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Thy Catafalque - Naiv Award winner

Thy Catafalque
by Emily Schneider at 05 February 2020, 5:20 AM

THY CATAFALQUE is a one man band that originated from Hungary, but now resides in Scotland. “Naiv” is the band's 9th studio album and the title is inspired by the Naive art movement, which is essentially geometrically 'incorrect' artwork (the album cover is a great example). While the band's only member Tamás Kátai plays the majority of the instruments and writes the music, there are 11 guest musicians on this album. THY CATAFALQUE has been around since 1999 and are considered one of the founders of Avant-Garde Metal. The genre itself is difficult to describe; it can have elements from basically any and all genres of music and then some. In THY CATAFALQUE's case, they implement electronic sounds alongside the Black Metal and Post Rock laden guitars and drums, plus some Tribal/Folk style vocals and fitting instruments with a touch of distortion in the mix.

The album opens with the track “A bolyongás ideje”. The main riffs have a Black Metal feel to them with their speed and style. The vocals have this haunting chant-like quality that sets the scene to a moonlit night in the wilderness. “Tsitsushka” can be described in one word: Groovy. This song is more fast paced, enough you can bob your head along as the music dances between your speakers. The bass line guides you through this funk and jazz-infused number. There's horns, electronic portions, and a retro funk feel in general on this awesome instrumental track. “Embersólyom” is the first single from the album. The song is an interesting one with distorted electronic folk instruments and lovely folky female vocals. It reminds me of the Folk Metal band HEILUNG, just with added synths.

"Számtalan színek" is a short track, featuring a cello and some electric and acoustic guitar accompaniment. It's quaint but it's the only song I nearly overlooked on this album. "A valóság kazamatáiopens" with a neat 8-bit style keyboard bit. The drums and electric guitars make this song feel like an industrial track at times with the fast, almost dance worthy riffs and drum beat. Yet, it flips the switch back to the tribal vibe again, and it all meets up in a strangely fitting way at the end. "Kék madár (Négy kép)" starts with a quaint fluttery flute tune, fitting for a song title that translates to bluebird (four pictures). You can almost imagine a bird flying around to this whimsical track. This song leads perfectly into "Napút".  This song feels like sunrise with how it builds in a slow yet vibrant way. The prog rock style guitars and drums guides you through the darkness of dawn into the light of morning. "Vető" is the longest track on the album at just over 8 minutes. The trend of tribal sounds and heavy distorted guitars starts the track. Then, the middle of the song becomes more space-age with the electronics and keys; it feels like a psychedelic rock track like something from Syd Barrett-era PINK FLOYD, especially with all the synthesizer portions. Then, at the 7 minute mark, you're dropped from that psychedelic haze with some doomy Metal riffs and vocals, bringing the song full circle from its start. "Szélvész" is the final track on the album. The main melody in this one has a hopeful yet unsettling vibe about it. The guitar riffs remind me of PORCUPINE TREE with the deceptively cheerful sound, but has a hint of bitterness tied in.

Overall, “Naiv” is an intriguing album. There are so many elements going on in every single track, yet the changes in sound still flow beautifully. Not to mention, you experience so many sensations as you listen to these soundscapes. While yes, it's a lot to take in, it's also so fun to hear something new every time you listen to this album. I love that there's so much to hear and enjoy, even though I don't speak the language the lyrics are written in. THY CATAFALQUE is always refreshing to listen to and “Naiv” certainly did not disappoint!

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. A bolyongás ideje
2. Tsitsushka
3. Embersólyom
4. Számtalan színek
5. A valóság kazamatái
6. Kék madár (Négy kép)
7. Napút
8. Vető
9. Szélvész
Tamás Kátai - Guitar, Bass, Vocals, Keyboards, Programs 
Record Label: Season of Mist


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Edited 26 January 2022

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