Season of Mist
11 November 2011
by David Keevill
Why fanny about with introductions when Thy Catafalque certainly don’t? As the opener to their latest album, Rengeteg, erupts into a solid and rambunctious Mastodon-esque riff, it’s immediately revealing that this avant-garde Hungarian metal band aren’t willing to bear all the ceremony and baggage that’s often associated with more experimentally inclined bands. Instead what we get from Thy Catafalque is a fat, sixty minute slab of interesting, shifting and polygamous music that draws deeply, and to its eternal benefit, from an Eastern, proto-Russian sound.
In the cock-measuring stakes of grow or show, this album is most certainly the former. Firstly, not a word of this release is in English which will probably be the first reason that you fuck off. If you make it past this, then let’s hope you’re hunkered down for the minutes of sparkling instrumental pieces, the grandiose shimmer of strings, ethereal female vocals and occasional sputtered shard of quasi-electro fluff. Still here? Well thirdly, and finally, it’s dense enough to bludgeon the whole New Zealand front row to death with a single, earth-shaking swoop and contains enough complexity to reduce Mikael Åkerfeldt to the status of a tiny, titty-suckling bairn.
For all of you who may think that this sounds like a review of the latest Morrissey cum-shot, then believe that this is a metal record too. All the orchestral ‘extras’ that surround the real rocking stormers on this album swell the overall package (*titter*) into one of the most convincing and varied metal albums of late. Snappily named ‘Tar gallyak végül’, for example, is a monstrous sounding segment of hell that bristles even with the slightest of lyrical samples. Additionally, the absolute shred opener of five minute long ‘Minden test fű’ is brazen, blackened metal and is a suffocating album curtain-call; it’s made all the more prominent by including some of the record’s most varied vocals that flick between polemic rants, furious screams and unbearable lamentations.
Listen to ‘Fekete Mezők’ by Thy Catafalque:
The musicianship on offer throughout Rengeteg is made up of serious quantities of tinder that Thy Catafalque are willing to put a match to at any point, much to the listener’s benefit. The guitars are angsty and angular and explode when you think your feet are about to touch the floor, and the drumming takes lead from the realms of black metal.
Unsurprisingly, from all you’ve read here, Thy Catafalque have measured their quarry and constantly wait to erupt from the dark. This is only slightly offset by the synth tone that sometimes gets notched past “dark church dirge” onto “amusing bingo hall sing-along” and occasionally detracts from the overall feel of this release. All-in-all, it’s a minor, if annoying blemish on this highly evocative work. This isn’t ground-breaking music, but it’s interesting and exhilarating in all the right places. Bear with it, and it’ll yield huge rewards.
Sounds Like: Something utterly unpronounceable but undeniably hefty
Top Tracks: Tar gallyak végül, Minden test fű, that Hungarian one