Abaddon magazine

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Saturday, December 3, 2022

Review: Thy Catafalque – Vadak

Label: Season of Mist

Date: June 25th, 2021

“Vadak” got me thinking. Like all magnificent pieces of art should. But this one got me going in a slightly different direction. The main question to ask myself is how did we get to this point? Musically speaking. It’s not the theme of the record, not by a long shot, but the history of music throughout the millenniums and its evolution to the point where “Vadak” appears is taking over my mind for days now. Yes, the record is that complex. Technically, compositionally and with the sheer magnitude of people and places involved in it. If I needed to label it, and it sort of is my job as a reviewer, the label “world music” fits just about the best to this album.

So, how did it come to this? From the point where, probably, some Neanderthal started rhythmically clapping his hands or banging a primitive club off the walls of his cave. The depths of contemplation about sound altogether that brought ever more grandiose results of those eponymous acts of opera and symphony. And simplification within the popular culture that led to shortened ringtones on your cellphones. Not to mention the electronic music and its gradual return to the roots of humanity and primordial rhythmic, trance inducing, incantations.

Combining a couple of branches of science, one could probably draw a very fine line that should end with “Vadak”. All because the album feels like a stream of water, passing endlessly through shifting terrain, picking up different types of soil, mineral, taste, color… And once you lean into it to take a sip on a dry, burning day like this one is, you cannot but wonder does it taste differently a couple of steps further on. Or at the next massive turn. It gets turbulent at points, but then it calms down. But then you get to a rumbling waterfall, get tossed and turned into a maelstrom, reap from the life within… All the way into the confluence where it seems to end, but only to become another part of the bigger stream. Still that same water, but completely different, influenced by totally different lifeforms. And it goes on, never stopping for anyone of anything.

Thus it leaves me with an impossible task. As a reviewer, I should dissect this album, write about each and every individual drop of water that makes for this river. But, as it is with any given river, you cannot and should not judge it by the piece of it that you can capture with your narrow sight senses. Take it as a magnificent whole. Flow with it, experience every riverbed, island, grain of sand and fish within. Forget about where it ends. It’s just a geographical border. Follow the water throughout. That’s where music goes. That’s where “Vadak” leads. That’s where Thy Catafalque wants you to roam.