Season Of Mist
Unexpectedly, a new Thy Catafalque album has appeared and as you might expect, it’s a bit different. They all are. The only difference here for me, is that I don’t feel it is their strongest material by any means. At least from the first listen.
The first cut was a rocking little folk tune, while the second seemed a slightly industrial meandering that went nowhere and played up on djent a little bit more than I would have liked. I definitely thought the digitized vocals were a treat, but there wasn’t much here to hold my attention aside from the very end of the piece, where the guitar and synths were finally allowed a proper place in the Sun. Further in the listen, I noticed that the synths explored in the last piece moved further into a sort of electronic folk song. I’m not digging the female vocals so much on this one, as this approach just isn’t what I expect from Thy Catafalque. It’s obvious that they’re changing styles, but I think that longtime fans might have a difficult time with this, especially if they loved the older, heavier sound of the band. To be honest, I would probably like this track better if it had no vocals at all, neither male or female. It feels like Qntal a little bit though, so there’s something to be said in that – but the approach kind of takes me out of this spacial landscape and that’s disappointing.
I could hear the next piece in an RPG boss battle for sure, and that saxophone would’ve really hit it further. I’m thinking of a desert stage, most likely during a dungeon, even though the active technological nature would certainly work in a palace for the next Persona game. The last one used acid jazz to begin with, so this isn’t out of character. If you ever wanted to hear Thy Catafalque’s take on a Persona palace though, this is as close as we’re going to get. With the fifth piece, we finally get to the heavy stuff. Slight black metal bits are heard, but the drums are surprisingly punchy and make for a much different kind of experience than we’d expect. Combined with the native language clean vocals, this song certainly comes off as more removed from almost anything that the band have done before in regards to extreme metal. The song also contains a few sections where crunch and melody are observed – particularly within the middle-eastern instrumentation, which certainly fits the band’s avantgarde nature.
Moving to the second part of the disc, we have an electronic folk piece which actually comes off quite catchy. It feels like actual world music rather than metal, but as I’ve noted with this review; Thy Catafalque have transcended the genre completely. For some odd reason, this one makes me think of a man singing while standing on top of a small planetoid. Metal influence comes back with the next cut, which features the heaviest performance that we’re going to get here. Complete with harsh vocal, massive distortion and some unexpected acoustic to stand just behind said distortion, we wind up with something altogether different. Strong melodic leads are also utilized here, in addition to more playful synth nodes. The track becomes increasingly melodic as it ends on a rather haunting note. Black metal is influenced on the next piece as well, while spoken word vocals work to further illustrate it. I didn’t really care for this when (I believed it was Satyricon who did it as a closer for their self-titled disc) it first appeared and certainly don’t approve of it now. Though I will say that I like the fact that the approach was lengthened into something that I feel came off quite punchy and felt like black metal, much in the way that Satyricon could have learned from when they wanted to go into an avantgarde direction.
Moving from black metal, we have synthwave on this ninth track, which doesn’t exactly work for me in lieu of the vocals. She’s a great singer, but the approach just doesn’t appeal that much to me. (I say this now, but the track may worm itself into my head over the next few days). The addition of guitar and synthwave is a nice touch, as well as the twinkling elements that you’ll hear. The whole thing goes Tron at one point, but that’s fine with me. This is high-quality synthwave regardless. From there, we move onto electro-folk. Not bad by any means, but much different from I expected, for sure. Thy Catafalque are heading so far into the world music category that it’s ridiculous. Not in a bad way though, because it’s obvious how talented the act is and how much potential it has as a whole. Certainly there’s more talent here than Kanye West and his ye album. Yes, it’s called ye. Why? I don’t know. Because it represents the plummeting apex of human intellect.
Moving onto the final track, we have a rather large doom number that also includes slight folk-influence and stereoscopic fare. When the leads appear towards the end, I think of some great castle in the stars. Make no mistake though, as this is a Thy Catafalque shredder and I’m more than thankful for it.
Geometria is certainly a better thought-out title than ye and deserves to be on the Billboard Top 100 above the Dave Matthews Band. I mean, while those guys can write the same alternative pop track twelve times with Max Martin and Dr. Luke, then call it a day and sell fifty million copies; Thy Catafalque can transcend fifty million genres over the span of just eleven tracks. Longer tracks than Dave Matthews or even Kanye (unless he gets to rambling, than there will have to be another album specifically for that) would be comfortable writing, I’m sure – but tracks like these need room to breathe. I’m almost surprised that Thy Catafalque hasn’t dipped a toe into the hip hop genre yet, but I think we all should be thankful that he hasn’t. As if right now, Cardi B is at the top of those particular charts now, proving that both intellectualism and music have become something scarce.
While not my favorite Thy Catafalque disc, Geometria is certainly not one to pass by due to the sheer amount of experimentation that has gone into it. Perhaps it’ll grow on me over time, if I even get the chance to listen to it again. The link below contains a record that most of you may not be ready for, but should definitely give a listen due to its historical genre-melding value.
(11 Tracks, 56:00)
Purchase HERE (Bandcamp)