Some black metal musicians have a tremendous love for folk music, to a degree where they start side projects. Din Brad, in english meaning “from the fir tree”, is such a one, given birth by Negru, usually behind the drums and the only original member left in Negură Bunget, supported by the keyboardist from the same band, Inia Dinia, here also providing vocals. Within the realms of Din Brad (RO) they wander further into the mourn and yearn swirling through the Romanian folk music, focusing towards its core, taking help from a bunch of traditional guest musicians and singers. “Dor” is their debut album, consisting of eleven songs, some of them recordings of authentic folk songs in their original environment, some are more personal interpretations captured in studio.
In a more common tongue, the first track on “Dor” would be called “Bitter”, but now it is known as “Amar”. No matter language it opens the album in a truly capturing way, a haunting female voice backed up by ceremonial drums, a thick synth pad and some panpipe. It is simple, yet very effective in dragging me in among ancient paths and crooked alleyways. The meaning of the words might be hidden in mystery to me, but the bound to something universal and spiritual soon rhymes in my blood. Next song, “Îmbrăţişat De Dor”, keeps the same pace, weaving the enchantment stronger. When it passes over into “Poarce’n Suflet Greu Păcatu”, the first traditional song, performed acapella by a male singer, the transition is sudden, but interesting. It comes across as an even more pure version of the feelings found in the earlier songs. Following “Doină”, the name for a certain kind of free-rhythm improvisational Romanian folk song, picks up the earlier thread with greater arrangements. Female tunes dives through soft instruments, sometimes tweedling, the drums indeed left out, but creating a sphere of almost unbearable emotion. Then follows “Cîntecul Cununei”, another shift back to the authentic style, this time performed by a woman, capturing me with layers from a hard life in her voice. The title track “Dor” is a piece driven by drums and chanting, powerful force passing over into eluding mystery. In “Of, Of, Viaţă” it is back to authentic once more, but it pulls me away from this mysterious place I want to explore further. The aching panpipe notes on “Durere” soon lets me forget the slight itch, but it comes back with “Foaie Verde, Odolean”, luckily soon passing over into the dreamy “Cine Iubeşte Şi Lasă”, giving voice to someone left behind, forgotten. The end is suitable, found in the roots to Din Brad’s music, as “Bradule, Brăduţule” is as traditional and unadorned as can be.
“Dor” is without doubt and album with strong vision, trying to weave together two pictures of what Romanian folk music was, is and can be. The problem is that they are so different, the authentic songs sometimes appear to be sketches stuck in between. They are not without beauty, or anything such, they just seem too far apart from the more evolved arrangements to make the album a smooth entity to listen to. Still, it is some terms a success, since every song harbours the same feeling of harshness and stern will, without doubt resting deep within the spirit of the Romanian people. No translation is needed to make clear that this is songs about love, pain and all tastes of bittersweet found in life. The word “Dor” itself means “longing”, something this album is full of in a way that cuts deeply into the bones.
Written by: Navdi
Label: Auerbach Tonträger (DE) / Format: CD / Cat. #: AB 051
02 Îmbrăţişat De Dor
03 Poarce’n Suflet Greu Păcatu
05 Cîntecul Cununei
07 Of, Of, Viaţă
09 Foaie Verde, Odolean
10 Cine Iubeşte Şi Lasă
11 Bradule, Brăduţule