A lot of bands in modern metal seek to combine a metal sub-genre with another musical background, and a lot of the time, it ends up being fairly lacking or disingenuous to both aspects. Thy Catafalque, however, pay homage to a rich and varied scope of musical influences and always do each area justice with zero compromise. On their ninth album, Naiv, this eclectic nature is taken to more playful and lighthearted places, but still delivers on some good, old fashioned heavy riffs throughout.
Influenced by the “Naïve Art” movement, a primarily visual style based on artists creating pieces without any formal training, Naiv takes a more jovial approach to some of arranging and songwriting. Though still just as unpredictable as his earlier works, Thy Catafalque mastermind Tamás Kátai seems less afraid now to use wilder textures throughout an album.
The second track, “Tsitsushka,” happily takes you down paths you could never see coming; however, these drastic musical shifts never feel forced, and they are almost guaranteed to make you smile. Groovy metal riffs sit right by plucky synth textures before blossoming into almost post-rock ambience and raunchy slap bass runs; it’s nothing short of a joy.
The slew of guest musicians on this album greatly bolster Kátai’s musical vision. Vocalists from a variety of backgrounds, including Zoltán Kónya (from Kátai’s progressive death metal outing Gire) who appears on the album opener, flautists, saxophonists and more, all lend their efforts in various ways. ‘Számtalan színek’ lets these guest musicians take center stage with rich cello and Laúd sections creating a brooding, classical atmosphere.
This reckless abandon to musical creativity could certainly hit some listeners the wrong way. To some, Ozric Tentacles-style synth passages (as heard on ‘A valóság kazamatái’) don’t belong next to Hungarian-influenced vocal melodies, and that’s nothing short of understandable. If an album full of artistic sidewinders, all contained in a predominantly metal and mature package, sounds good to you however, go ahead and spin Naiv, you’ll be nothing short of surprised.
Thy Catafalque’s Naiv will be released January 24 through Season of Mist and can be pre-ordered HERE.