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





4.28 | 989 ratings

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4 stars MDK - Mindblowing Delirious Knock-out

From the first time I heard this album, Magma became one of the most applauded bands in my collection, and this album in particular became a subject for idolisation. There are plenty of reasons for that reaction; this music is absolutely unique, it's huge, passionate, challenging, visionary and much more. But a good 20 years (and almost as many Magma studio and live albums) later, my view on this album has changed. While I would still call it a monument of prog, it's not a Magma album that I have continued to play. At least not this studio recording of it.

While MDK is a stellar work of art, I don't think it brings out the best in Magma. The big orchestrations sometimes veer off in overtly dramatic overstatement. Sometimes it simply has too much going on to make any kind of impact: there's a brass section, flutes, piano, percussion, organ, piano, guitar and a 9-heads counting histrionic choir. It congests the mix and submerges the driving instruments of Magma's sound: both Vander's drums and Top's bass guitar barely rise above the wall of sound created by the rest of the orchestra.

Magma would re-record and re-release this work on plenty of occasions, sometimes in the studio, many times on live albums. In all those cases, Vander rearranged the instrumentation to bring the focus on the strongest features of this work: the heavy rhythmic impetus and the brilliant vocal arrangements. A good example can be found on the Theusz Hamtaahk Trilogy recorded in 2001. Also Vander's 1974 solo-album Wurdah Itah, that followed the release of MDK would take a more stripped-down approach.

The conclusion I draw is that MDK is a product of a band that was too good at everything they did when they made it: too many players that were too skilled and had too many ideas. It's an album born out of bold enthusiasm and creative imagination. Unfortunately they recorded it before they learned restraint. But Magma did learn that eventually and would never make the same mistake again.

Bonnek | 4/5 |


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