Artists | Issues | CD Reviews | Interviews | Concert Reviews | DVD/Video Reviews | Book Reviews | Who We Are | Staff | Home
Metal/Prog Metal CD Reviews

Thy Catafalque


Review by Mike Korn

From the darkened forests of Hungary comes one of the most surprising metal records of the new millennium. This unique "band" is really one man, Tamas Katai, but before you flee in horror from the next one-man outfit meant strictly for Myspace consumption, know that you will likely never hear a denser, more musically adept and more complete release than Rengeteg. At every point, it sounds like an ensemble production and a great one, at that.

I have seen Thy Catafalque described as "avant-garde" metal, and while that is true, it doesn't really cover the seamless merging of styles you hear on this album. For one thing, it really is metal...portions of Rengeteg are brutally loud and hammering. But what kind of metal is it? You will hear slow and crushing doom metal, aggressive black metal warfare and folk metal mixing timeless melody with bruising power. You will also hear some of the most wistful, gossamer melodies, as well as strong prog rock influences and even slight touches of electronica and funk. You really have to hear it to experience it.

If you like music that takes you on a journey through a variety of sonic landscapes and you're open minded enough to accept metal and non-metal both, I can't recommend Rengeteg highly enough. It is a classic album.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2012  Volume 2 at

Track by Track Review
Fekete Mezok

No messing around, this comes in hammering with dark and doomy metal riffing from the get go. Katai gets his metal cred right away with this killer, but listen to the structure of this tune and you get an idea of how meticulously he assembles things. Atmospheric keyboard adds a gothic flourish and the vocals range from bestial croaking to clear and bright clean singing. The lyrics are completely in Hungarian and I couldn't begin to tell you what they're about, but that is simply not important in the scheme of things. This epic song is almost ten minutes in length but maintains a death grip on your attention for the entire time.

Kei kelete szel
This fades in with a robust but simple metal chug, but on top of that are layered some ethnic sounding keyboards. This is folk metal at its best. The clean vocals are catchy and very "gypsy" like. That gypsy feel is something that reappears throughout the album. The hooks and melodies of this song sink in really deep. I must also compliment the powerful and aggressive drumming, which kicks up the intensity of every song.
This is not too far away from the previous track in overall approach, yet still completely individualistic. If anything, the vocals are even more Middle Eastern or gypsy like with their sing-song cadence, making them even catchier.  The basic foundation of the song is simple heavy metal, but it’s the layering of sound on top of that...the shiny synths, the ethnic instruments, the vocal melodies...that make it so intriguing.
Ko koppan
There's not one trace of heavy metal or even rock music in this song but that doesn't hurt it at all. Rarely have I heard music as enchantingly mysterious and beautiful as this shadowy keyboard-based lament. Violin, piano and clean male vocals further add to the magic and the song becomes darker and more strident as it continues, but never breaking through to anything harsh or heavy. This is an all around beautiful track.
This 13 plus minute monolith sits astride the album like a mighty colossus and manages to include every musical trick in Thy Catafalque's book during its length. It begins with quiet industrial noises and a mystical folk feel. Then ethereal female vocals enter, weaving a Middle Eastern incantation. Things start to get heavy and doomy with the thunderous addition of pounding down-tuned riffage. Clean male vocals and a haunting synthesized interlude return things to serenity for a while before things get even heavier and doomier. Despite the heaviness, authentic folk instrumentation can still be heard. There's a strange "false" finish to the song leading to a beautifully enchanting interlude. The heavy riffing returns, twice as brutal as before, including some devastating blast beats, and then there's a neat segue to a funky ethnic beat that is very "gypsy" sounding. Weird industrial vocals chant in an almost rap fashion as the metal continues to pound in hypnotic fashion. I have to say the song begins to drag a bit at this point, but if you listen carefully to the layering of electronics and keyboards, you can pick up a lot of subtle atmosphere. This huge track reaches a mighty climax. Although I might have trimmed a couple of minutes, this is still a very powerful piece of music.
This eerie tune sounds like it was recorded in some decayed post-apocalyptic dungeon. Here Kamai lets his electronic/industrial imagination roam free, creating a dingy soundscape of dark vibrations. If you could imagine a madcap mixture of Skinny Puppy and Nox Arcana, that comes close to this song. The pace picks up to a strong danceable beat, but there's still a feel of dark folk to the song. There's no actual singing, but mechanical sounding spoken word accompanies the piece. This is not metal but I found it completely intriguing.
Kek ingam lobogo
Electronic sci-fi tones initiate the next chapter, but soon more driving metal enters the equation. Despite its heaviness, this song has a very melancholy and sad feel to it, with more gypsy-like male vocals leading the way. One almost gets the feeling that Thy Catafalque is playing classical Hungarian music that is updated with heavy metal and progressive elements. This song is compact and to the point.
Az eso, az eso, az eso
It sounds like you are on the shore of a lake during a pouring rain as this wonderfully dark and haunting ballad eases its way in. Amazingly, Tamas Katai has found a way to make his mellow songs just as memorable as his metal ones. Although this is not a heavy or even rock song, a strong beat manifests itself later and some grooving bass lifts it above just ambience.
Tar gallyak vegul
A massive drum attack and crushing guitar distortion announce that this song will be no ballad, even though there are brief spots where the intensity drops. Again, this is a song of layers. Take special care to listen to the different keyboard sounds that layer themselves on top of that killer guitar crunch. You can hear sadness, hope and longing within the depths of this brief but powerful song.
Minden test fu
There is a peaceful stretch of natural noises before this erupts with a pure black metal assault. Speed and harshness predominate at first, but in the fashion of Thy Catafalque, the song morphs into different sounds as it continues. The vocals are very harsh rasping in classic Norwegian fashion but give way to spoken word as he unleashes some awesome thrashing riffs. As the song maintains its aggression, clean folky vocals cut in once more. Things slow down and a catchier, less brutal metal riff comes in, with synthesizer accompaniment. After the album leads you to believe it will finish with a huge climax, the end comes suddenly.
More CD Reviews
Metal/Prog Metal
Progressive Rock

   Creative Commons License
   This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.

    © 2023 Music Street Journal                                                                           Site design and programming by Studio Fyra, Inc./