Thy Catafalque - Roka Hasa Radio

Thy Catafalque - Roka Hasa Radio – 4.5/5

It would perhaps be futile to try to adequately explain everything that is presented here; no review can truly do this album justice. The simplest explanation I can proffer is, can you imagine how an earthy, ambient passage full of folk overtones evoking images of nature could transgress into an icy, psychedelic passage of industrial post-black anarchy? Or how violins and clarinets could then be integrated seamlessly to provide ‘swing jazz’ like relief from the highly atmospheric blackened doom-like situation they find themselves in? Even after multiple listens I still cannot wrap my head around it, but that’s precisely what they do, combining genre’s that shouldn’t be mixed to create an oddly contrasting yet powerfully themed 70 minutes of avant-garde bliss. It may not shock with its overt absurdity, nor will it bore with unsuited passages of unusual experimentation; this feels far too grandiloquent for such depravity.

I spent a while deliberating its inclusion for, whilst its certainly Avant-Garde of the highest order, much of it feels far removed from black metal; the inclusion of raw heavily distorted guitars and high pitched growls overshadowed at every turn by too many other aspects. Instead I am drawn to the objective of all their variation; whatever techniques they may choose to adopt, the atmosphere almost indefinitely has a strong ‘time and space’ motif, traversing the stars, travelling back in time and forward once more, and it is this overwhelming feeling of darkness, be it in industrial ambient tones, the slow doom-like pacing of the bombastic drums or the melodic violin and clarinet melodies, this proves the only constant feature of this album with more tricks up their sleeve than Houdini.

Much of this atmosphere emerges from the gratuitous use of keyboards, adding a definite industrial tone at times, gentler piano melodies at others and even a more basic symphonic backing, often succeeding in providing an effective soundscape within which the more unconventional instruments are able to perform. Vocals are used sparingly, largely serving as an additional instrument often taking a back seat, presented in a mid-ranged masculine growl, clean rock vocals and softer, almost ethereal female vocals working in tandem with one another. Spoken entirely in Hungarian adds further intrigue to their magnificently worked melodies expertly assisting the feel of the music.

The guitars lend an ever present rhythm, be it full blown blackened distortion or clean psychedelic entrancing melody, they constantly work with a never relenting supply of drum beats to form the core of the sound. It is only in the latter half of the album that presents shorter, more focussed tracks that feel less fluid, less intricate than the epic openers that present the only disappointment in this otherwise unique brand of Avant-Garde. This really does fall into that category of artists unlike any other that simply needs to be heard to understood. Perhaps capable of serving an excellent introduction to the genre, lending a far more natural feel to the manner genres are interwoven, compared to the sharp contrasts played upon by other artists, this is unquestionably one of the better of my recent discoveries.

Highlights: Szervetlen, Molekuláris Gépezetek