Top-Notch Black/Folk... For Free!
Alin Drimus, the mastermind behind Marțolea, is surely among one of the most unstoppable creative forces in modern black/folk metal. Noaptea Dihăniilor is not only an excellent album, but it is also strikingly original and unique. What's even more impressive is that Alin Drimus handles everything on Noaptea Dihăniilor, from the compositions to the performances and production. You may recognize his name from his work with Negură Bunget, but I can assure you that Marțolea will become a frequent reference point in modern folk/black metal for two main reasons - it's generously offered for free from Marțolea's website and, more importantly, it's frickin' awesome! This album will take some time to sink in, but after many listens, I can assure you it was worth every single one. If you like black/folk metal, missing out on Noaptea Dihăniilor would be a huge mistake.
The music on Noaptea Dihăniilor is very unique. Although it's firmly rooted in black metal, there are plenty of folk influences and the vocals are almost entirely clean. The wooden flute is one of the leading instruments here, with other unconventional instrumentation used frequently as well. All in all, Alin Drimus creates his own boundaries with Marțolea, and I have an infinite respect for him and his creative approach. The atmosphere on Noaptea Dihăniilor is generally dark and bleak. Listening to this album in a forest (or other natural setting) is highly recommended from me. Alin Drimus plays every instrument on Noaptea Dihăniilor, and does a damn good job at that. He's mainly known for his work with woodwinds on Negură Bunget's Om, but his guitar talents are also especially notable. The vocals took some getting used to (for me, at least), but I couldn't imagine the album any other way now. Most of the album can be considered a "grower" - only a few parts grab you at first listen, but over time Noaptea Dihăniilor can prove to be a stellar release.
The production is raw, but leaves plenty of room for atmosphere and clarity. This is the perfect sound for any folk/black metal album.
I wasn't sure what to expect when approaching Noaptea Dihăniilor, but it turns out that my ears were graced with one of the most unique and enjoyable black/folk metal albums out there. Marțolea is an excellent one-man-act, and I have only positive things to say about this debut full-length album. It's available for free download from Marțolea's official website, even though, regardless of price tag, this is something worth taking a listen to. 4 stars are well deserved for this amazing outing from Alin Drimus. I strongly encourage any folk/black metal fan to check this one out.
01. Ceas Rău
04. Vine Muma Pădurii
05. Răsăritul Lunii
07. Hora Ielelor