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Catafalque – Corpses

by Cherie Wong at 01 April 2020, 6:56 PM

On February 14, 2020, CATAFALQUE released a not-so-romantic album titled “Corpses.” It sure does set a mood though. CATAFALQUE is a UK band that plays an amalgamation of noise, drone, and metal. The band was born out of a collaboration between Thomas Ozers (THE DEAD YESTERDAYS, a Scottish harsh noise band) and Dan Dolby and Mike Shepherd (both of MASTIFF, a UK hardcore doom sludge band). CATAFALQUE’s debut release “Catafalque” was released just last year (2019), though without Mike in the lineup.

Corpses” contains the first three tracks CATAFALQUE had ever recorded that were unreleased until now, along with remixes from their friend’s bands and one new track. At first listen, the music might sound as if it’s only white noise. After repeated listens and giving the tracks more attention, I can make out parts that set each track and their remixes apart. As the tracks and their remixes are not sequential, I will skip around the track list for this review.

The first track is the titular “Corpses.” The constant drone of the dark and fuzzy noise is immediately present. Over the duration of the ten-minute track, industrial sound effects can be heard clanking periodically in the background. The “Corpses (Cosmic Indifference Remix)” has a different tone to the noise. The noise has an electric hum and static buzz to it. Compared to the original, this remix is livelier and has more energy. “Corpses (Whitephosphorous Remix)” is more noticeably different from the original version. Voiceovers and a slow, almost electronic beat and tone to the noise turns the song into a dark and industrial electronic song.

The next of the original tracks is “Ichor.” CATAFALQUE’s signature tone is back, with the drone, fuzz, and ominous industrial ambiance. Though I can’t really put it into words, this track has a sense of crushing impending doom. The “Ichor (Tyrant Flycatcher's Will of the Lord Remix)” features mostly old-timey sound clips. At first, I was confused about how this was a remix, since it doesn’t sound like the original, but I realized that the background of the clips is a constant drone. The overall effect is that the people in the sound clips are destined for inevitable doom.

The third of the original tracks is “Shallow Graves.” The noise in this track thunders and buzzes with electric energy. The “Shallow Graves (Harsh Noise Movement Re-Noise)” is considerably harsher than the original. The electronic beat and fuzz is still present throughout the track, but suddenly stops for incredibly jarring and sharp dissonant notes. By comparison, the “Shallow Graves (Fatalisté Remix)” is closer to the original. It has a similar static buzz, but with slightly different industrial sound effects.

Last is the one completely new track, “Outer Heaven.” The same dark ambient fuzz as all their other original tracks is there. Unique to this track is the melancholic guitar melody semi-hidden under the buzz. It’s soft and sweetly sad, a good closer to the album.

Overall, I recommend this album, especially to fans of drone and noise. While CATAFALQUE’s original tracks heavily featured drone and noise, the music wasn’t jarring, but instead had a heavy and dark ambient atmosphere. The remixes offered enough variation to stand as their own tracks and to change up the pace on the album. Though I wasn’t familiar with this style of music, I still enjoyed listening to and dissecting each track for this review. Whether or not you’re a fan of this genre, this album is a great introduction to the band and this genre.

Songwriting: 6
Musicianship: 6
Memorability: 7
Production: 7

3 Star Rating

1. Corpses
2. Ichor
3. Shallow Graves
4. Corpses (Cosmic Indifference Remix)
5. Shallow Graves (Harsh Noise Movement Re-Noise)
6. Ichor (Tyrant Flycatcher's Will of the Lord Remix)
7. Shallow Graves (Fatalisté Remix)
8. Corpses (Whitephosphorous Remix)
9. Outer Heaven
Thomas Ozers
Michael Shepherd
Daniel James Dolby
Record Label: Trepanation Recordings


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Edited 05 June 2020

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