Thy Catafalque – Alfö​ld

Band: Thy Catafalque
Album: Alfö​ld
Label: Season Of Mist
Genre: Thy Catafalque
Country: Hungary
Release Date: 
June 16th, 2023
For Fans Of:
Solefald, Arcturus, Ulver

Thy Catafalque are a weird one-man crew from Hungary. They play music that’s based in black metal, folk music, and avant-garde weirdness blended in proportions that vary wildly over the band’s career. What doesn’t vary is the band’s quality. 2021’s Vadak was one of the year’s top albums, and Thy Catafalque have had the talent and creativity to drop a masterpiece out of nowhere for decades. Let’s see if this release can be cohesive enough to work.

Alfö​ld starts off as surprisingly straight-forward metal. The first few listens involved some disappointment at the beginning of the record. All the wild directions Thy Catafalque could have gone, and this is where we are? Still, while the songs are more by the lines than I’d usually expect from this group, that doesn’t make them bad. There are some solid moments and good riffs peppered throughout these songs.

From the title track on, Alfö​ld starts to Dutch-angle-tilt into more of a folk sound. Here we get the stretchy goodness that I have come to expect from a Thy Catafalque release. Weird song structures and atypical instrumentation abound. Thy Catafalque uses the more standard opening tracks to increase the effectiveness of the more exploratory songs. Making random noises isn’t interesting, but making noises that intentionally violate previously-established rules in a specific, repeated way can be wildly interesting.

That being said, Alfö​ld doesn’t actually violate previously-established rules. At least by Thy Catafalque standards. While the album does take a turn from interesting black metal to more interesting folk sounds, this is not something exploratory within the context of Thy Catafalque’s catalog. At this point in their career, Thy Catafalque sounds established, confident, fantastic, and calcified. Music can only be avant-garde within a paradigm.

Thy Catafalque can sometimes wander too much. That doesn’t really happen on Alfö​ld. At the center of style shifts, harmonized vocal chants, flute and violin solos, and whatever else you want to throw in there, this music uses gripping melodic lines as a spiked exoskeleton to provide a sense of meaning and a center to the sounds. I can appreciate this approach, combined with the overall structure of the album: While the record does what it wants, there are enough tethers to known and existing points to never feel completely lost.

Production-wise, Alfö​ld sounds adequate. Everything comes through fine, and all the different sounds are handled well-enough, but the low-end sometimes sounds too muddy and drone-like. This doesn’t get in the way of the music enough to care, but on the early tracks especially I sometimes wonder if I’m hearing a note or filled-in space. This has been a recurring issue throughout Thy Catafalque’s career, so I don’t imagine that anyone who has enjoyed any of this band’s previous output will start to care now.

Compared to other Thy Catafalque albums in terms of songwriting quality, Alfö​ld falls somewhere in the middle. This doesn’t grip me as much as Squrr or Vadak. That’s quite a high bar, and I don’t mean it in a disparaging way. Being in the middle of an unbelievably strong discography is to be an unbelievably strong record. I can see myself returning to this for years, as long as it doesn’t get lost in a sea of equally impressive Thy Catafalque releases. While I do wish for something truly and wildly different from Thy Catafalque, a solid genre-swerving release that stays in my brain is absolutely enough to recommend this to anyone looking for folk-y music or something that’s just a little off.

Rating: 8/10


  1. A csend hegyei
  2. Testen túl
  3. A földdel egyenlő
  4. Alföld
  5. Folyondár
  6. Csillagot görgető
  7. A felkelő hold országa
  8. Szíriusz
  9. Néma vermek

Total Playing Time: 43:30

Click here to visit Thy Catafalque’s Bandcamp