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Thy Catafalque - Róka Hasa Rádió CD (album) cover


Thy Catafalque


Experimental/Post Metal

3.87 | 62 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

5 stars Ok, wow.

It's been a while since something, musically speaking, caught me by surprise in such ways that I felt compelled to announce it in such ways. So here I go, let me try to translate in a few paragraphs the magnificence of this work.

The band's style is defined as "Avant-garde metal" and really, there's no other way to put it. Extreme metal, carefully arranged melodies, electronic/industrial touches, folk-ish passages, all kinds of vocals, all of them of great performance quality, this album has it all, mixed and diluted in ethereal ways to create a certainly corporeal piece of music that's ready to rock the socks off of anyone who's looking to be blown away.

Let's vivisect this work and separate it's parts in a detailed manner.

When you put the album in whatever means you have to reproduce it, you'll find yourself in the face of an ambient intro, which will expand and expand until it explodes into metal, right in your face. The ambiance will remain and take an important place in the whole album albeit interrupted sporadically. Keyboards are half of what makes this such an unique piece, layers and layers of different melodies and tones, some just meant to be a background sound to give certain songs a darker or more mysterious feeling, extraterrestrial at times, other being crucial part of central melodies, the synthetic sounds give this album a futuristic, if not technological feeling once in a while, the rest of the time sounding even shy and melancholic.

The guitars are heavily distorted, something that rarely goes along with such predominant keyboard work (see: most myspace black ambient bands), but this concert of heavy chainsaws blends in perfectly in the mix, being loud enough but not quite occupying the spotlight, even during the most extreme parts. As of the melodies, we've got practically anything, from doom-ish chugs and extended riffs to fast and furious black metal-ish powerchords and tremolos (from time to time this reminds me of Negura Bunget, if that's any encouragement for you). And spreade all across the album you will find clean passages filled of an almost nostalgic nature, highly technical and experimental melodies interlaced in defying ways, folky, even dancey moments and enough dissonance to make any Blut Aus Nord fan become interested.

It is worth mentioning that folk, or rather, folk-like melodies are clearly the inspiration for some of the main melodies in songs like Köd Utánam and Űrhajók Makón, which I feel gives the whole album a more deep meaning and artistic target, even though the lyrical themes already seem to be quite profound, from what I gather, since they, supposedly, focus in themes like "time and space". Go figure.

Vocals. Now, this element is as special as it gets. First off all songs are sung in their native Hungarian, which, or so I feel, is one of the most intriguing European languages. That makes it a pleasure for me to hear clean male and very beautiful female vocals, all of them very well arranged, very elegant and pleasant. The growling is not particularly unique but does set a great mood and goes along with the music nicely. The pitch reminds me of Garm in Nattens Madrigal, but a bit less guttural.

Drum and bass are, and I don't think many people will be surprised, the least outstanding elements of this piece, nonetheless, they do find their place to shine, and oh man do they shine. Drums especially. While programmed, you can tell the programmer has a lot of talent and he's not just an empty-headed bastbeat-machine like most black metal these days (not to say this is black metal, most of the extreme parts do resemble it a lot). There's a passage in the first song, some time after 7:15, in which the drums take a central part, backed up by keyboards and eerie sounds, it maintains a rather jazzy rhythm for some minute and a half, and that's just some part in the first (and second longest) song in the album. Which, by the way, is an immediate highlight.

Apart from these elements, there's the use of violins and similar instruments in certain key parts, these parts tend to aim for a folkish spirit and melodies. You could also listen to other stuff like flutes and instruments I cannot name. But then again some of those might very well be the result of the clever use of keyboards. The use of samples from dialogues or origin unknown is also a practice that I appreciate when not overdone, and that's what I also found in this album. Just a little mention.

How can I close this review? This album is so vast it's hard to enclose it in a few paragraphs. If you like experimental, avant-garde, unique, fresh and eclectic (that is the key word here, perhaps) metal (or music in general), then you should really consider giving this album a listen or two. But beware, this is one of those albums that will either be idolized or ignored, treated as the new edge of experimental music or just a bunch of guys playing random shit. This is an album that demands more than just one or two spins in order to make his point valid. But really, go listen to this already.

Originally written for the paper version of the Terror Cult Zine by Avestriel.

dirk66 | 5/5 |


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