Thy Catafalque
Vadak


4.0
excellent

Review

by Robert Davis CONTRIBUTOR (306 Reviews)
June 25th, 2021 | 117 replies


Release Date: 06/25/2021 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Thy Catafalque returns with yet another album not only pushing boundaries, but completely obliterating them.

Thy Catafalque's consistent and prolific discography seems to be getting better and better with each successive album. The process of exploring otherworldly musical elements and gradually integrating them into a solid, punchy extreme metal base has been the order of the day for Tamás Kátai over the last quarter of a century, and it's that work ethic in particular which has paid off in the end. When you look over such a flourishing back catalogue of records you'd be forgiven for thinking that Thy Catafalque will surely come to an end one day, and yet fresh material keeps rearing its head when you least expect it. Case in point: This year's Vadak, which not only keeps guiding you down a seemingly bottomless rabbit hole but also delights in so many ways for so many different listeners.

It's clear that Vadak is a more immediate album than any of its predecessors. Whilst the heaviness of the rhythm section is notably more prominent, it's clear that Tamás still wanted to portray a multi-faceted approach to his songwriting. From the initially electrifying beats of opener “Szarvas” comes a real grip on the listener's attention, bouncing, industrial guitar work pulsating with a real earthy presence that never lets up until the song's end. The likes of “Gomboc” and “Az Energiamegmaradás Torvenye” continue in similar fashion but present more of a driving, aggressive force which although does away with folksier and jazzier elements still pushes set boundaries. “Gomboc” in particular utilizes harmonic guitar work to present some of the most memorable riffs Kátai has written in his career, before the song clatters to an industrial, stomping finish. “Az Energiamegmaradás Torvenye” concentrates on metallic exploration but also opens itself into more atmospheric territory, essentially becoming a song of two halves as the main riff changes abruptly at the midway point.

For every instantly accessible riff there's also a intricate harmony developed by saxophone, violin, and a multitude of other vocalists offering their individual talents. “Koszontsd a Hajnalt” is a much more folk-oriented piece which indulges in guest vocalist Martina Veronika Horváth's dulcet tones, an aspect which raises the song into upper echelons and presents a dreamy soundscape virtually unmatched by any other song in the album. It's a real highlight and distances itself from the rest of Vadak, and despite the slightly Celtic metal inspiration bringing to mind Eluveitie's latter day material, the rest of the song embarks on a more open-minded journey through different musical elements. As the album progresses these folksier elements become more subtle albeit no less exemplary. “Kiscsikó” is a lot lighter and perhaps the first song of the album which doesn't rely on a metallic backbone to get going, instead bringing forth a fresh, original musical break which sees Carolina D*ez's acoustic guitar putting most of the work in. It just goes to show that because of his sheer songwriting talent, Tamás can arrange so much with one instrument.

For better or worse, Vadak certainly seems to be an album of two halves. The first five or six songs seem to be more immediate and leave very little room for the listener to take in everything that's happening, but the second half of the album really takes off into uncharted territory. There's songs like “A Kupalovarós Titka” which clearly focus on a jazzier direction, the elegant voice of Julia Pfiffner providing subtle narrative alongside the Patrick Bottcher's saxophone introduction, which essentially takes over most of the song. However, these elements are used in wild fashion, serving as a fitting companion alongside those electrifying sonic beats. The same can be said for “Piros-Sárga”, which is probably the most accessible song of the album thanks to a very danceable, almost funky instrumental rhythm made soulful thanks to the guest vocals of Dadan Bogdanov*c, whose voice is surrounded by a strange, satisfying combination of jazzy instruments and middle Eastern percussion. It's a real frenzied combination of elements but reflects just how much there is to take in.

As with virtually every other album in Thy Catafalque's discography, Vadak is a very exploratory album which once again sees Tamás Kátai as a musical journeyman, ranging from the heaviest rhythmic rumbles to delightfully organic harmonies, and everything in between. It's not the first time I've said this about a Thy Catafalque album: Where exactly does Tamás take his musical direction from here? Wherever he goes, it will surely be brilliant.



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user ratings (128)
3.9
excellent


Comments:Add a Comment 
linguist2011
Contributing Reviewer
June 25th 2021


2654 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Album stream: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P6D4pAukKys



c/c welcome as always. I'm not able to get much reviewing done these days but when albums like this come around, I feel obliged to.

Digging: Pa Vesh En - Maniac Manifest

Mythodea
June 25th 2021


6720 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Ohh, great, I was wondering how come this wasn't reviewed yet, as it seems highly successful so far. Will read later. Only heard the album once, but I found it more enjoyable than last year's equally acclaimed Naiv.

PortalofPerfection
June 25th 2021


2532 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Best thing he's done in 10 years.

Digging: Alien Weaponry - Tangaroa

garas
Contributing Reviewer
June 25th 2021


6432 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Great review! One of the best Thy Catafalque albums in a while.

Digging: Sarke - Allsighr

Pikazilla
June 25th 2021


18931 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yes!!!!!!!!!!!!

Pikazilla
June 25th 2021


18931 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thank you for reviewing this beaut

PortalofPerfection
June 25th 2021


2532 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah I'm good slapping a 4.5 on this rn.



As I recall some of his older stuff had better riffs but the songwriting/album structure here is ridiculously good.

ChaoticVortex
June 26th 2021


1214 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I knew Robert would be quick with his review and I wasn't disappointed. Great writing, fantastic album. The sheer diversity in the songwriting department continues to blow my mind, truly the result of 25+ years of experience, experimentation and confidence on what works and what doesn't. The whole album is just one highlight reel. Probably gonna slap a 5 on this bad boy in a few more months and listens.

Gnocchi
Staff Reviewer
June 26th 2021


15140 Comments

Album Rating: 4.1

We have a thread now, excellent : ]

DDDeftoneDDD
June 26th 2021


18530 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Cool. Productive fellas

Digging: Spiritbox - Eternal Blue

linguist2011
Contributing Reviewer
June 26th 2021


2654 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I knew Robert would be quick with his review



Saying that I'm actually surprised a review wasn't up before! I think the album stream was put up a few days before it's due release tbh

Gnocchi
Staff Reviewer
June 26th 2021


15140 Comments

Album Rating: 4.1

Streamed a day before the release which was kind of pointless depending on what side of the hemisphere you sit. I feel like “requesting a Robert review” on this site is kind of cheating since there’s a few of us in the contrib/staff ranks.

Mythodea
June 26th 2021


6720 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I was listening to the album yesterday and during the sax solo on ''A Kupolavaros Titka'', I believed the ambulance sirens were coming from outside and I thought ''Damn, that fits so well...''

PortalofPerfection
June 26th 2021


2532 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

It really seems to me like he took all the best stuff from all his albums so far and merged them together to form this. Just amazing.

TheSonomaDude
June 26th 2021


7965 Comments


fuck yeah. love thy catafalque

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
June 27th 2021


5509 Comments


Naiv was interesting, I am curious to hear this one too.

Digging: The Killers - Pressure Machine

Mythodea
June 27th 2021


6720 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It's more engaging than Naiv, to my ears

Pikazilla
June 27th 2021


18931 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Correct

Evok
Contributing Reviewer
June 27th 2021


8498 Comments


Tbh I've only heard Meta by this guy and have endless gripes about it. I'm gonna check this out and hope for the best.

Digging: Wolves in the Throne Room - Primordial Arcana

JesperL
Contributing Reviewer
June 27th 2021


3367 Comments


lovely review + album art, shall check!

Digging: Nightcrush - You Mark Me the Deepest



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