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Magma - Attahk CD (album) cover

ATTAHK

Magma

 

Zeuhl

3.69 | 240 ratings

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Pnoom!
4 stars Rating: B

By the time Attahk was released (Magma's original swansong not counting the awful Merci and the comeback K.A.), Magma had already dumped several masterpieces on the world's unsuspecting ears (MDK, Kohntarkosz, and Live/Hhai). Udu Wudu marked a shift in direction but was still excellent. Needless to say, Attahk had some high standards surrounding it. Thankfully, it lives up to them. While it's still one of Magma's weaker CDs, this is easy to disregard because it's so different from their earlier releases, even the preceding Udu Wudu. The bass lines are still pounding and the drums are as precise and furious as ever, but the overall feel is closer to funk and soul than to classic Zeuhl. This isn't a problem, because it's fantastically composed and imbued with a furious, uncompromising energy.

Right out of the gate, Attahk proves that, despite the change in style, there is no change in the fundamental energy imbued in all of Magma's music. "The Last Seven Minutes" truly feels like Vander is trying to say all he can in the final seven minutes he has to live, and the result is spectacular. The intensity never lets up - the bass line pounding forever onward with the drums anchoring the rhythm section. On top of this are Vander's frantic vocals (augmented by a female choir) and beautiful keyboards. Quite frankly, it's one of the most compelling pieces of music in Magma's impressively compelling oeuvre.

The rest of the CD never quite captures the urgency of "The Last Seven Minutes," but that doesn't mean it lacks energy. "Spiritual" - just as its name would suggest - is inspired by traditional spirituals but is rounded out by a handful of Magma trademarks. Likewise, the dual set of "Rind" and "Liri´k Necronomicus Kanht" evolves from a beautiful piece for piano and female vocals to a funky zeuhl-esque piece similar to "The Last Seven Minutes." Also notable are "Dondai" and "Nono," both of which capture Magma playing with impressive energy and with the same funky edge that makes Attahk so worthwhile.

While Attahk sees Vander strengthening his vicegrip on the band (a bad judgment that ultimately resulted in the disastrous Merci), here it plays out well, resulting in a fantastic release somewhere between Magma's classic Zeuhl and fiery funk music played no holds barred. Not only is it an excellent release, it also happens to be the most accessible Magma CD, and thus a reasonable starting place for the band (assuming the listener realizes that Attahk is not representative of Magma's classic sound). Attahk gets somewhat of a bad rap for not being the classic Zeuhl fans of Magma's prime era know and love, but analyzed as a standalone effort, it's quite clear that Attahk is worthy of everyone's time. Not quite essential, but very, very good. Highly recommended.

Pnoom! | 4/5 |

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