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Universal Totem Orchestra - The Magus CD (album) cover


Universal Totem Orchestra



4.14 | 119 ratings

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Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer
5 stars This album has the word epic written all over it. 80 minutes of music spread over only 6 songs that constantly evolves and changes. I'm usually the first one to complain about an album that is 70 minutes long or more, but not this time. For some reason it seems like the perfect length as it allows the band to take these songs to many different places and back again. And for me the listener lets just say the trip has been so rewarding that I keep jumping back on the ride, because not only do I look forward to experiencing those things I love about the album, but I know I will hear new things that i've missed before. This is often dark with that Zeuhlish rhythm, plus male and female vocals that are simply incredible. Songs go from patoral to intense, jazzy to heavy all at the drop of the hat. The piano is prominant, and I really like the angular guitar melodies.

"De Astrologia" is the longest track at 19 1/2 minutes. It's experimental intro gives way to a MAGMA-like vocal section. MAGMA fans have to hear this ! Both male and female vocals with a rhythm that stutters. It stops before 3 1/2 minutes as an energetic guitar solo takes over with synths.They're back 4 minutes in ! A change 4 1/2 minutes in as piano arrives.Male and female vocals are back 6 minutes in. Zeuhl rhythm takes over with piano as guitar lights it up. Great sound ! Horns come in around 8 minutes. An intense, uptempo soundscape comes in before 12 minutes. It settles down before 14 1/2 minutes as piano and chunky bass takes over. Female vocals join in. Nice guitar 16 minutes in. Sax follows as bass continues to throb. Guitar is back in place of sax. Piano and some huge bass lines follow. More guitar 18 1/2 minutes in. It gets intense one more time to end it. "Coerenza Delle Percentuali" features a nice aggressive sound as the guitar and piano are played at a fast pace. Spoken words after 2 1/2 minutes signal a more Zeuhl-like sound to follow of angular guitar and a heavy beat. Dual vocals before 4 minutes with background synths. Riffs come in followed by a spacey vibe 7 minutes. Female vocals are back 9 minutes in and they get operatic after 11 minutes. The sound changes 12 1/2 minutes in as drums pound and guitar becomes prominant. The guitar really lets loose at times. Dual vocals 14 minutes in. Guitar lights it up 15 1/2 minutes in.

"Les Plantes Magiques" opens with some beautiful piano as female vocals come in. Violin 2 minutes in. Sax follows. The tempo picks up before 5 minutes as the male choir jumps in. This one is very classical sounding and my least favourite. "Ato Piradime" opens with an IONA-like soundscape. Spacey with female vocals. It kicks into gear 1 1/2 minutes in with some great angular guitar. Sax takes over briefly and trades off with the intense soundscape a couple of times. Male vocals 3 1/2 minutes in. Bass, piano and drums lead the way, although sax and angular guitar come and go. One of my favourite sections on the whole album appears 5 1/2 minutes in. It calms right down and piano plays a relaxing melody. Sax eventually joins in and is replaced by those gorgeous female vocals. Sax is back and background synths. Nice. Vocals are back. It all changes 10 minutes in as a powerful Zeuhl rhythm takes over. Angular guitar 11 minutes in. He just shreds until the song is almost over. Female vocals are back with sax 15 minutes in. Amazing tune.

"Mors, Ultima Linea Rerum" opens with pulsating sounds. They are blown away by a heavy soundscape. A calm with sax follows. It kicks back in around 3 minutes. Haha this is great ! Piano is prominant as guitar tears it up 4 1/2 minutes in to the end. Intense. "Vento Madre" opens with female and male vocals as a solid Zeuhl soundscape of drums, bass and guitar supports them. Great sound. A calm with piano after 4 minutes. Sax 6 minutes in. Some excellent guitar a minute later as piano and drums continue. Male and female vocals return 8 1/2 minutes in. The heavy Zeuhl rhythm is back 10 minutes in. Vocals follow. Incredible ! This gets really intense before it ends.

2008 has turned out to be an amazing year for Zeuhl with this album and Jannick Top's "Infernal Machina". Add to those ONE SHOT's "Dark Shot" and i'm in heaven.

Mellotron Storm | 5/5 |


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