Album Of The Year 2021 – Number 28

Welcome to Day three of my countdown series, ‘Album Of The Year 2021 Top 30’.

All I really wanted to reiterate before diving in to my third choice, is that I am so happy to be able to even do this series this year. In the summer, it was looking bleak as I wasn’t interested in anything other than putting one foot in front of the other and being a dad to my children. However, thanks to the support of many of my friends and loyal readers, I returned from the brink and I am now re-energised with passion and a renewed vigour. It feels great!

A quick reminder, all of my choices between 16-30 are brought to you in no real order to speak of – such a grading would be arbitrary. Instead, if the album appears in the list, it deserves its place. No arguments, no excuses; it’s here on merit and because I loved listening to it. Simple as that.

On that note, on with the show…

Number 28

Thy Catafalque

“Vadak”

Season Of Mist

Release Date: 25 June 2021

Score Of Much Metal: 92%

To see an album like this in my final top 30 albums of the year is perhaps testament to two things: firstly, the way in which my mind has opened in the last few months to all sorts of new music that may not have been on my radar previously. Secondly, it simply demonstrates the fact that ‘Vadak’ is a great album, chock full of interesting and engaging music.

This being my first real exposure to Thy Catafalque and the musical visions of  Tamás Kátai I have come back to ‘Vadak’ for repeated listens consistently throughout the past few months. Nothing else in 2021 offered this kind of listening experience, another feather in the Kátai cap because, in an age when it’s getting harder and harder to come up with new ideas, Thy Catafalque are genuinely rather unique.

If anything, my feelings towards ‘Vadak’ have deepened since I reviewed it nearly six months ago, meaning that were I to review it now, I may have added another percentage point or two to the final score. And that’s even with the inclusion of a saxophone at points. It meant that there was no way I couldn’t include this multi-textured, multi-faceted album in my ‘best of 2021’ list.

What I wrote at the time:

“Essentially a one-man affair, Tamás is responsible for guitars, bass, synths, programming, and primary vocals. He does tend to invite others into his musical world, with ‘Vadak’ being no different. On this record, there are no fewer than sixteen guests, offering their talents with vocals, violin, saxophone, redpipes, trumpet, and guitar, to name but a few. 

It is a truly avant-garde affair, with masses of competing influences throughout… If I had to suggest a core sound, I’d suggest it might be experimental black metal, but this is a vast and gross oversimplification…At its heart, ‘Vadak’ is a heavy record, but Tamás is not shy of incorporating anything into his music that he believes will enhance the experience. From electronic, to pop, from folk to industrial, from black metal to melodic death metal, from jazz to Gothic rock…

What could have been a complete mess is actually an amazing journey through sounds, textures, and atmospheres that all seem to work together incredibly well. I am astounded at the talents of Tamás because he has managed to create something that sounds truly unique to my ears whilst also pulling me along for the ride.”

Read the full review here.

The list this year so far…

Number 29

Number 30

‘Honourable Mentions’

Also, if you’ve missed my lists from previous years, you can check them out here:

2020

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

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