Review: THY CATAFALQUE “Naiv” [Season of Mist]

Review: THY CATAFALQUE “Naiv” [Season of Mist]

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Thy Catafalque is one of the bands on extreme avant-garde scene, which needs no introduction. Tamás Kátai’s Hungarian creation Thy Catafalque survived not only a reduction to one-man band, but drastic stylistic changes as well. The band started to play more traditional black metal, but on their third release “Tũnõ idõ Tárlat” the band revised the philosophy and started to move to absolutely unique direction, researching the possibilities of avant-garde music, filled with ethnic elements. Despite the fact, that Tamás 12 years lives in Scotland, his Hungarian roots are very vividly presented in the music of the band.

Thy Catafalque every two years present the new record, and there’s never disappointment, every new album is full of surprises. The diversity and harmonic richness of music captures the imagination. Every song isn’t similar to another, but there’s no cacophony, the album is structurally coherent and unified. The decision to switch entirely to native language was profitable, Central European folklore make the music of Thy Catafalque even more unique. Tamás is a multi-instrumentalist, but he invites a bunch of various musicians on every record, so “Naiv” isn’t an exception. Here is saxophone, trombone, flute, oub etc. And with such a variety “Naiv” is even more expressive and vibrant, the music is very intellectual and arty.

The songs are based on metal foundation, though the electronic influence is quite notable, for example, on song “Embersóylom”. The album starts actively with strong classical folk metal vibes, but the change of mood is presented from the beginning, and the changes are performed smoothly and delicately. The electronic elements are strongly audible in the song “Embersóylom” and “A Bolyongás Ideje”. The ethnic elements are more powerful in songs with female vocals from Martina Veronika Horváth. She uses various vocal technics, characteristic to folk music, and her multi-layered singing lines are fascinating. Tamás himself rarely sings, only on a couple of songs, and only in extreme manner, but on the last song “Szélvész” (the most melodic piece of the album) the guest singer Gyula Vasvári gave pretty emotional and intense performance.

All three instrumental songs are diverse. “Tsitsushka” has very expressive bass-guitar and brass instruments (saxophone and trombone). “Számtalan Színek” is filled with epic symphonic mood and beautiful accompaniment of string instruments (cello, viola, violin). “Kék Madár (Négy Kép)” is ornated with flute lines, and with the rhythmical intensity the flute also speeds up. The longest and heaviest song “Vetõ” with beautiful blues solos (which lasts more than eight minutes) isn’t annoying for its longevity, the mood and atmosphere of the song changes a few times.

For those who understand Hungarian language can enjoy nature-inspired lyrics (but for those who not, there exist English translations). Even the cover art keeps up with the concept of minimalism, decorated with ethnic symbols. Despite the variability of styles, a lot of invited musicians and skillful technical ability, Thy Catafalque don’t complicate their music with too futuristic or schizoid elements. In a way “Naiv” is that kind of avant-garde, which isn’t too unreal to comprehend, so this music isn’t difficult to listen.

Thy Catafalue compare their music with Naïve painters (and here is why the album is called so), without formal education there is pureness and childlike approach. There are no strict rules in composing songs or playing musical instruments, it’s more like individual (and professional as well) instinct, which pushes Thy Catafalque to explore the depths of all the possibilities of musical art. So, the experimental metal label Season of Mist got one more masterpiece in their collection.

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Ilona Adhlactha

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