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





4.30 | 882 ratings

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The Quiet One
Prog Reviewer
5 stars Theusz Hamtaahk Part 3:The Ultimate (Prog) Opera

One of the most cult Prog Rock bands is the French band, Magma, and their third release, Mekan´k Destrukt´w Kommand÷h, is their most renowned work for a reason. You should know that, Magma indeed plays a one-of-kind style of progressive rock, influenced by jazz, but foremost classical music; M.D.K, specifically, sounds like an actual 'opera', you've got the hugely talented choir, delivering a wide array of moods, from the dramatic to the chaotic to the angelic and to the ecstatic, something you're typically expecting from an opera, and then there's the essential brass instruments giving the classical feel.

The actual band compromised of bass, guitar, drums/percussion and keyboards, aren't the main protagonists as you would have thought, although they're obviously an integral part of the music. The actual highlight of Magma's music is, overall, the compositions and the execution of these; it's the unique blend of the dynamic rhythm section with the complex choral work and the backing horns, though for me it's primarily the euphoria you experience with the sum of all these elements that makes Magma's music so original and so good, but M.D.K specifically.

Being sort-of an 'opera', you should expect a story, right? Well, as you should know, the lyrical work of this band is incomprehensible, unless you are one of those fortunate (or unfortunate?) guys who have Koba´an as a school-subject, it's really impossible to know what they're saying. Anyway, to tell you the truth, I couldn't care less if the singing is in a made-up language; Koba´an is undoubtedly a very ingenious language that works perfectly to express whichever feeling you want from music. Since I grew up listening to grandiose operas such as those from the maestro Giacomo Puccini, I am certainly able to perceive the same unique vibe and energy delivered in those operas when listening to M.D.K, so the operatic kind of vocals are really a bonus, so is the occasional ''yodeling'' which resembles Leon Thomas' style of vocals, the singer of the grand free jazz composition, The Creator has a Masterplan.

As for what we can get to know about the story is that, it tells about the fictional planet Koba´a and one of its prophets, Nebehr GŘdahtt, informing the people from the Earth that so as to be saved from themselves they should believe in the supreme being, Kreuhn Kohrmahn. However, the humans reject this at first (no surprise), fortunately they later begin to see the enlightment and follow Nebehr GŘdahtt. You can easily deduce by knowing the story solely, that the music will obviously have a lot of dramatic and tense moments.

So the question now is, how did M.D.K. became Magma's most significant and remembered album since undeniably most of Magma's works are of equal magnitude in composition and musicianship terms? Well, Mekan´k Destrukt´w Kommand÷h with its single 38 minute song divided in 7 tracks is one of its unique attractions. Another of its singular aspects of the album is that each track is mainly constructed in the basis of progression, which means that each song slowly evolves, and each passing minute the more instruments are involved and the tighter the music becomes, yet the rhythm rarely changes.

M.D.K being the most opera-driven of all Magma's albums is definitely one of its unique and greatest charms. It has the perfect balance of the debut's complexity and K÷hntark÷sz's darkness. While M.D.K might not be as fun or as groovy as 1001║ Centigrades can be, M.D.K. is undoubtedly Magma's most rewarding album in ecstatic terms.

When it comes to the composition of the entire 'epic', as already stated, it's very inclined in Opera themes, the melodies and vocals are extremely reminiscent of that style of classical music. While when it comes to the jazz/rock and complex part of the music, it definitely reminds me of the complexity and big band work by the one and only, Frank Zappa. The whole composition is flawless, with seamless transitions, though, unquestionably, the apex of it is Mekan´k Kommand÷h with the unbelievable choral work that slowly starts getting more complex with the outstanding supportive band full-filled with drums, vibraphone, organ, bass and horns. The simple guitar solo that appears after the climax, while for some it may be seen as anti- climactic, for me its appearance is crucial and of very effective use, showing that that was the peak of the album and that what comes next will not be by any means intense.

The closing track, KreŘhn K÷hrmahn Iss De HŘnd´n, is indeed Zeuhl music in its first two minutes, meaning that it's 'celestial music' with out-of- this-world vocal aerobics, while the remaining minute is a haunting ending that gives you an insight of how the story ended, the people of the earth finally praising the supreme being, KreŘhn K÷hrmahn, in Koba´an. An extremely original way of closing such a masterpiece, it's so unexpected.

Trying to conclude the review, M.D.K. definitely marked a point in Magma's discography and surely in music history; both previous albums to this were headed more towards jazz rock, while what would come next would vary, from the very dark themed, to the more accessible, yet all of highly considerable quality and originality. While the music of M.D.K. or Magma for that matter, may not be the most accessible or, going to the other extreme, complex, I sincerely doubt we, music fans, will ever hear something like this and that's something to really admire.

A masterpiece created by Magma and definitely an essential album if you're a serious Prog fan.

The Quiet One | 5/5 |


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