Catafalque – Dybbuk

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I believe that I said “if hell had a sound, Catafalque have captured a portion of it in their music” in my review of the band’s 2020 album We Will Always Suffer, and if I didn’t then I’m saying it now. The UK act once again bring us an offering of soul crushing auditory oppression on their latest album Dybbuk. Sound wise the album is a blend of drone doom, harsh noise, black metal and industrial, with an extremely heavy focus on atmosphere and distortion. Fans of Khanate, The Body, Merzbow and Godflesh will find plenty to love, as the band explore the four stages of possession through the lens of a victim of the malevolent spirit attached to the cursed Dybbuk box.

Artist: Catafalque

Album: Dybbuk

Label: Aural Music

Release Date: October 13, 2023

Location: UK

Written by James Sweetlove

I believe that I said “if hell had a sound, Catafalque have captured a portion of it in their music” in my review of the band’s 2020 album We Will Always Suffer and if I didn’t then I’m saying it now. The UK act once again bring us an offering of soul crushing auditory oppression on their latest album Dybbuk.

Before I dive into the music I want to say how cool I think it is that the band chose to focus the album around the Dybbuk box, a haunted item that I have seen in person at Zack Bagan’s haunted object museum. The item is an antique wine-cabinet supposedly haunted by a dybbuk, or a malicious possessing spirit believed to be the dislocated soul of a dead person in Jewish mythology.

Structurally speaking the album is broken up into four chapters/tracks that are divided into the four stages of possession: 1. Manifestation 2. Infestation 3. Oppression 4. Possession. As the album progresses and develops it gradually becomes darker and more threatening, as if the listener is taking this journey into hell with the victim of this malevolent spirit.

Sound wise the album is a blend of drone doom, harsh noise, black metal and industrial, with an extremely heavy focus on atmosphere and distortion. The tracks generally begin with haunting atmospheric segments made up of elements that will remind some of Merzbow, such as dark ambient, harsh noise and drone elements. Haunting spoken elements and other eerie sounds are worked into this mix. This gradually breaks down into harsher elements with heavy distortion, feedback and extremely harsh shrieked vocals that will bring to mind Khanate or The Body for many. Worked in between this mix are more clearly industrial influences that may remind the listener of acts like Godflesh.

This is an album that shouldn’t be entered into lightly, as apart from the intro, each track runs between 10 and 13 minutes in length, making for an intense and extended listening experience. If you like your albums to be abbrasive or to drain all sense of hope and joy from you as you listen, then this will be the album from you.

Overall this is a powerful auditory experience and one that takes you to dark and haunting places in the process. Whether you believe in the curse of the Dybbuk box or not, the haunting nature of this music is undeniable. While I do recommend this album I do not recommend it for social settings, parties, weddings or other events where casual music fans me be present, apart from maybe funerals.

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