masterpieces, less the last one due to the things happened in the band in 2009 and especially the split of the main song writers (hupogrammus & sol faur ) that made themselves a new band... called Dordeduh
So anibx, if you rated this album a 9 or 10, excuse me then : you don't know what black metal quality is. (period)
BitterCOld - 09.04.2011 at 01:57  
Accessibility is a far cry from being 'commercial'. you're a Dimmu fan apparently*. THAT is commercial. a marketing machine spewing forth t-shirts and cheesy upside-down crucifixes at shows (for only $20 each!)... I'd be shocked if VP sold a fraction of Abracadabra or whatever. retention of the original band name was a low move, and one which scores them a little bit of name recognition, but it's not going to catapult them into international success. if anything the move also has the drawback in that most of the people aware of the band are aso aware of the split, and thus think less of this project as a result.

finally, "all abums from negura are masterpieces" - hardly. OM was fucking brilliant, n'Crugu and Inarborat Kosmos are awesome, but the prior works are just decent. at best. which is part of the reason they re-built Maiastru Stefnic from the ground up as Maiestrit.




* someone who rates virtually the entire Dimmu Borgir discography a 9+ is lecturing others on black metal quality?
Troy Killjoy - 10.04.2011 at 01:19  
Written by Irinel on 08.04.2011 at 16:54

TROLOLOLOLOL

I know what you're doing and I don't like it.
MechanisT - 02.05.2011 at 23:00  
Man, you've got a way with words. Excellent vocabulary! I for one enjoyed this album thoroughly, but it does seem slightly pale in comparison to OM. I haven't really dug deep into their discography, but probably will do at some point.
Excellent review.
Mindheist - 03.05.2011 at 19:38  
Written by MechanisT on 02.05.2011 at 23:00

Man, you've got a way with words. Excellent vocabulary! I for one enjoyed this album thoroughly, but it does seem slightly pale in comparison to OM. I haven't really dug deep into their discography, but probably will do at some point.
Excellent review.

Thanks for the nice words man . I completely agree this record pales in comparison to Om but it's still worth picking-up . Thanks for reading it .
Valentin B - 07.10.2012 at 17:24  
You know a lot of Romanian geography I should give this band a chance, especially now that I've got not one, but TWO apparently great atmospheric black metal bands (Negura and Dordeduh) right on my doorstep.
Mindheist - 11.10.2012 at 01:01  
They are both great, though Dordeduh still have a long way to climb before reaching Negura's level.

P.S: I just love dark, misty places

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