Negura Bunget at Voodoo Lounge – Review

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negura-bungetNegura Bunget at Voodoo Lounge – April 2nd

Following a well-received support slot with Rotting Christ in Dublin last year, Romanian progressive black metal band Negura Bunget played the Voodoo Lounge on Dublin’s Arran Quay on Wednesday. This is a band whose future seemed on unsteady ground following the exit of founding members in 2009, with percussionist Negru recruiting a host of new musicians and pushing their sound further into atmospheric, ambient sound. Since then, the band has entered their fourth iteration, and are due to release their seventh album, ‘Tău’ this year.

Although, probably no longer at the peak of their powers, it’s disappointing that a band of such quality drew such a meagre turnout, attracting less than thirty attendees, but the band pay no heed and put on an excellent display. Support on the night comes from Dublin-based Polish pagan black metal band, Thy Worshiper, who put on a sonically-pleasant, but visually unengrossing performance. Originally scheduled support act, Grimegod, which features some current members of Negura Bunget, did not perform as a result of an issue with visas.

As soon as the lights hit, the atmosphere thickens and the brooding drone of a 3-metre horn fills the room and burst to life with the wave of aggression and confidently hit their stride. With their divergent sound consisting of two opposite poles – fast, aggressive black metal and folk-leaning ambience, it’s impressive, not just their strength at each of these, but how engrossing the combination is. Surrounded with a rich array of folk instruments, and even managing to make panpipes not sound laughable, the brooding character of the quieter segments manages not to just act as segues into the heavier sections. The heavier segments themselves remain sublime.

With the kind of gruelling tour schedule they maintain, it would be understandable if they were to simply phone this one in, but they remain on top form, despite receiving very little energy back from the crowd. The setlist covers material from their entire career, but with an expected emphasis on tracks from their upcoming album and 2006’s widely-held masterpiece, ‘Om’, but was shorter than would be ideal. Nonetheless, it remains a top-class gig from one of the most eminent bands in the genre.

Review by Conor Cosgrave

 

Lucy Ivan

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