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Magma - mhnthtt-R CD (album) cover





4.24 | 564 ratings

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Luis de Sousa
5 stars There are two sorts of people in the world, those that love Magma and those that load Magma. The sounds explored by Christian and Stella Vander throughout these past 40 years will hardly leave anyone passive, such is its power and fracturing stance. This can be observed in the disparity of ratings the band's alba get at this forum.

This album follows the trademark sound built with the Khontarkosz LP, heavily choral, backed up by drums, slightly distorted bass and piano. To these instruments add the traditional electric piano, the guitar and here in mhnthtt-R the vibraphone. Once more there are no brass instruments, with the chorus pretty much filling in for their task.

The first impression from listening this new LP is that it might have well been recording in the 1970s, the modern recording quality is there, but there's no feeling of ageing in Magma's work; the freshness of Zehul is all there. Both in vocals as in instrumental execution, there is nothing left to be desired for in the LP, much to the contrary.

In terms of composition this work is also Magma at their best. The usual throbbing bass and profuse drumming are there in a breathless rhythm, taking the listener through a series of evolving melodies that tell the story of mhnthtt-R in a very cohesive manner. And in spite of its overall overwhelming tone, there are though some introspective moments of great sensibility, such as the fourth movement. Those knowledgeable of the band's live work may recognize some of these melodies, especially Hhai, in the second movement, but in a much more complete, powerful and sentimental rendition. Still, the most special about this LP is the way the chorus is used, with a level of lyricism very rare in Rock recordings. Christian Vander uses is voice in lower keys, producing deep and sentimental sections (here contrasting with the 1970s recordings) whereas the female voices can do some real wonders, lending that sense of grandiosity patent in Magma's most acclaimed works.

The DVD that makes company to this record is a serious plus, that frames quite well the final product. Christian Vander is incredibly demanding in studio and seems perfectly conscientious of where he wants to lead his musicians. Alba like these simply do not happen by chance.

All in all, this is Magma again in great form producing what is possibly the best album of this century. The lack of Christian Vander's falsetto vocals and some restrain in repetitiveness may make this LP a very good place to start exploring this band's outstanding legacy.

Now that it is clear to what sort of people I belong to, time for the negatives. The only thing to point here is the lack of a brass section. Indeed the choral work is of the best you can hear in progressive music, but the brass instruments could further refine the final work with a wider symphonic tone. Such is the case in the band's masterpiece, Mekank Destruktw Kommandh, but well, that's a 7 star album.

Luis de Sousa | 5/5 |


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