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Thy Catafalque

Geometria

Review by Mike Korn

Tamas Katai is the mind behind Thy Catafalque and he’s the very definition of a musical explorer. This is a man who creates without regard for genre or convention. He just composes the kind of music he wants to hear. And in Katai’s case, that covers a boundless territory.

On Geometria, Thy Catafalque delves a bit more into the world of electronic music than in the past. This ranges from soothing ambience to hard and heavy beats. By no means is this a purely electronic album, because Thy Catafalque is never purely anything…except itself. You will also find extreme metal, Hungarian folk music and cinematic prog here. As with all of this project’s albums, it’s a sonic voyage through unpredictable territory. Also as with all Thy Catafalque albums, the lyrics are entirely Hungarian.

Categorize this however you wish. If your definition of progressive music is music that breaks barriers and is unpredictable, this is as prog as it gets.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2018  Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Hajnal csillag

This cut begins with very mysterious and laid back synth tones laced with processed vocals speaking Hungarian. It’s soothing yet ominous. Drums slowly add a jazz-like beat, and then a sweet and sad violin joins in and the song becomes more “active” but still melancholy. Like so many songs by this band, this is composed of layers that gradually become more complex. Female vocals and electric guitar swirl in and out, and finally heavy guitar riffs come rumbling in. This one starts as a whisper and ends with thunder.

Szjamoed Fresko
This rushes in with a furious metallic bite and a kind of industrialized sound. Robotic vocals add to the mechanical feel, yet there’s also a kind of folky touch to some of the instrumentation. It’s a crazy mash-up of elements from Voi Vod, Ministry and Hungarian folk music and the most intense song on the disc.
Toltes
The previous song ends with a blur of techno beats and spacy synth that bleeds directly into this cut, which is very techno influenced. Urgent female vocals in Hungarian croon over stormy synth tones and steady beats.
Gote
This tune is a kind of new wave meets prog rock jam that’s pretty cool. Some parts are very heavily guitar influenced while others are dominated by keys. A smoky saxophone solo adds a jazz touch. Basically every instrument gets a chance to shine at some point during this song. The number ends rather abruptly when it felt like an extended jam was coming on.
Sarember
Heavy metal comes thundering back in with this prog metal jam. Parts of this sound huge and majestic. The clean male vocals singing in Hungarian and the wildly weeping violin gives this a kind of folk sheen, as well. This is another song with a lot of sonic layers that can be peeled away like an onion, but the general feeling here is aggressive and kind of nervous.
Hajo
This relatively brief song is a beautifully eerie synthesizer soundscape with a cold, glacial sound. Layers of synth beats and sound build on each other, and eventually clean male vocals chant Hungarian lyrics in a folkish kind of way. It’s an example of a short tune put together with the same care used for longer epics.
Lagyresz
Acting as a complete opposite to the prior track, this comes thundering in with some heavy and very doomy chords. The vocals are the tortured rasps of a black metal soul in torment. However, as is usual with most of Thy Catafalque’s work, the song takes some peculiar detours into more atmospheric and restrained corners, with keys and acoustic ending the piece. The overall feeling is one of monolithic guitar heaviness, though.
Sik
A dark song, this starts with heavy but catchy riffs that have a kind of swing to them. Dissonant and crushing guitar sounds predominate with more harsh vocals.  This one is compact and to the point.
Balra a nap
Propelled by steady drum and bass, the guitar here has a lighter and more progressive feel. Female vocals return and are extremely appealing. The vocals dominate the song and sometimes come in choir-like layers on top of each other. Processed and auto-tuned vocals pop up, and it’s to Katai’s credit that even these sound perfect in context. Despite the lighter sound, there is still a darker undercurrent to the song. This is one of the most prog oriented pieces on the disc.
Tenger, tenger
The sorrowful tones of a gypsy violin are heard by themselves for a while. The song proper then comes in with an electronic beat and some great acoustic guitar playing. The vocals revert to the clean male tones. The female vocals return for a duet, and the song takes a turn to cinematic music. This is a pretty mellow cut even though the steady beats give it some energy.
Enek a buzamezokrol
Heavy dissonant doom metal chords kick off the album ending epic. These riffs are as heavy as anything Cathedral or Electric Wizard could dish out. This is real funeral doom metal that lumbers along in menacing fashion. Spoken vocals and keyboards add atmosphere. As you might expect, though, there are some twists. An extremely restrained and mellow break enters the scene for a bit before the doom returns. The female vocals reappear  and have some almost operatic moments. A long guitar solo leads to a very abrupt end.
 
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