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Bucium - Voievozii CD (album) cover

VOIEVOZII

Bucium

 

Prog Folk

3.46 | 8 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

FolkDragon
4 stars As a fan of both folk metal and progressive rock, Bucium were a fantastic discovery for me. Pity they only have one album - although there is other work by them out there, this is all that's readily available. However, they manage to accomplish more in this one album than many bands do in a career. Dense, moody and instrumentally interesting for essentially the entire duration, "Voievozii" has fast become one of my favourite albums.

The first track, "Voievozii" sets high expectations for the rest of the album. Personally, I think the vibe set in this track is quite well carried throughout. It opens with ambient noise and the vocalist monologuing in an evocative soundscape that gives the distinct impression of a shaman over his fire. Soon, however, the music really takes flight, reminiscent both of the opening music of an epic film and of a pub folk-rock band, but maintaining the deep, strong sound that I would consider the hallmark of this band. This is one of the tracks I would consider truly excellent.

"Basarabii" follows up perfectly, folk and rock elements working together to produce music that just rolls into your ears. The chorus is definitive and punchy, but not 'catchy'. Its instrumental sections, which are among my favourites of the tracks on this album, deviate significantly without seeming at all out of place. Strong and lively, it's definitely a track to cheer up to without being in any way obnoxiously 'cheery'.

"Sorbul Apelor" is a solid effort with a lot of punch to it. The main pleasure of listening to it comes from the flow of the pace from slow to fast, up to the point of frenzy and back again into solemnity. Not as good as the previous two tracks, but maintains the all-important and distinctive mood of the album, which despite its many fantastic tracks I would maintain is its major selling point.

The fourth song, "Razboieni", is one of my favourites. The intro is strong and dark without being gloomy. This leads into a deep, moody song where voluptuous (although occasionally frenzied, frankly pace-improving) violin combines with coppery guitar to bring a dank, dripping but not melancholy mood that might be compared, for the more synesthetic, to strong, unadulturated coffee. Certainly one I would show to friends in an attempt to showcase the general vibe of the band.

"Maria", despite not having any major flaws, seems to me to be a lot less striking than the other songs on this album. Perhaps it's that the singer brings less of the mood of his strong, characteristic bass, or that the pace differences that liven up the other songs aren't so present. Perhaps it's just too short and chorus-dominated for me! Nonetheless, it's a good track - punchy and decided. Were I to rank the tracks on this album, i'm still not sure if it would sit just above or below the next track, "Morgana", which is much lighter in feel than any of the tracks so far. Despite not starting off on what I would consider a strong foot compared to the others, it manages to turn into an interesting instrumental romp around the a third of the way in with rollicking vocals throughout.

"Zalmoxe", unlike the previous two, really shows off the earthy, rolling tone of the vocalist. Instrumentally, it is less interesting, but the flowing violins and slow-tap drums are definitely a pleasant listen, and it has its place in the album. The gentle rise as the song moves forward is a really nice bit of progression and is really, I think, the whole point of this track. It's rather overshadowed by "Rovine", the final track, where we return to more ambient, non- instrumental noises as the intro. Being almost ten minutes longer than anything else on the album, it's a bit of a mini-epic, and really changes throughout. For the first third it's bombastic, spirited and to be honest a little hectic. It's evident that this is about a battle ((the 1395 Battle of Rovine) just from the sound. On my first listen, I was about to dismiss this track as too fast and noisy, leaning rather too heavily towards the 'metal' side of 'progressive folk metal' to fit the album, but the entire middle of the song turns out to be occupied by rollicking, involved and interesting instrumentation, morphing back towards the original sweeping bombasticism towards the end and ending the album on a note I would go so far as to call 'triumphant'.

In short, this gets a 4 not because although i'm aware that many don't find the mix of folk, prog and metal to be to their taste, I think this is worth a listen as a piece of music no matter what you're usually into. The distinctiveness of the mood and how it's carried over many variable and interesting instrumental dalliances make it, in my opinion, a significant acheivment.

FolkDragon | 4/5 |

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