Negura Bunget - Maiestrit
Lupus Lounge
Black Metal
8 songs (1:15:25)
Release year: 2010
Negura Bunget , Lupus Lounge
Reviewed by Goat

A re-recording of the band's 2000 Măiastru Sfetnic album, Maiestrit preshadows the forthcoming new albums from the Romanian Black Metal heroes, and it's also the last recording made prior to their acrimonious split and reformation as two new bands. Listening out for the sounds of conflict will get you nowhere, as there seems little aural reflection of recent events; instead, coming to this album directly from the fantastic career-defining glory of 2006's Om, it's interesting that rather than the stop-gap that many bands would use a re-recording of an album as (Exodus, looking at you here) Negură Bunget have produced an album that is better than the vast majority of Black Metal bands' new studio recordings. There's a clear and obvious spiritual element to the music which elevates it above and beyond the usual standard of excellent songwriting - which also exists here. Listening to Maiestrit, the reminder comes that Black Metal bands exist on multiple tiers of quality, and Negură Bunget are above even the Ukraine's Drudkh in those terms.

As inscrutable as ever, the band begin with Vremea Locului Sortit, large, almost Doomy riffs arising and falling before things turn melodic, deep chanting and surprisingly catchy riff patterns working wonderfully with the backing atmospheric synths and dips into acoustic pastures. It's typical brilliance for the band, big and epic, and the album doesn't let you down as it proceeds. This is much more stripped-down than Om, as you'd expect, touching Drudkh territory at times with moments like the start of In-Zvicnirea Apusului, although the eerie whistling above the Blackened morass soon marks it out as distinct. Fans of Om, however, will have much to enjoy; the amazing peaks and crevasses of A-vint In Abis for one, a grandiose blast of melody-ridden Black Metal that is at once ambient and in-your-face, with violent riffing and growls and backing orchestral keyboards working together in unison. The more ominous and grim Al Locului follows in a neat change of pace, melancholic wails over chuggy riffing reminiscent of old Enslaved - heck, even the bass is audible and plays a part in the music, unlike many Black Metal bands. I love the tribal-esque percussion that opens Bruiestru, the prog-tinged instrumental bliss that kicked Plecaciunea Mortii off - only for the track to turn chaotic and almost grinding as the guitars induce uncontrollable headbanging.

There's not a weak track present and very little to complain about overall, although I question the labelling of the bonus tracks as 'acoustic' when electric guitars are quite audible at times - they're a nice addition, however, even if (like me) you haven't heard the original album that Maiestrit is an update of. Judging from Maiestrit alone, it's an interesting and enjoyable part of Negură Bunget's canon which fans are sure to enjoy, and which makes the forthcoming albums from the original line-up's various offshoots all the more fascinating.

Killing Songs :
Vremea Locului Sortit, In-Zvicnirea Apusului, A-vint In Abis, Bruiestru
Goat quoted 86 / 100
Other albums by Negura Bunget that we have reviewed:
Negura Bunget - Tau reviewed by Jared and quoted 85 / 100
Negura Bunget - Vîrstele Pamintului reviewed by Charles and quoted 90 / 100
Negura Bunget - Zîrnindu-să reviewed by Dan and quoted 95 / 100
Negura Bunget - Om reviewed by Goat and quoted 97 / 100
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