By Dr Abner Mality

There aren’t many releases I’ve been looking forward to more than this. The previous release from Thy Catafalque, “Rengeteg” was one of the most awe-inspiring records I’ve heard…a top contender for best release of the 21st century so far.  That was a few years back and since then, I’ve been waiting to see what Hungarian musical genius Tamas Katai would come up with next.

Any release by Thy Catafalque takes many listens to fully absorb and “Sgurr” is no different. Having mulled over it for over a month, I can safely say that “Rengeteg” still stands as the towering achievement of Thy Catafalque, but “Sgurr” is nothing to be ashamed of. It’s just that “Rengeteg” was so huge and engulfing…I don’t get that same feeling from “Sgurr”. But it you enjoyed the unpredictable and multi-layered combination of prog, folk and very heavy metal that Katai and friends have performed before, you’ll find nothing to disappoint here.

Thy Catafalque retains their very Hungarian/Middle European feel here…in fact, I’d say they increase it. It’s noticeable whether the song is a more folk-oriented or metallic in nature. That Hungarian feeling is bred directly into the riffs themselves. There are two monster 15 minute plus tracks that journey from almost Bathory-style heaviness to abstract ambience and all points inbetween. Those tracks are compelling but unlike the similar epics on “Rengeteg”, they drag a bit. More intense are the shorter cuts like the superb folkish “Alfoldi kosmosz” and the heavy, pounding “Jura”.  Throughout the course the album you hear a huge cornucopia of sounds that are expertly integrated into a cohesive whole.

“Sgurr” didn’t touch me in the same way “Rengeteg” did but I can chalk that up to personal taste, pretty much. If you want truly progressive metal with an exotic flavor, I can’t recommend many bands more than Thy Catafalque.