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Magma - Mekan´k Destrukt´w Kommand÷h CD (album) cover





4.30 | 902 ratings

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4 stars Can I do this?

Can I review this intimidating creature? I have no idea what it really means. And not because the language is not English. I listen to foreign language vocals every single day and while I don't know what the words mean, I can often understand the emotions the vocalist is conveying. Not here. I find the secrets mostly impenetrable. Do I like the music? Does it move me? I honestly couldn't tell you. I often feel differently about the album on different days, something which doesn't happen often for me. I suspect that outside of the Magma fan base, one's tolerance for an experience like this has more to do with situation/surroundings and state of mind/mood. Listening to it while writing is somehow stimulative. Listening to it in a darkened bedroom can be creepy but effective. Listening in my car during rush hour makes me want to kill other drivers.

Probably more accurate than saying "I like it" would be to say I appreciate it, and very much so. It is amazing music. This continuous 39-minute endurance test pummels the listener with repetitive waves of building tension, the "background" aura of the music always sounding similar, while the foreground of the beast is decorated with wild vocals and horns. It is the vocals that are so mind blowing here. This goes beyond just elaborate construction, it is almost pathological how much time and effort must have gone towards getting the female operatic chorus just perfect. The chants, the wails, the off-setting male guttural sounds, all blended over intense music into this cacophony which sounds like a soundtrack for life beginning again in the muddy pools of a post-apocalyptic planet. Or perhaps the soundtrack for a killer walking to the gallows. Or maybe a kid furiously pumping the pedals of his bike as he heads to the field to beat up another kid he's been jousting with. Occasionally there are brief respites where the incessant vocals fall away or simmer in volume, giving you but a moment to catch your breath, before they return in earnest and perhaps with driving electric guitar behind the vocal line to emphasize more power. It can be exhausting or exhilarating, again, I believe having as much to do with how you feel than anything else. I love how comments from other reviewers have ranged from "sexy" to "addictive" to "sick and somber" to "perfect" to "not music" to "an excerpt from a 1930s fascist rally" and finally to my favorite, "a rant following a nervous breakdown---I even smell burnt almonds." Put those comments together in your head and you'll have some idea what you're in for.

I've wracked my brain trying to figure out how to adequately review such an album as this and ultimately failed to capture it. But perhaps the less said the better. Sometimes a person simply needs to hear the music to experience it. It's an amazing accomplishment and despite being one I don't always enjoy, deserves the high rating for its audacity and true progressive spirit.

Finnforest | 4/5 |


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