Marțolea – Noaptea Dihãniilor

October 27, 2010 § Leave a comment

Full-length, Self-released, 2010

Martolea is a one-man folk/black metal band hailing from Romania, and its sole member is none other than Alin Drimus, mainly known for his work with acclaimed Prog/Black metal band Negura Bunget. Drimus handles all the duties on this album, from the songwriting/production to the performance, featuring instruments such as the wooden flute, the mouth harp, the kaval and a bucium.

Drimus plays a very well balanced blend of raw and addictive black metal with the perfect touch of folk music. The traditional Romanian instrumentation really makes the song feel that more folky, without having to compromise in any way. Yes, the recipe for most of folk black metal is quite simple, and for this reason it’s been done a little too much. However, the professionalism in terms of production, songwriting and musicianship of Drimus really makes this album that much more enjoyable.

The chants are really something else, something of a Gregorian chant,  sung with a low, brooding voice. It really makes a great change from the vocals we usually hear in this particular brand of folk black metal. At its core, this is a black metal album with folk elements, and it’s one of the reasons why this album just doesn’t fall short. Every track bears its own atmosphere, but the closer Zorii is really something else. While most of the other tracks on the album give off this vibe of wilderness and contact with nature, this track sees Drimus play a sort of melancholic, mid-paced black metal song. The wooden flute really comes out even more in this track, and it’s a very impressive way to close off the album. It definitely surprises me every time I hear it.

At first, Noaptea Dihãniilor might come off as a little uninspired or bland, for some reason. But after taking the time to get to know this album and its intricacies, it definitely grew on me and it has to be one of the best black metal albums I’ve heard this year, and probably the best folk black metal album in a while. To make a great album in this musical climate, there can’t be any holes in the cracks, any little mistakes or any less-than-stellar production. Martolea deliver on every level, and the result is a highly compelling, layered and enjoyable album.

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