Negura Bunget – ZI (Lupus Lounge)Sunday, 27th November 2016
Negura Bunget have now been a long running folk/black metal export from Romania. Running a band for two decades and multiple full length albums is no small feat, but Negru has kept his ship on course thru multiple lineup changes and stylistic evolutions. ZI is a culmination of where Negura Bunget have arrived in 2016, and the band are still as unique and interesting as ever.
Never really a troupe to play to the standard rules of black metal, ZI begins with “Tul-ni-ca-rind” which is a ritualistic folk opener which integrates various folk instruments amongst a back drop of sorrowful chant/sung style vocals. “Gradina Stelelor” continues on with the heavy folk atmosphere before unfolding into a melodic blackened gallop before coming back down to conclude quietly back to the folk styled performance from where it began.
These two songs are the pace at which Negura Bunget play with ZI. The songs all carry colors of traditional folk styled melodies pairing them with blackened bursts that create a duality to ZI that is as a whole somewhat interesting, but sometimes atavistic to the listening process. The musicianship and production on ZI is well executed but the songs don’t really captivate me beyond a curio listen. Though I don’t like to compare bands to their past works, it thinks it’s necessary as I find myself not really finding the depth here that OM created. Sure, ZI is entirely different in its own way and show cases Negura Bunget 2016 and I understand that, but I just didn’t think the duality that ZI attempts to achieve works very well.
For fans of the band, I certainly urge you to examine ZI and its contents, as there are interesting moments sprinkled thru ZI, but it has potential to be much more expansive than it is and it left me feeling like it could have achieved more.