Thy Catafalque
Tuno Ido Tarlat


4.0
excellent

Review

by ExcentrifugalForz USER (24 Reviews)
June 30th, 2014 | 19 replies


Release Date: 2004 | Tracklist

Review Summary: So close to being the Shape of Black Metal to Come.

Beginning a very exclusive club in ‘59 Ornette Coleman released a revolutionary album and claimed The Shape of Jazz to Come. 1998 saw Refused follow suit and seize the Shape of Punk to Come. Thy Catafalque’s album released in 2004, except for a few missteps, could have been the next record to hold that title. The two multi talented band members along with two invited guests clutch onto handfuls of greatness here and are able to successfully mix black metal with prog, world music, mountain folk and a little psychedelia.

The sound of wind, the type of wind that is followed by dark, grey rainclouds is the first thing you notice as the album starts. This reference sound is used throughout the album and is effective in shaping the overall tone. The opening track, Csillagkohó only hints at what is to come. This is the most standard black metal track to be found here with double bass kicks, ripping guitar, screaming vocals but it also shows hints of the particularly eerie use of keys and synths as background ambiance that this record is full of. Does the music convey the the narrative of a protagonist running down a path in a haunted forest? Who knows since the lyrics are in Hungarian but if I had to lay money down that would be my guess.

Neath Waters (Minden V*zbe Mártott Test), the second track here which henceforth should only be referred to as the “moneymaker” is really the whole reason for this album to even exist. The moneymaker is an 18 minute long thesis on the alchemy required to successfully fuze black metal with other genres. Put together like an orchestral piece, this track is separated into three movements that each have their own crescendos and musical conflicts. One of the guests on the album, Nikoletta Gezanits, really stands out on this track. She has the voice of a lonely wanderer, the soothing sound of melancholy. Her hypnotic vocals throughout the album but especially here work as a nice counterpoint to the lead singers harsher screams.

The songs first movement begins with a stock drum beat and different electronic melodies floating around upon each other. When Nikoletta begins singing her vocal tones are perfectly mirrored by a violin creating incredible effective moodiness. When the bass finally charges in and the lead singer appears, no such violin work can be found but the guitar work keeps things crashing and uptempo.

Mostly instrumental, movement number two begins with alluring yet simple grand piano scales. The album’s other guest, violinist Anita B*ró, really steals the spotlight when she comes in to shift the direction of song. Soon aided by the deep pounding of drums and wailing synthesizers the winds that began the album are cranked up to thunderstorm heights and terrorize the poor Hungarian mountaintops.

Part three is life after the storm and the definitive nod to the early days of progging. For awhile this section is content with mostly just synth until keys and drums arrive to kick it into gear till the 18th minute ticks by.

That is followed by Bolygó, bolyongó, which starts off head scratchingly similar to Pink Floyd’s Time before an almost techno drum beat kicks in and the band proceeds to play a hollow sounding track that, while well done, strays too far from the band’s metal roots. About half way through after an intriguing middle eastern interlude the song kicks back in but this time with a better drum beat and now including the driving bottom end sound it lacked before. An interesting song concept and effective enough that you’ll forgive the band for the first half of the song. Like a lot of the tracks on here the vocals are very sparse and down in the mix so they don’t obviously stand out.

More wind.

More instrumental.

It’s not until Héja-Nász Az Avaron you realize what you’ve been missing. Crunchy riffs. They aren’t complicated or fast just big, beefy and available in spades. If that doesn't fill you up feel free to let the impending vocal onslaught satisfy your needs. It’s nice to get a break from the sometimes over dramatic synth and organ sounds which for now are forced into the background. Sadly for the first time, the drumming, which is all done by a program totally fails. Not at all matching the strength of the rest of the song. Its like trying to break rocks with a foam finger instead of sledge hammer.

The next track, Zápor is the shortest on the album at four and half minutes and also the calmest song on this black circle. It has nice echoing clean guitar lines and typically admirable performances from both of the album’s guest artists. Drumming? Thumbs down.

Az Ősanya Szól Ivadékaihoz is easily the best song on the second half of the album. It finds the rare sweet spot where all the instruments are mixed together perfectly and really takes advantage of the band’s symphonic tendencies. Even the vocals are a step up here as well. Lead singer Tamas Katai adds a powerful, dark monotone delivery to his arsenal that works well alongside his typical screams.

To me this track would have made the best closer as I often skip the following song that happens to be the actual one. It is the only track where spoken word is the focal point and thus I take away very little. There’s not a lot going on musically either so while tonally there is some sense of closure this isn’t required listening unless you’ve got free time.

More wind noises. Fade to black.

So what is this album actually about? My first guess would be a close examination on the benefits of wind power but since the album’s name translates to An Exhibition on Vanishing Time maybe its more complex than that. Looking back it’s very impressive a two member DIY band could self release and create a record of this quality. Even more surprising is that it didn’t get picked up by a label and re-released until 6 years later. It’s alright though. That is just proof they were ahead of their time.



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user ratings (101)
4.1
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
dimsim3478
June 30th 2014


8499 Comments


agreed this is one of the best '00s BM records

Digging: teto - ?????????

ExcentrifugalForz
June 30th 2014


2124 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

http://thycatafalque.bandcamp.com/album/t-n-id-t-rlat



The cover looks different now since the reissue

TzarChasm
June 30th 2014


279 Comments


Band is fantastic but I haven't heard this album yet. I'm downloading right now.

ConorIsNotHere
June 30th 2014


1326 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yay a review (even if it's a TBT in disguise)! Neath Waters is perfect

ConorIsNotHere
June 30th 2014


1326 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This is the one where the longer songs are total m/ & the shorter songs are total "wind & instrumental" if that helps at all

ConorIsNotHere
June 30th 2014


1326 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

You silly goose :P

laughingman22
June 30th 2014


2822 Comments


good album

Evreaia
June 30th 2014


5131 Comments


sweet album, haven't heard it in year though, I kind of forgotten about it

Digging: Teitanblood - The Baneful Choir

WashboardSuds
June 30th 2014


5101 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this is great

YakNips
June 30th 2014


19897 Comments


oh cool this got a review! cheers

Spag
July 1st 2014


2558 Comments


Yeah this needed a review.

Illoomorpheme
August 9th 2014


403 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

There are quite a few bands that people refer to as 'genre-bending' or 'undefinable', though they

usually aren't even close. This is one of the few exceptions. For year after year of coming back to

this album, I still have yet to classify what exactly it is. It's about 1/4 Avant-Garde Black Metal,

1/4 Droning Ambient sections, 1/4 Bombastic Symphony, and 1/4 Psychedelic Trance-like Electro, most of

the time all within a single song.

YakNips
August 9th 2014


19897 Comments


its great

Gestapo
September 1st 2014


1398 Comments


someone needs to review roka

Hawks
April 10th 2015


73730 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This fucking rules.

Digging: Cradle of Filth - Cruelty and the Beast - Re-Mistressed

Spag
April 10th 2015


2558 Comments


Yup

Hawks
April 10th 2015


73730 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Neath Waters is almost 20 mins long and is interesting throughout the entire song. Not a lot of bands can pull that off.

Spag
April 10th 2015


2558 Comments


If you haven't already Hawks, check their song Molekuláris Gépezetek, it's 19mins and imo it's a bit better than Neath Waters

Oceandrowned
May 30th 2018


882 Comments


I did not really understand what i listened to this night. I am talking about this album. So it was like flying in invisible chaos, that is trying to structure itself only to consume you, and then suddenly i am a hippie having a hug with my elven princess. I did not get that. I like the albums i dont get on first listen. I am gonna listen to this with the girl next time.



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