Not often does a piece of art come about carried out so expertly that it seems to hit every hidden facet of the global psyche; but this is what has transpired.
If it is the burden of genius to know too much, to be the mnemonic recipient of too much information, then, my friends, you are all about to earn your Nobel laurels by listening to Vadak.
Thy Catafalque has followed a musical path we might have seen before, having surpassed the relative hermeticism of Black Metal out to more accessible and thematically varied frontiers. Listening to albums like Meta or Naiv, you might sense the burgeoning power of a singular statement in blossom. Oh what limitless masterstrokes await? Well, in asking that, you might then expect an improbably eclectic album such as this, but that is where the predictability ends.
Vadak will catch you out. There is no getting around it. This album is complex structurally, to say the least, culturally rich, universally relevant yet personally deep and rife with profound metaphysical inquiry of infinite import. Elegant, erudite poetry dashed across every page. The liner notes depict Symbolist Folk art, emphasizing an Evil-Witch persona that appears as something like the Slavic Baba Yaga. Hansel-and-Gretel-types playing haphazardly in the woods. All states of being and time put on alert. Alluding to any fantastical, foreboding ill lurking around the child’s worst judgment, universally symbolic of the death force, which haunts and calls to us throughout life, becomes a question in varying degrees of Stoicism of one’s relationship to the infinite in this stunning, whimsical, wildling statement called Vadak.
Indeed, several albums on from their Black Metal roots, Thy Catafalque deliver their most potent genre-bounding statement yet. Vadak sees Tamás take a journey, almost like the one Tod A. of Firewater must have undertook – which culminated in Golden Hour – an eclectic cross-cultural watershed of musical inspiration. Vadak certainly feels reinvigorated, expansive, Avante-Guarde. Every track overflows with eloquent, eccentric arrangements. In every track you can pinpoint origins. And, in fact, recordings took place around the world, in about a dozen locales and with at least as many collaborators.
The mad amalgam of influences knows no measure. Thy Catafalque’s palate parades disparate sounds yet somehow marries every passage into some grand design. You will hear decades of sonic inspiration distilled into fleeting essentials. Regard the deviously Black Metal-esque opener or the thrashy “Gömböc”, or ”Móló,” another thrashy piece that becomes a trance epic, or the rambunctiously glitchy “Az Energiamegmaradás Törvénye”, or the outstanding bohemian Jazz-Rock number, “A Kupolaváros Titka”, sounding like a Ferocés cut, or the entirely random Country-decidedly-non-Western cut “Kiscsikó (Irénke dala),” which takes a pastoral acoustic breather, the Classical vocal and piano accompaniment of closer “Zúzmara”, the redpipes and chorals of “Köszöntsd a hajnalt”, and of course the epic 12-minute title track that brings it all in with astounding aplomb!
This record owes its exciting, unexpected sound as much to eastern Folk and Jazz traditions as it does to early 90’s Thrash and Heavy Metal, Industrial, and electro-psych, as filtered through every musical exploration of Thy Catafalque’s aleatory flight of fancy. The only sure thing is that you cannot expect the exciting breadth of the musical drama still unfolding before you.