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Catafalchi Del Cyber - Benediktus Und Vobis Quoque, Catafalcus Est Tu CD (album) cover


Catafalchi Del Cyber



3.71 | 17 ratings

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4 stars Critical disagreements about which subgenre would be most suited to them meant that Catafalchi Del Cyber (CDC) took their sweet time arriving at ProgArchives; it was a bit like waiting for Godot. CDC, a triumvirate that is in fact a quartet, are natives of the Italian region of Mantua and in fact the RPI team had first dibs on them. But they are a distinctly non- Italian band that seemed to have been kicked into the long grass and forgotten about for the best part of last year until the Neo Team rescued them. Unfortunately, having been removed from public sight for so long their debut album failed to make an impact on the 2011 top albums list.

CDC don't exactly pay homage to the rich musical heritage of their homeland although they do create a unique modern sound that's dominated by the typical Italian spirit of eclecticism. Sources close to the group have described them as anti-prog and they take the Dada movement as their model but their album is no musical representation of abstract art. Although a certain incongruity is the band's main dynamic force there is a surprising conformity to their music; while it's neither chaotic nor formless the band manage to create the illusion of spontaneous self-expression through the judicious use of cut and paste. CDC are arguably more Cafe Crimson than the Cabaret Voltaire. Among the unlikely musical combinations and whorish eclecticism of CDC the Mellotron is the one ever- present. This talismanic instrument quickly, and with no little gusto, emerges as the album's master mage, as on the opening track 'E Adesso Facciamo I Soldi' where it swaggers clumsily with the emancipated discipline of a bovine male lumbering through a crockery store.

CDC, these alumni of the absurd, also acknowledge their Catholic heritage (although musically CDC are catholic with a small 'c') and they have an interest in World War II. Whether they see mystic monks or self-harming sociopaths, the album artwork - Padre Pio holding a ghetto-blaster aloft in his stigmata palms while towering over the scene of a military parade - perhaps points to the band's intention to undermine the foundations of political, social and spiritual slavery. German flags and abstracts of Romish clergy in grotesque parrot-billed masks reinforce the cardboard cutout absurdity of the unreconstructed morons of a fascist regime. The Marinettian flourishes are also evident within the music and 'Benediktus' could be symbolic of the fall of fascism and the end of Papal Rome. It starts off with a sound sample possibly taken from a religious rally and develops into a strange two-part space canticle. The overall effect is like a demoniacal bossa nova of hysterical howls with the Weird Sisters' feline familiars fighting like cat and dog.

The synthesizer effect on 'Dark Deglutation' sounds like a supernatural cocktail of thick curling incense and squirting gyzym, then the Mellotron opens up like the relaxed knees of a pro who's fallen off the reform wagon. For a band that nurses a Dada ambition this track would seem to be propelled by the same impulse of Duchampian heads giving head that are found inside the album's gatefold. The emotional disturbance of this track is contrasted by the beautiful and calm 'Ocean' where a womb of warm wet circles gradually ripple and swell until - boom! - the guitar roars high above the Mellotron deep water like the girdler of Earth emerging from a drug-induced slumber. Worthy of mention is that CDC have gone to the trouble of enlisting help with translations and pronunciation for the English-language vocals; while the lyrics display none of the band's anarchic humour the titles reveal their predilection for neologisms and secret codes.

Whether Catafalchi Del Cyber are anti-prog, Neo-prog, Neo-Dada, or just plain and simply barking, their debut album is what the kestrel-drinking, devil-dug owning bampots in my neck of the woods call a 24-carat belter. The album breathes new life into progressive rock and despite the Dada pretensions it's not an album for culture-vultures. I'm eagerly anticipating the follow-up but because of the drummer's reported juridical difficulties the release of the band's second album will be delayed. CDC waited a while to be added to the database but the shoe is ironically on the other foot now as it's the fans who will have to be patient.

4.5 stars really.

seventhsojourn | 4/5 |


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