Two Negura Bunget alumni have come up with a fantastic, forward thinking album that has A LOT in it for us all to discover. “Har,” the latest Dordeduh album, following on from 2012’s “Dar de duh” took many of the TMW Staff by storm and was an easy pick as the album of the month for May 2021. Without any further mucking around, here is what they had to say!
ProgCaveOgier: “Well, as a fan of Enslaved I’ll have to admit that this album has taken me by great surprise! Yes, the video for the track “Dojana” from their first self-titled album nine years back sure did blow me away, but that album did not stay in regular listening as the years passed. Now, the story is completely different. Since discovering their sophomore release, it has been in a daily listening rota. There’s so much in to find in it. A great play of light and the shadow for starters. It is almost Pop music with its hooks here and there, and yet it is still very serious in mindset. There are melodies that remind us of Paradise Lost and Type O Negative, but also plenty of Extreme Metal tension to balance it up. My Romanian is a bit rusty, but I believe the lyrics are quite esoteric and spiritual. The album somehow transfers the message on a subconscious level, even if I do not understand the lyrics at all. After googling a bit, this is what the vocalist Hupogrammos had to say about the tune “Desferecat” and it somehow is very much in line with what I thought the album would be all about:
“A straightforward translation for “Desferecat” would be “unchained”. The whole idea behind the song is related to the deepest process of transformation, that touches and changes the human core. The process starts with self reflection and self acknowledgment, with the purest humbleness one can attain. It continues with a jump into our own abyss, uncovering and discovering all the trauma and fears, touching the deepest darkness hidden into our essence, only to rise again above it all, embracing and integrating it into a newer and elevated version of ourselves. What people can see in this video, is our personal take to this journey of transformation.“
Deep huh? But quite enjoyable too.”
Obsolete Dreadnaught: “I saw this album around but ignored it – mostly because it does look and is described as one of those releases by Prophecy Records that impress me with the first spin and start boring me by the third. So, my colleagues here suggested this as the album of the month so, maybe I was wrong? Wait, those guys are from my beloved Negura Bunget? And the project has existed since 2010? How did I missed out on this?! Now, I am way over three spins and pretty much in love. This combines progressive complexity with Metal power and poppy catchiness. And it does so in a magnificent way. A comparison with modern day Enslaved is obvious. It is also in my opinion a bit unfair. Both projects work in the same sub-genre, but Dordeduh have a truly individual sound. Some co-conspirators at TMW have dared speaking of “Har” as an AOTY candidate. There is still quite a lot of year to go, so I wouldn’t speak too fast. What this by any means is, is an excellent and engaging masterpiece. One that I shouldn’t have ignored in the first place.”
VUK (The Magnificent!): “I have spent a lot of time with this album. I’ve been on a journey with it. Without sounding as silly, I mean it has taken a while for me to appreciate exactly how great it is. Every angle this record comes at you from, it knocks your you on your arse. It looks down at you and laughs. Kicks some dust in your face. Then somehow convinces you to get up and follow it around. Like David Lynch might. Super creepy. You realize… you could die. This record doesn’t give a shit, it tells you “Look. I know this is hard, but I’m in charge now. This is what we’re listening to. “Har” is the soundtrack to something. It marks a time in my life. Or represents a spark that flickered for a bit, but the fucker was stubborn so it burns bright as shit! This is one of the best albums I’ve heard this year so far. If there were a TMW “Best Of So Far,” this would be my top pick.”
Your Grouchy Friend: “Where to begin with this masterpiece? This has quickly become an almost daily staple within my listening canon. Epic in scope and ambitiously stylistic, this is an album you truly must get your ears into several times to begin to appreciate its depth. Sonically it is difficult for words to do service: Crystalline highs, swells of low end synth, strings, and crisp, modern high gain guitars that have a simple physicality. This is a beautiful mix that artfully combines myriad sounds.
On first listen the clean vocal approach felt almost jarring for me – even in its seamless and smooth beauty. It’s a pseudo-religious hymnal form that I must profess to being unused to. Subsequent listens quickly brought it into a truly wondrous light, picking up on harmonies with the synths at various moments that prove understatedly spectacular. The vocal is supremely controlled, with what seems to be a distinct cultural aspect at play. I’m not familiar with Romanian culture but to my ears there is a cultural element here that can only be born of generations of implicit teachings.
The slow, brooding march of the opener elucidates all manner of dark thoughts; the change a couple of minutes in a calm, definitive display of the fundamental, leaden -heavy execution of which the band are capable. Layered and beautiful clean vocal. Synths and vocal bleeding together in harmony. Rolling and shifting layers of tension. Lightly rolling snare, deep swells of pure vocal… beautiful.
“Vraci de Nord” is a personal favourite: A spectacular journey from slowly pulsing synths as a foundation, dusted with echo drenched guitar and simple synth piano, this track is cinematic in its scope. Endless waves of tension that threaten to be unbreaking. Even the entrance of the growled refrain of the title builds the beautiful menace. It trudges on and on, until 7 minutes in where the rhythm lifts to a fast chugging to recontextualise the earlier passages and progress to new territory. Irrespective of your musical leanings, this is work to which one’s hat must surely be doffed.
This is nonstop atmosphere. I most profess that this has made the grade as one of my bedtime albums. Sounds silly? Perhaps, but few albums make it into the handful that place me exactly where I need to be. This is art folks. You simply must experience it.”
The Great Mack: You usually find me lurking down here at the bottom with a bucket full of stupid witty bullshit that I find amusing and others often don’t about how I feel about an album. This one has made me have to think harder than a fox about how to get his (or her) socks on without actually possessing an opposable thumb, but first a little back story. This one was first recommended to me by a friend (Mick Rowe – Here’s looking at you mate) and I let it sit for a week or three. He has very eclectic tastes, and is somewhat of a composer/sound designer and multi instrumentalist, so he can throw me some of the most random shit at any moment. Fact is though that most of it is pretty fucking solid so I probably should have paid attention a little quicker hey!
Yeah, upon first listen this bastard reached out and tickled my fancy, with its broad range of styles wrapped in a giant bag of mystery, as I had no idea WHO Negura Bunget are, as I often don’t skip happily down the Black Metal mountain with some sort of Romanian pastry tucked neatly under my arm to share with the village folk. To be brutally honest I rarely Black Metal at all, preferring my meatiness to come from the corpses of the recently deceased, or diseased as may be the case, but I digress.
A broad range of styles is the key here, as you will no doubt hear. To simply call it Progressive would be a grave mistake, for moments of this such as on opener “Timpul întâilor” can as previously stated indeed remind one of the mighty Enslaved with its atmosphere and Folkish leanings, but also carries a mighty wallop in the vocal and riff departments when they feel it suits. You may well end up on your arse with something far more massive than you first expected lording it over you, and so it goes.
To each his own I often say, and I take many a musical influence from this each and every time I listen (which is a lot, like almost every time I put music on lately). I have had another solid individual (Kurth De Clercq – hats off to you brother) say they can even hear some Peter Gabriel in the mix. I do not doubt this, as Peters music on the non commercial side of things can be quite the interesting and challenging thing. Myself, I hear a lot of Vangelis, especially on “Vraci de nord,” which without fail every time cannot help but remind me of the soundtrack he did for the movie “1492 – Conquest of Paradise” (1992).
Another band that I feel I need to mention here are Germany’s Alkaloid, yeah that band with the fabulous Hannes Grossmann slapping some serious skin as he does. Although WAY heavier on many a level, some of their tracks from the last release “Liquid Anatomy” come to mind as well when listening to “Har.” I will mention one in particular, that being “In Turmoil’s Swirling Reaches” to be precise. When you are not afraid to have vocal passages that sound like Jon Anderson of Yes fame on an album without fearing the wrath of the Kvlt and the pure unimaginative, you know you are truly free as a musician.
Utter magnificence. And yes I am one that is already calling this AOTY. I chose Graceless last year and was I wrong? Not in my tiny mind! What’s worse than a baby in a bucket? A baby in ten buckets? It’s all about perspective and what we like hey! Do not be afraid, give this one a good listen or ten.”
Yes. This indeed is art in the purest form of the word. Please, do yourself a favour and do not sleep on this record, for it is bound to be one of the highlights of 2021. Fact.