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Magma - Retrospekt´ẁ I-II CD (album) cover

RETROSPEKT¤ẁ I-II

Magma

 

Zeuhl

4.48 | 92 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer
5 stars It's easy to tell at first exposure if you're destined to become a true Magma disciple. If the experience feels like a rite of passage, chances are good you've been hooked.

My own belated initiation came in the late 1990s, with the blind purchase (on vinyl!) of the band's 1975 'Live/Hha´' double disc, generally regarded as the ideal point of entry for aspiring Magma novices. But this more recent (and likewise live) album, from a June 1980 reunion gig in Paris, may in fact be even better, presenting vivid sound quality, inspired performances, and a choice of material taking full advantage of compact disc technology: fitting two long, uninterrupted songs on a single CD.

Each is an album all by itself, the back-stories of which can be found in other, better informed reviews here at Prog Archives. 'Theusz Hamtaahk' is a relentless, hypnotic anthem for marauding alien armies, building in lock-step intensity for over 22-minutes before shifting suddenly into a more up-tempo but equally energetic vocal interlude lasting another quarter-hour, with the trademark Magma chants and harmonies interweaving and overlapping like perfectly meshed, pan-galactic gears.

And there's even more drama waiting in the opening chords of 'Mekan´k Destrukt´w Kommand÷h': a truly awesome introduction to an obvious fan favorite, judging from the rightfully ecstatic audience reaction. The entire 1973 album is presented in all its widescreen fury and grandeur, clocking in at a full 40-minutes, without a wasted moment among them (I'm assuming the quick fade to Bernard Paganotti's juggernaut bass guitar solo, near the mid-point of the opus, marked the vinyl transition between sides three and four of the original twin-LP release).

Over the epic length of each track there isn't a single instrumental break or vocal cue left to chance. And yet the entire set flows with astonishing grace and precision, albeit more powerful at times than a cresting sheet-metal tsunami. The remarkable, near telepathic synchronicity is all the more impressive when you consider how crowded the stage must have been: a total of twelve performers were needed to effectively render 'MDK', all playing and singing simultaneously.

I just now noticed the frequency in this review of superlative adjectives: remarkable, astonishing, awesome and so forth. Hard to avoid when writing about this band, but employed here without a trace of hyperbole. In deference to the Prog Archives guidelines I considered holding my rating down to four enthusiastic stars, but this one album captures the Magma sound so flawlessly that it easily wins a full five-star rave.

Neu!mann | 5/5 |

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