Sometimes there are bands that I can tell I will like just from the first tunes I listen from them. This definitely happened with this new underground one-man band from Romania. So, after getting this self-released EP in my hands I was glad to see that the first impression was correct.
Marțolea is the personal project of Alin Drimus, who also contributed pipe parts in Negura Bunget’s masterpiece “OM”. His music is pagan folk black metal, but not the typical one… First of all, in this album there is no black metal singing at all and there are only few very deep clean male vocals. So, it’s almost an instrumental album. The guitars on the other hand have the characteristic sound of pagan melodic black metal with frozen melancholic melodies coming out right from the Carpathian forests. Marțolea got their name from a demonic entity in Romanian mythology. Each of the five songs in “Gâlmele Întunericului” refers to a different evil night creature of the local folklore that lurks in the deep forests of Bucovina (region on the northeastern Carpathian Mountains).
What is very different and special in this work is the use of traditional Romanian acoustic instruments, most of them very rare. Pipes (fluier), caval, bucium and mouth-harp (dramba) are all used by shepherds in different Romanian places and isolated villages. Marțolea recorded all of them in the Carpathian Mountains, in order to sound authentic and as natural as possible. These instruments are really unique having a very sorrowful sound, being haunted by time! Some of them sound like the howling of the wind especially on the second song “Muma Pădurii” (I’ve never listened to such a creepy instrument before!!). Alin has done an excellent work in the combination of his black metal riffing with these instruments, which actually have the leading role in the melodies. Speaking about melodies, Marțolea have composed five brilliant songs with really unusual and enchanting folk melodies; a soundtrack for the Carpathian forests’ folklore life. Since the end and the beginning of each track are not very clear, the whole album sounds like a big song that, unluckily, lasts only for 19 minutes. The production isn’t the best (after all it’s an underground release) but it’s the perfect for this music.
I really would like to listen more stuff from this great band and I hope they will release something more complete in the future. For me another great pagan metal band from Romania (after Negura Bunget and Bucovina) has just arrived. I just hope they will stay. If you are interested in this unique folk metal sound just visit their myspace page to listen to all 5 songs of their amazing EP.
Originally published on HeavyMetalCosmos