In much the same way that VOIVOD are a thrash metal band on paper but something vastly more unpredictable in practice, Hungarian eccentrics THY CATAFALQUE have stoically remained rooted in black metal while steadily evolving into something far more adventurous and whacked-out. On “Naiv”, Tamás Kátai‘s wayward project continues to keep a toe or two in the blackened puddle, but from opener “A bolyongás ideje” onwards, his fearlessness and resistance to convention are on full display. Within that first five minutes, THY CATAFALQUE veer from thudding metal to woozy psychedelia and back again, sounding quite unlike anything else in the process. Perhaps the only real antecedent for this would be the work of Japanese nutjobs SIGH — as with their wild flights of metallic fancy, everything here feels like it belongs, but an absurd amount of musical ground is being covered along the way. There’s thumping slap bass, skittering grooves and a surging, parping brass section on “Tsitsushka”; “Embersólyom” adds folksy flutes and other proggy touches, resulting in something that sounds like ELUVEITIE after a psilocybin binge. “Számtalan színek” is austere, chamber rock, with scything cellos giving way to pitiless blasts; “A valóság kazamatái” leaps from stomping electro-rock to ragged percussive freak-out, with a blissfully elegant mid-section that comes from nowhere and vanishes just as quickly, usurped by the album’s most thunderous climax. Best of all, “Vető” takes eight minutes to completely rewire the listener’s brain, morphing from an intro that sounds like old school avant-death metal through to a wonderfully dynamic and multi-faceted denouement that could hardly be more prog if it arrived wearing a cape and playing a twin-neck.

Neither for the faint-hearted nor the narrow-minded, “Naiv” is another vivid and perverse addition to an increasingly fascinating catalogue. Both oddly accessible and frequently bewildering, it buzzes and crackles with delight at music’s limitless possibilities. Absolute madness, of course, but irresistibly so.
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