Negură Bunget- OM (2006)
This is not a band people would expect to see on any list of mine but seriously one of the best Progressive/Folk/Atmospheric Black Metal bands to ever come into existence. OM is based on the principle of five and also tells the tale of the first human in Transylvanian mythology. The lyrics are in Romanian so I cannot understand them and I do not really desire to find translations. Knowing the ideas behind this was enough for me. The production here is top notch. Everything is equalized very well so it's clear and everything is mixed to let all the instruments have room. This is not over-compressed and you can actually hear the bass lines which are fantastic. All in all, very tasteful production of the highest quality. The drumming is superb and uses a hefty amount of cymbals and toms. There is still quite a good bit of straightforward blasting on the snare and bass drums (great snare sound by the way). The guitar players complement each other very well and play winding riffs that morph and change frequently. The guitar tones themselves are excellent, very rough sounding and saturated enough to give texture but not so much so that they aren't clear. There is not a single song on this album with verse/chorus structure either. All of the songs have very fluid pacing. There are frequent transitions both jarring and gradual. The band exhibits a mastery of building and releasing tension which adds a very epic and dramatic feel to the music. There's even ambient, keyboard driven sections and OM has the best synths I have ever heard -- they are truly beautiful. A lot of Romanian folk instruments are used (of the wind and percussion variety). I'm not sure what they all are, but they sound great and the band actually plays them...they're not synths! There is a very strong jazz feel to many parts of this album, too. This along with the unconventional song structures, unique instruments, and ambient sections makes OM very progressive.
Cel Din Urmă Vis
**You really need to listen to the album start to finish with no distractions to really understand how great this is. The full album is up on youtube.