Timișoara, Timiș, Romania
- Ageru Pământului (2003 – present)
- Black Pharmakeya Pepóromenée (1994 – 1995)
- Corb (2009 – 2010)
- Fulmineos (2010 – present)
- Gădineț (2009 – present)
Negură Bunget is (or was; the status of the band is currently unclear) a folk-influenced atmospheric black metal band from Timișoara, Romania. The band was formed in early 1995 by Hupogrammos (guitars, vocals, keyboards) and Negru (drums; R.I.P. March 21, 2017). The duo’s first demo, From Transilvanian Forests, was recorded at Magic Sound Studio in Bucharest, November 1995, and released at the end of the same year, under the band’s original name, Wiccan Rede (it has since been re-released under the band's new name; page at From Transilvanian Forests). The release of this demo was preceded by the band’s first live performance in Buzau (June 1995), and was then followed by concerts all around Romania.
Once their conceptual perspective shifted towards the exploration of the universe and spirituality of their ancestors, the band’s name changed to Negură Bunget. The new approach became clearly evident on the debut album, Zîrnindu-să (Romanian for Getting Weak), released by the newly founded Romanian label Bestial Records (late 1996).
December 1998 brought Negură Bunget’s second release, Sala Molksa (named for the place Dacian knights went after death), a mini-album also released by Bestial Records. Sala Molksa introduced the band’s third official member, Spurcatu, on guitars/bass. The 4 tracks unveil a much more straight-forward sound, complex, aggressive, atmospheric, fast - the music of Transilvanian spirituality. The band played in July 1999 at the Open Hell Festival in Volyne (Czech Republic).
Măiastru sfetnic (Romanian for Masterful Guide) is the third opus of Negură Bunget, widely heralded as their creative and commercial breakthrough. The album was released by Bestial Records in 1999 in a special digipak format (designed and handmade by Negură Bunget). More than 56 minutes, yet only 6 epic tracks, united in haunts, evilness, descent, atmospheres, speed and aggression, displaying the band’s vision on how a black metal-based world should have looked like. Măiastru sfetnic also brought the band a 3-album contract with Italian label code666 Records. A new track was recorded specially for code666’s compilation Better Undead Than Alive, and the band’s first video was shot for the same track ("Văzduh", meaning "Air") in the mountains of Transilvania.
The 'n crugu bradului (Romanian for Through the Depths of the Fir Tree Heights) album, the first one to be released by code666 Records (later re-released as a double-LP set by Those Opposed Records), can be seen as a spiritual endeavor though the essences of the Transilvanian traditional spirituality. The album contains just 4 tracks, symbolizing the evolution of a year’s 4 seasons, yet 54 minutes of conceptual black metal. The album was released in February 2003, and got positive reviews all over the media, making the band better known on the international scene.
In April/March 2004 Negură Bunget embarked on its first European tour, with gigs in Portugal, Germany, Belgium, Slovakia and Hungary. In the following summer the band also played at Under The Black Sun Festival in Germany and on Wanted Festival in Hungary. Finally, a few gigs in Romania ended the year.
2005 saw the release of the limited edition Inarborat kosmos (Romanian for Arboreal Cosmos) MCD (later re-released as a 12" vinyl EP by Finnish label Blood Music). With lyrics in English, the 4-track EP offers an apparently traditional black metal, but turned complex by intricate and slightly chaotic guitar sounds, which have by now become a landmark of the band’s constant quest for the proper rendition of Transilvanian spirituality. The CD also contains a multimedia section with 2 live recordings. A second European Tour followed in October-November 2005, in anticipation of the following album, Om. 23 gigs all over Europe showed the band's live potential is no lesser than its power in the studio.
Om was finally released by code666 Records in November 2006 in a special double digipak edition featuring a CD and a full DVD (vinyl pressings have been made once by Enucleation Records, with a bonus track "Văzduh" but without significant remastering to the album, and on three separate occasions by Blood Music, remastered but without the bonus track). With Om, Negură Bunget proposes once again a new complete opus, focused around the symbolism and signification of one unitary concept. Romanian language offers a vast and complex signification: Om means Man (the human being), but Om is also the main contemplative state for elevation in traditional esotericism (for instance, it is a mantra in Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, and several other spiritual traditions, written as ॐ in Devanagari script).
A new extended European tour took place in April/May 2007, with the band performing more than 40 concerts throughout the Europe. Another tour was done at the end of 2007, focused more on Netherlands and Germany. In October 2007 Negură Bunget signed a contract with German label Lupus Lounge / Prophecy Productions followed by the release in 2008 of the early Negură Bunget albums on a special digipak edition. A live DVD was also recorded at the beginning of 2008; it was ultimately released on DVD and 2CD by Prophecy Productions as Focul viu (Romanian for Living Fire) on March 25, 2011.
The begging of 2008 marked yet another European tour for Negură Bunget, this time along The Vision Bleak and Farsot. This was followed by a Romanian tour in April. In the summer of 2008 Negură Bunget played some of the most important metal festivals: Wacken Open Air and Summerbreeze, and also Artmania Festival, Kaltenbach Open Air, Rockmania Festival, Paalisare Rock Fest. Another extended European Tour was completed in October/November 2008.
The spring of 2009 bought new challenges for the Negură Bunget. Founding member Hupogrammos and longtime member Sol Faur left the band, and a new line-up was formed, featuring Corb on guitars and vocals and Spin on guitars. The first gigs in the new line-up followed soon after, including Graspop Metal Meeting, MetalCamp, Brutal Assault Festival, Hole in the Sky Festival.
The work on Măiestrit (Romanian for Masterly), a re-interpretation of the 2000 Negură Bunget album Măiastru sfetnic, was finalized before the end of 2009, and the album was released in March 2010 by Prophecy Productions as the last studio material of the old line-up (though by release date, the final album to contain performances by Sol Faur and Hupogrammos was 2011's Focol viu, a live album recorded in early 2008).
Soon after, the band started work on a new album, entitled Vîrstele pămîntului, which was completed in seclusion in the wilderness of the mountains. Vîrstele pămîntului (Ages of the Land/Earth) is, as the title suggests, an album about ages, about places of the earth and places of the spirit, about bounds transcending worlds. It’s an album about embracing your destiny, about choosing and consciously assuming a way of life. The album was released by code666 Records in March 2010, in a special handmade woodbox edition, and immediately got some amazing review across the media. A full European Tour entitled Spirit of the Land followed in March/April/May 2010, with almost 50 shows across Europe presenting the new material.
2010 was the most intense year in the history of Negură Bunget. Two albums released, followed by a long European tour as headliners (Spirit of the Land Tour), another tour in autumn (Black Trolls Over Europe - 10 dates), some festivals in between (including Hellfest) and a lot of work, all make this year special and unforgettable. Figures for 2010: 72 gigs played, 2 European Tours as headliners, more than 50.000 km of driving on our van, 66 answered interviews, more than 10.000 CDs sold.
2011 marked the 15-year anniversary of Negură Bunget, so all the band activities celebrated this anniversary. April brought the releases of the live DVD Focul viu (Living Fire) and the MCD Poartă de dincolo (The Gate Beyond) symbolically marking the end of the 10 years cooperation with Code666 Records. April also meant a tour along Norwegian legends Enslaved. Some summer festivals were played - Exit and Party San. The second part of 2011 saw the band on the Transilvanian Legacy Tour, traveling through Europe and Romania, playing more than 35 dates. In 2011 Negură Bunget started developing its most ambitious project, The Transilvanian Trilogy, a complex musical and visual trilogy.
2012 was another busy year for the band. March brought Negură Bunget to Paganfest Europe 2012 on a amazing line-up alongside Eluveitie, Primordial, Heidevolk, and Solstafir. April/May was time for the very first US and Canadian tour - 40 dates were set for this amazing endeavor Transilvanian Legacy US. Some summer festivals followed. The first part of the visual & musical trilogy was developed and a complex production and recording process started. Some media recognition - the band was voted Best Romanian Metal band in 2012 by www.metalhead.ro, Romanian leading metal Portal, and Metal Artist of 2012 by www.czb.ro.
2013 again started intensely, with a complete reset of the band studio and live concept, meant to open brand-new paths for Negură Bunget. The EP Gînd a-prins (literally meaning something like Caught in Thought or Lost in Thought, though the album has a double meaning, as aprins means inflamed or, metaphorically, intense, so the album title also means Intense Thought) was completed in the first part of the year, as an introduction for the Tău album (Romanian for Swamp; ultimately released in 2015; the first album of the planned Transilvanian Trilogy). The band presented this evolution live on the Tău tour, again traveling throughout all Europe.
The band's final album is 2016's Zi (Romanian for Day; the second album of the planned Transilvanian Trilogy). Tragedy struck unexpectedly in late March 2017 when drummer and co-founding member Negru (real name Gabriel Mafa) died of a heart attack, leaving the band without any founding members and without its driving creative force. All scheduled shows were immediately cancelled and the future of the band remains unclear, even as of this writing (January 2018). The band's official site now appears to have expired, and the band's Facebook, Twitter, and other sites have not been updated since before Negru's death. The surviving members of the band's last known lineup do not appear to have made any comments on the band's status, though his erstwhile bandmates Hupogrammos and Sol Faur posted a tribute on their band Dordeduh's official Facebook site. It is also unclear whether any further studio material since Zi had been recorded; if so, whether it was in a finished state at the time of Negru's death; and if it was unfinished, whether the surviving band members intend to complete it, release it in its unfinished state, or leave it unreleased.
News of Negru's death was greeted with an outpouring of grief amongst fans of extreme and progressive metal worldwide and across the Internet, and even if the band never releases or performs any further material, it is certainly assured a lasting legacy and influence on the black and progressive metal genres.
The band explains: "A powerful dark presence of an intense nature, connected with the local nature and with its spirit, ascending and descending, shaping through the clouds of the present. You can sometimes feel it is there, but you cannot grab it. Only your clean mind and soul can came close of its presence. From the very beginning we shaped ourselves into relating with it, so that is now part of us. That’s how we understand Negură Bunget. Negură Bunget is a black fog coming from a deep dark dense forest. The name tries to picture somehow the kind of atmosphere, both musical and spiritual we’d want to create through our music. It has also a symbolical nature, standing for the inexpressible parts of our ideology. The two words are also from the Tracic substrate of the Romanian language (the oldest one, containing about 90 words) as the interest for our local history and spirituality is something of crucial importance and meanings for us as a band."
Last known lineup:
Gabriel Mafa / Negru - drums, percussion, dulcimer, tulnic, toacă, xylophone, horns (1995-2017)
Tibor Kati - vocals, guitars, keyboards, programming (2013-2017)
Adrian "DQ" Neagoe - guitars, vocals, keyboards (2013-2017)
Petrică Ionuțescu - pipes, horns, duduk, nai, kaval, tulnic, traditional instruments (2013-2017)
Ovidiu Corodan - bass (2013-2017)
Daniel Dorobanțu - visual design (2013-2017)
Hupogrammos (real name Edmond Karban; sometimes credited as Hupogrammos Disciple's or Hupogrammos Disciple) - vocals, guitars, keyboards, folk instruments (1995-2009) (Makrothumia, Dordeduh)
Sol Faur (Cristian Popescu; sometimes credited as Spurcatu) - guitars, bass (1997-2005, 2006-2009) (Dordeduh)
Gădineț - bass (2009-2013)
Inia Dinia - keyboards (2005-2013) (Argus Megere)
Fulmineos - vocals, guitar (2010-2013) (Argus Megere, Kultika, Fogland, Ekasia, Ordinul Negru, Nocturnal Invocation, Cursed Cemetary, Karpates Omos, Apollinic Rites, Ultima Candela)
Urzit - guitar (2010-2013)
aGer (Ageru Pamintului) - percussion, xylophone, pipes, vocals (2003-2012)
Aivazz Valah Disciple - keyboards (1995)
Spin - guitars (2009-2010)
Corb - vocals, guitars, dulcimer (2009-2010)
Chakravartin - vocals (2012-2013) (MG42, Clitgore, DinUmbră, Kistvaen, Sincarnate)
Vartan Garabedian - percussion, vocals (2013-2016) (Grimegod)
Mihai Neagoe - sound design (2013-2016)
Ageru Pământului - vocals, flute, kaval, nai, tulnic, percussion, xylophone (2003-2009) (Argus Megere, Fogland, Argus, Cursed Cemetery)
Ursu (aka Ermit) - bass (1997-2007), also session (studio) bass on 'n crugu bradului and Om (Malpraxis)
Daniel Dorobanțu - keyboards (1997-1998) (Thy Veils)
Vampir (Naval) - keyboards (1996-1997, 1998-2005), bass (1997-1998)
Freak (Teodor Alexuta) - percussion (2003) (Vokodlok)
Trunks - bass (eyeSEEred)
Andrei Popa - bass, guitars (2005, 2016) (Illuminati, Cyborg (live), My Shadow)
Diana Karban - keyboards (Makrothumia)
Gabi Karban - keyboards (1996-2006), live bass (2007)
Necuratul - percussion (2000-2003)
Iedera - keyboards (2005-2006)
Alin Drimuș - flute, nai (2006) (Marțolea)
Arioch - bass (2007-2009) (Odem Arcarum, Secrets of the Moon, The Ruins of Beverast (live), Abztract Fortune, Svarrogh (live), Sael, Reign of Decay, Dordeduh (live))
Andri Björn Birgisson - guitars (US/Mexico tour, 2015) (Auðn, Dynfari)
Cosmin Harbei - guitars, dulcimer (European tour, 2015)
Jóhann Örn - guitars, vocals (US/Mexico tour, 2015) (Dynfari, Sacrilege)
Daath Yug - tulnic, kaval (European tour, 2015)
Luci Chîrlan - vocals, flute, kaval, nai, tulnic, toacă, live theremin (European tour, 2015)
Gădineț - bass, flute (European tour, 2016) (Din Brad)
Sergiu Istudor - guitars (European tour, 2016)
Olivian Mihalcea - guitars, flute (European tour, 2016)
Alexandru Ardelean - guitars (North European tour, 2017)
Traumata - guitars (2016-2017)
Discography: (includes some re-releases, but not all; multiple releases from same year may not be in exact order of release date)
From Transilvanian Forest (demo) - self-released, originally under the Wiccan Rede name (page: From Transilvanian Forests), 1995
Zîrnindu-să (cassette) - Bestial Records, 1997
Zîrnindu-să (CD) - Breath of Night Records, 1998
Sala Molksa (MCD) - Bestial Records, 1998
Măiastru sfetnic (handmade digipak) - Bestial Records, 2000
'n crugu bradului (handmade digibox) - Code666 Records, 2003
Scream of the Eastern Lands (split with Besatt, Dub Buk, Inferno, Immortal Hammer, and Verdeleth)
Inarborat kosmos (digi MCD) - Code666 Records, 2005
CD BOX - re-edition of the first 3 CD’s - Negura MUSIC, 2005
Om (CD/DVD, double digipak) - Code666 Records, 2006
From Transilvanian Forest (digipak, re-release, box, adding two previously unreleased songs) - Lupus Lounge/Prophecy Productions, 2008
Zîrnindu-să (double digipak, re-release, box) - Lupus Lounge/Prophecy Productions, 2008
Sala Molksa (double digipak, re-release, box) - Lupus Lounge/Prophecy Productions, 2008
Măiastru sfetnic (digipak, re-release, box) - Lupus Lounge/Prophecy Productions, 2008
Om (double vinyl with bonus track) - Enucleation Records, 2008
'n crugu bradului (single vinyl) - Marish Records, 2009
'n crugu bradului (double vinyl) - Those Opposed Records, 2009
Măiestrit (digipak, artbook) - Lupus Lounge/Prophecy Productions, 2010
Vîrstele pămîntului (digipak, handmade woodbox) - Code666 Records, 2010
Poartă de dincolo (digi MCD) - Aural Music/Code666 Records, 2011
Focul viu - Live DVD (DVD, 2CD) - Lupus Lounge/Prophecy Productions, 2011
Gînd a-prins (7" vinyl single) - Prophecy Productions, 2013
Om (double vinyl, triple gatefold sleeve, remastered) - Blood Music, 2014 (also reprinted as a normal gatefold sleeve in 2015 and 2016)
Tău - Lupus Lounge, 2015
Om/Inaborat kosmos (remastered, 2CD) - code666 Records, 2016
Zi - Lupus Lounge, 2016
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