Catafalque / Corpses – an abrasive time capsule of harsh noise and doom

The name Catafalque is quickly becoming one mentioned frequently here at Astral Noize, and with damn good reason. Their use of harsh noise, drone doom and industrial nods has crafted a sound not short of horrifying, and across their quickly growing discography, they’re only getting better at it. On Corpses, Catafalque go back to their roots, releasing the first three tracks they ever recorded, alongside a selection of remixes and reworkings by friends of the band, and a brand new piece just for this album.

The first three tracks on this album show Catafalque at their most primitive and twisted. The complete lack of any industrial beats and vocals makes these tracks feel like a Sunn O))) vinyl beaten to shit, covered in mud and set to spin on a turntable, in the best possible way. Thick walls of fuzzed out guitar and droning noise layers culminate into a half hour of complete auditory darkness. Including a new track on this release was a smart move by the band, as it’s a great opportunity for them to show the various changes and developments they’ve made over the years. Granted, Catafalque don’t necessarily take this route, still lacking the head crushing industrial beats and wretched vocals of their newer work, but including all these new elements may have made this cut feel out of place when compared to the first three tracks. This newer track, ‘Outer Heaven’, is short and sweet, with a clean and hypnotic guitar line delicately playing over a thick wall fuzz, a surprisingly pleasant way to close the album.

This gentle end of the album is needed, as the tectonic slab of remixes and reworkings that make the second half of this album are a destructive force indeed. Given the source material, most of these aren’t remixes in the traditional sense, instead opting to make the original track more outlandish or abrasive. The Tyrant Flycatcher remix of ‘Ichor’ feels like a new song entirely, whereas the Fatalisé version of ‘Shallow Graves’ opts for the “less is more” approach. With just enough subtle additions and changes, this is by far the closest thing to a “typical” remix you’ll hear on this album.

Corpses will work you really hard, there’s no doubt about that, but in terms of walls of fuzz and chaotic noise, Catafalque are very quickly coming into their own.

Corpses is out via Trepanation Recordings on 14th February, and can be purchased here.

Words: Sean Elias

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