Review: Thy Catafalque – Naiv

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My name is Ben, and I am funky. When it comes to funk I am a junkie.  And if you liked Thy Catafalque’s last album Geometria, Naiv is just as rad.

Now I have to put up a little disclaimer and say that the jazz and Europop elements, while plentiful, aren’t as forward in Naiv, and are overall a little more blended, with the folk and classical elements of the band coming a little more forward in the mix of their black-tinged prog metal canvas.

As always, the use of texture and atmosphere is key with the band, which is really showcased on the track “Kék madár (Négy kép),” where the folk flute line is reverbed to hell and back and layered atop a driving strings and percussion beat, ending up sounding ethereal even before the spacey techno comes in. “Napút” brings the funk right after with some rad synth and bass lines.

The following track, “Veto,” is one of the heaviest I’ve heard from the band since Meta, and I was a little disappointed to see I was already almost at the end of the album by the time the track came on.  Naiv is a little over 45 minutes, but feels like 20 because of how good the songwriting and musical architecture are, and how interesting the ideas and motives in the album are.

Any citizens of the bowl who’ve read enough of my stuff will know that I’m a real big fan of fusion genres and blending/juxtaposition of genres and styles, so it shouldn’t surprise anyone that when a record combines jazz, folk, classical, Europop, techno, black metal, and prog rock it’s a straight shot to Ben’s frequently played list. Part of what I like about these blends of genres and ideas is that when it’s done well, it’s so interesting that I’m kept engaged throughout the record, whereas by now it’s a lot easier for me to check out halfway through for an album that’s just old school black metal all the way.

I was slightly worried when I heard the jazz elements with fretless bass make an appearance on Naiv that we’d be retreading ground Thy Catafalque had already explored on Geometria and we’d just be getting a part II record, which would have been fine but a little bit of a letdown in terms of how much musical exploration Tamas Katai tends to do with his composition. I’m glad to say, though, that Naiv does take some of the ideas seen on Geometria, (and Meta, and Sgùrr) and goes in a different and further direction with them, ending up as one of my favorite albums so far in this early point of the year.

4.5/5 Flaming Toilets Ov Hell

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