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Monday, 7 May 2018

Reviews: Thy Catafalque, Voidthrone, Cokegoat/Barren Heir, Suum (Reviews By Paul S)

Thy Catafalque: Geometriam (Season Of Mist)

This is Thy Catafalque’s 8th album. The band, originally from Hungary are now based in Scotland, play a very avant-garde, experimental form of black metal. Although, any black metal orthodoxy was dropped years ago. Thy Catafalque take the same approach to black metal as Sigh, Solafald or Enslaved. Don’t misunderstand me, they don't sound like those other bands, but they approach songwriting in the same way. They are happy to use a myriad of different influences from all around the musical globe and mould them together seamlessly. Apart from the metal on offer here, the main influence seems to be intelligent electronic music. There are some drum & bass influences on display that are very reminiscent of The Omni Trio or early Ronnie Size.

Jazz is also a big part of the sound of this album, with some very interesting saxophone and violin work. The album also moves into some eastern European folk territory. All the different styles of music are handled with aplomb, songs morph from one style to another without any of the transitions feeling jarring or out of place. When this album does get heavy, the riffs are huge and very memorable. But, they aren't overbearing and always compliment the non-metal parts. Most of the time the heavy parts are used to add power and drive to the songs. I loved this album the first time I listened to it. I’ve since discovered that the album is a grower, and am rapidly becoming obsessed with it. Give it a month, and I’ll be forming a religion called ‘Thy Catafalqueism”. If you are an open minded black metal fan with a love of experimental, interesting music, then this could be your new favourite album. Sublime. 9/10

Voidthrone: Kur (Self Released)

Voidthrone formed in 2016, Kur is their second album (on their bandcamp, they refer to this as a full length album, but at 4 tracks and 25 minutes it feels more like an ep). Voidthrone play a particularly nasty form of suffocating black metal. Very ‘Necro’ production helps this album feel viscous and evil. In places it feels a little like DSKNT’s album Phsphr Entropy, one of my top 10 albums from last year. This is not for the faint-hearted, dense, jarring riffs, thundering drums and really nasty vocals. Lots of black metal bands try to sound evil and malicious, Voidthrone actually manage it. Kur is a 25 minute blast that strips the skin from your face, and kicks you in the bollocks while you are trying to find your eyeballs.If you like real black metal, that is extreme, while also being disquieting and foreboding, then this album is for you. 8/10.

Cokegoat / Barren Heir: Split (Self Released)

Split LP from Cokegoat and Barren Heir. The 2 Chicago based bands team up for this split release. Side A features 4 tracks from doom / stoner band Coakgoat. This is powerful mid-paced doom, with a bit of a black metal feel, some of the tracks reminded me of Nidingr, or early Helheim. The tracks are taut and aggressive, but with pleasing melodies to them, and with a few progressive elements, that keep everything interesting.

Barren Heir’s side has 2 longer tracks of slow discordant doom/sludge, which I found to be quite reminiscent of Birmingham band Opium Lord. Slow and oppressive, but with some interesting blues tinged guitar work. The 2 tracks have some faster tremolo picked passages that work well with the slower parts. Both tracks have depth, and are a very rewarding listening experience.

Both bands compliment each other, so this split does not have that jarring feeling that some splits have. This is an enjoyable listen, I look forward to hearing more from these two bands.  7/10

SuuM: Buried Into the Grave (Endless Winter)

Suum are a traditional occult doom band from Italy. Buried into the grave is their first album, and features 7 tracks of detuned, tritone doom. The main frames of reference here are pentagram, and maybe a little Mercyful Fate, particularly in the vocals, which are very dramatic. Do I need to say they sound a like Black Sabbath? No, you’ve probably already worked that out. Great riffs, enjoyable melodies, and fun vocals. There is absolutely nothing groundbreaking about this album. It brings practical nothing new to the table. But, when it’s done this well, do you really need anything new? Solid, enjoyable Doom. 7/10 

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