Marțolea is the personal band of Alin Drimuş from Romania, who has also played Pan pipes and frula for Negură Bunget’s live gigs and contributed with pipe parts to “OM” album. He started this band in 2008 and after his amazing EP “Gâlmele Întunericului” in 2009, he composed his first full-length album “Noaptea Dihăniilor”, which was available for download in his site from 2010. Luckily in August 2011 it was released as a digipak via the band’s independent label Dedesubtul Rarăului Întunecat.
In his debut EP Alin played black metal with many folk Romanian instruments, but without any brutal vocals! So compared to the EP, the addition of black metal vocals is the only major change I see in “Noaptea Dihăniilor”. All elements I loved in “Gâlmele Întunericului” are still here and in larger quantities! Marțolea offer us 10 songs of unique Carpathian folk black metal. The production is more powerful this time and the sound improved. Especially the guitars sound much more real and “in the front” than in the first work. Alin Drimuş uses a large variety of traditional Carpathian instruments, including bucium, kaval, mouth harp, wooden pipes and ocarina. Their unusual sounds give Marțolea such a distinctive identity! The only thing I still see that needs improvement in their music, is the deep clean male (almost recitations) vocals. At least the black metal vocals are a pleasant addition, but I think they still need some work, in order to fit more in their music. I am writing this because I prefer the instrumental parts of the band, where traditional instruments and black metal orchestrations compose some of the best folk metal soundscapes I have ever listened to! They are so far from the typical polished folk metal flutes and pipes; they sound so real, so natural, like they are actually played by elder village musicians and shepherds forgotten back in time… I hope in the next works vocals become an inseparable part of their music. Their lyrics are of course in their native language, related to the dark side of the Romanian folklore in the Northern Carpathians and Bucovina.
If you are into underground folk black metal, Marțolea is a band I strongly recommend. The unusual traditional instruments and Carpathian folk tunes are their trademark. “Noaptea Dihăniilor” digipak comes in a simple back package, but with beautiful cover art, illustrated by Alin Drimuş. It has no booklet, but all lyrics are there, in the inner page. I believe they deserve your time, at least you can check their music in the links below.