Monday, May 28, 2012

Thundering arrival

Negura Bunget’s road to the U.S. has been long and twisted. Formed as a duo more than 15 years ago in Romania, Negura Bunget has forged some powerful albums and earned its place among Europe’s elite black-metal bands. But Negura Bunget has not made it across the Atlantic. Until now.

Fresh off its appearance at the Maryland Deathfest, Negura Bunget brought its Transylvanian Legacy Tour with Eclipse Eternal and Din Brad to Ralph’s Chadwick Square Dinger in Worcester on May 27. This was also one of four shows on the tour to include Haethen.

The current 6-piece version of Negura Bunget is vastly revamped from the lineup that originally cooked up this band’s intriguing blend of brutality and beauty. But the legacy of albums such as 2006's “Om" is intact; in concert, Negura Bunget traveled to sonic extremes and aptly pulled together disparate musical elements into a cohesive bludgeoning.

 Drummer Negru is the sole founding member of the troupe, but through its ranks, up to singer Chakravartin (who joined earlier this year and made a joke about being 10 years old when the band formed), Negura Bunget displayed both discipline and connection to the material. The band carved out intricate arrangements, finding delicate ways to cut through the darker passages. At one point folkloric pipes and primitive percussion were as galvanizing as the epic guitar solos that give the band its progressive edge.

The hour-long set peaked with “Hora Soarelui,” as the band protected an anthemic melody amid booming dynamics.

Negura Bunget’s keyboard player Inia Dinia and drummer Negru aired a softer side of the ensemble with their duo Din Brad, which played a short opening set steeped in sound scapes and folk-based melodies.

Eclipse Eternal was also taking part in a first foray into the States. Hailing from Toronto, Eclipse Eternal hemmed closer to the darker edges off black metal, earning its corpse paint with such brutal fare as “Writing with a Razor Upon the Blue Lines.”

As punishing as the band could get, Eclipse Eternal also took off into headier displays such as “Summoning the Negative” and “The Dragon Has Come to Blot Out the Stars.” Like Negura Bunget, Eclipse Eternal uses dramatic keyboard parts to broaden the sound without sacrificing any of the heaviness.

Haethen, a progressive black-metal band from New Jersey, opened the night. Scrappier than the international visitors on the bill, Haethen nonetheless reveled in the dynamics shifts of the sort that would ultimately become more pronounced as the night went on.

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