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ATTAHK

Magma

Zeuhl


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5 stars I Think personally this is one of their best, Zeuhl, jazz, avant garde, motown and allkinds mixed into one album. For those who have read some other reviews and stayed away from this album, i must say you gotta gotta have

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Send comments to zebehnn (BETA) | Report this review (#22363)
Posted Monday, January 12, 2004 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk
3 stars Asd far as I know , this is the last of their new material studio recordings for quite a while and If Blazquiz is still there Janik Top had left to form another band taking much the spirit left in Magma with him. A few years before Yochko Seffer and Faton Cahen had formed Zao (the second most important band in Zheul music) and at about that time Gauthier and Paganotti had formed Weidorge (after a track from Udu Wudu) , leaving Vander a bit alone. this is quite evident on this album although tere are still moments on here but too few to my tastes.

Note that this artwork sleeve is very much Giger influenced.

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#22366)
Posted Thursday, October 21, 2004 | Review Permalink
Syzygy
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Magma produced an extraordinary body of work from 1973 - 1976, when the ever changing line up revolved around the core of Christian and Stella Vander, Klaus Blasquiz and bass maestro Jannick Top. Apparently the creative partnership of Vander and Top was a stormy one, and following Udu Wudu Top quit the band. There was a Vander/Top tour, with the two getting equal billing, but following that they went their separate ways. As Magma Live demonstrates, thepost Top Magma were still a force to be reckoned with, but this album is proof that they were past their best.

Things get off to a promising start with The Last 7 Minutes (phase 1), which builds on the jazz fusion experiments of Udu Wudu and is a good slice of Zeuhl with some superb bass work from Guy delacroix, who is frequently overdubbed on this album so there are 2 bass parts. Spiritual is a stab at Zeuhl meets gospel, and is best seen as an interesting failed experiment. Rinde (Eastern Song) is a chance for Stella Vander to take a lead vocal over an excellent piano accompinament. It's not exactly old school Zeuhl, but it's a fine piece nontheless. Lirik Neconomicus Kanht is another track which doesn't quite work, mainly because of a rather irritating novelty keyboard sound.

The second half of the album more than makes up for the shortcomings of the first. Maanht (The Wizard's Fight Vs The Devil) is a highly enjoyable piece of Zeuhl tomfoolery, with some interesting vocal effects that fans either love or hate - personally, I think they work superbly. Dondai (To An Eternal Love) is a slower paced piece with jazzy chords that is reminiscent of early tracks like Kobaia, and also has a similar atmosphere to some of Popol Vuh's vocal pieces. A simple yet menacing bass line takes us into Nono (phase 2), a companion piece to the first track and just as effective, and which features Vander's best drumming on this album.

Attahk may not be Magma's greatest work, but it stands up well alongside Udu Wudu and is possibly the easiest album for the novice Zeuhl head to get into.

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Send comments to Syzygy (BETA) | Report this review (#22367)
Posted Friday, March 25, 2005 | Review Permalink
USPostalServi
5 stars The last review mentioned one song making him actually want to dance. I can actually think of 5 tracks on here that make me want to do it, the 1st, 3-5th, and last. Its unstobabe. I think its the amazing inclusion of such funk in the bass and rythym. I actually just remembered this album, and have listened to it and other magma massively in the last few days with immense pleasure. MDK, udu wudu, attack, and K.A., all of them nearly always make me go AH! SO GOOD! So I couldn't help reviewing it when I saw it up again. The best I can say is the music in here its compeltely its own, able to conjure up image and feeling that is also distinct. Really, I mentally oogle at it alot.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#22369)
Posted Wednesday, May 18, 2005 | Review Permalink
Progbear
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Definitely more of a group effort than ÜDÜ WÜDÜ. Also, more of an influence from contemporary R&B and black American spiritual music creeping in this time round. (explicitly so on "Spiritual", which is basically a gospel tune in Kobaïan!) This takes more of a turn towards fusion than the last three albums or so, which kind of shows Magma going full-circle, returning to their jazzy roots after some cosmic explorations.

This album finds Blasquiz somewhat marginalized, only really showing up for some odd alien vocalizations on "Maahnt", easily the strangest song here. The other tunes generally mate the distinct Magma intensity to white hot fusion playing, making this one incendiary record. Christian's voice has gone off on an R&B/soul-inflected falsetto tangent, which might rub some the wrong way, but which works for the type of music.

Alternately, "Rind[untypeable character]" and "Dondaï" are as close as Magma have ever come to "ballads". The latter is something you could even call "beautiful", a tune that wouldn't even scare Grandma. Yet it's utterly wonderful at the same time, utilizing the female backing vocals and layered keyboards to their best effect.

So, yeah...a little more of a conventional offering from Magma, but enough of their distinct personality shines through to make this one another winner. Probably one of the better places to start with the often rather daunting Magma oeuvre.

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Send comments to Progbear (BETA) | Report this review (#46581)
Posted Wednesday, September 14, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Album released in 1978 "Attahk". Album that reorganizes from state to dissolve MAGMA, and is produced. If heavy music was expected, you might be disappointed. Wicked respect was suppressed, initial abnormality returned though it was a light style, and it became a work that was able to be made only in MAGMA. It is a good work that listens easily.

As said by avobe,Attahk may not be Magma's greatest work, but it is still progressive work and recommended to any prog fan. Excellent addition to any prog music collection.

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Send comments to braindamage (BETA) | Report this review (#81183)
Posted Thursday, June 15, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars A slight step down from the previous masterpieces Kohntarkosz and Udu Wudu, the reason is that Jannik Topp is sorely missed. This is a four star album because there are some weaker tracks notable Spiritual, which is a gospel song in Kobian nothing more, no musical experimentation, more just an uninspired filler- the only really bad track on the album. Yet there are some brilliant tracks that don't fail to innovate and inspire the listener, such as the Last Seven Minutes, which has the Zehuel trademark heavy bass, Operatic vocals, Vander's shrieking, a great Funk feel to it, a high energy song full of excitement. The beginning bass on that track always reminds me of a rhino charging. Rinde is a nice track nothing special, it has a eastern european folk feel to it, it sounds lovely and proves how much of a versitile songwriter Vander is, but the song does not dazzle or amaze me; but it does have some nice moments. Liriik Necronomicus Kahnt, is a brilliant track, very unique I don't think I've heard anything like it before, it justproves that although Topp has left Vander has not lost his touch. It has some real funk vocals and again Vander really giving it all in the vocals; its good to know that Vander cares about his songs so much, giving so much energy, and loves them rather than composing a conveyer belt of contractually obliged songs. There iare some beautiful female backing vocals on that song which add to the strange fascinating music. Maaht is another winner, although perhaps one of the most bizarre sounding songs I've ever heard, great jazzy feel to it Vnader sounds like a narrator of a story, also are there these voices with strange kobian belching; Its supposed to be about these two warrior wizards Gorgo and Ourgon who go and fight the devil, you hear the two wizards chanting in high pitched voices, I think the Kobian belching may be the divil who has come to challenge them, in the end I'm pretty sure that the good guys win. I love that song definately original as well. Dondai is a pretty song, not brilliant but lovely sounding, its a little too cheesy In my opinion but some people will love it, its nice and not bad, but again if Jannik Topp was in the fold we'd probably hear a brilliant composition by him rather than this one and Spiritual. Nono, could quite possibly have been a hit single if shortened and sung in a real language, great vocal part by Klaus Basquiz who seems to be missing on the rest of the album. It has got a great keyboard part and this kind of anxienty to the music.

Although this album is not a perfect masterpiece it still has plenty moments of innovative brilliance, and stands head and shoulders above a lot of terrible albums released in 1978, need I say what terrible albums Genesis, Yes, Gentle Giant and Can were producing that year, so definately a strong album, just a few flaws. Magma did not sell out at this time like its comtemporarys. For 1978 this album would be a 5 star album, because Magma was still going strong and respecting their fans, but in the whole prog history it would be a four star album, not perfect, but definately a good purchase; you won't regret it. Only get it after you already own Udu Wudu, Kohntarkosz and Mekanik Destructiw Kommandoh.

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Send comments to Cheesecakemouse (BETA) | Report this review (#81325)
Posted Saturday, June 17, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars This is the worst Magma I've heard and for that I almost gave 2 stars - but Magma is always good (this could get 4 too, but the extraordinarity just doesn't hit anymore - after listening other Magma stuff). This can be considered as a weird pop album. Although the structures are nice and there's enough modification, it's maybe too straightforward. Album gets bonus from woman-singing (although it can be thought as awful). And the album is sympathetic (not enough).

But to say about pop album,, #2 Spiritual (Negro song) is a bit artificial - "let's get some gospel in this". Same is to say about #3 Rind(ë?) (Eastern Song). But this song is also good, when transforming into #4 Lirïïk Necronomicus Kanht (in which our heroes OURGON & ĞORĞO meet). It is refreshing to hear this song, but it is not very good actually, or funny. But at the end of this song 4:39 -> rhytm goes nuts and I like it!

#5 Maahnt (The wizard's fight versus the devil) is someway the best song, but still comes after the first song. Literal, song sounds like fight. It sounds like techno, and it could be in some funny fantasy video with some magic and post-modern jokes. A hit! This song is also musically nice, and very cool with its weird human noises and layers of melodies. PS. the start of the song is like Who's song beginnings. Worth listening!

#6 Dondaï (to an eternal love) is like a streched love song. Not bad, but not very special - although maybe one of its kind.

#7 Nono (1978, phase II) 2:46 -> the song is very likeable. I just don't like no-no-no.. and. I've had enough with all this weird language (when it's sang like this)

#1 The Last Seven Minutes (1970-71, phase I) has the most Magma-elements in this album, and it's rather good. It has also funky rap parts.

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Send comments to progressive (BETA) | Report this review (#94898)
Posted Wednesday, October 18, 2006 | Review Permalink
OpethGuitarist
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars The funkiest Magma experience.

In this highly psychedelic sounding and driving album, Magma take a sidestep from their typical routine and opt for something a little more spicier, if you will. The advanced jazz routines of Kohntarkosz are replaced with a more song oriented approach, albeit probably to the disdain of many Magma loyalists. Much of the album is up-tempo, relying on intertwining ostinatos, and essentially more normal transitions than would be found on other, superior albums.

This is not to say that Attahk is a poor album by any means. It is just groovier, so take that for what it's worth. An example being the danceable tune of Liriik Necronomicus Kanht, which is highly entertaining, but hardly the same experience felt while listening to the songs from Centigrade.

I came to this album nearly last in my Magma quest, so it's really difficult for me to call this album more "accessible" than earlier albums, as I found it just as challenging and enjoyable as many of their previous albums. The only thing that makes it easier is that the music is broken down, but I would argue that Attahk still makes for an excellent release in the field.

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Send comments to OpethGuitarist (BETA) | Report this review (#125706)
Posted Thursday, June 14, 2007 | Review Permalink
laplace
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Poor Klaus Blasquiz. On Attahk, Vander - having already lost the definitive zeuhl bass-player - manages to minimize the role of one of his most effective musicians, and thus the quality of the whole record. Now, Christian Vander is still a striking singer, drummer, pianist, acrobat, master craftsman, rocket scientist and composer and I cherish his vision of Kobaia, but to me, this is where he starts to misjudge the band's correct balance. There's no indication whether this album has any mythology or back story at all - already marking the disc as somewhat less than essential.

The album certainly begins strongly, with the prophetic "Last Seven Minutes" of truly propulsive zeuhl - it starts most suddenly and pressures the listener in the traditionally epic way. Also well-realised is the "Rindaë / Liriïk Necronomicus Kanht" mini-epic, which starts sensitively with a rare Stella Vander lead piece, and blossoms into some great zeuhl funk - not as insistent as "The Last Seven Minutes", but still very sly - four or five bite-size "story" pieces like this would make a great album. The opener of side two, "Maahnt" is Blasquiz's (perhaps too earlily curtailed) moment in the sun, as he intones and gibbers his way through a great piece of futuristic avant-fusion (think of Area's best moments.)

Sadly the other half of the album is poor. "Spiritual" is mercifully brief, being a gospel-blues style song with a total lack of tension. Everything else on side two is absolutely swamped with Vander's voice - while that's great for the commanding, histrionic moments earlier in Magma's canon, he seems woefully out of place on these more celebratory songs. I understand that an album needs light and shade, and that a band's priorities can change, but I was deeply disappointed in Attahk.

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Send comments to laplace (BETA) | Report this review (#132416)
Posted Thursday, August 09, 2007 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars This was the toughest MAGMA record for me to get into, although now I have to wonder why. Although I agree with Syzygy that the last three tracks more than make up for what was originally a tough first half for me. This almost seems like a Vander solo album, even to the point of dominating the lead vocal parts.

"The Last Seven Minutes" is a good start as drums, bass and piano lead the way. The vocal melodies are enjoyable and Vander's high vocal sounds become more prominant in that department. His drumming though is outstanding to say the least. "Spiritual" sounds like one of those gospel "revival" songs with the backup singing and everything. It's short and kind of fun though. "Rind" features piano melodies and vocals throughout. Vander is again the dominate force vocally with those higher pitched melodies. I can't help but smile. "Liriik Necronomicus Kanht" is uptempo with impressive vocal sounds to open. Actually the bass is the most impressive part. Vander comes in per usual 1 1/2 minutes in vocally. The bass and drums shine.

"Maahnt" features Blasquiz on lead vocals finally. The instrumental work is fantastic ! Widemann comes in with some great piano work. Trumpet blasts follow. The bass and drumming are unrelenting. "Dondai" is slower paced with piano. Drums, bass and vocals fill out the sound. This one is my second favourite. Good to hear the female vocal melodies. Blasquiz and Vander share the lead vocals. Great sound. Some trumpet ? 4 1/2 minutes in. "Nono" features incredible male and female vocals. This is my favourite. This one gets intense to the point you think something has to give. Zeuhl at it's finest. Some trumpet followed by clarinet. The vocals though are the focus and they do not disappoint one bit.

The last 3 songs are killer and i've grown to appreciate the earlier ones. Hey did you notice the sunglasses on the two guys on the cover ? Safety pins ?

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#155274)
Posted Thursday, December 13, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Rating: B

By the time Attahk was released (Magma's original swansong not counting the awful Merci and the comeback K.A.), Magma had already dumped several masterpieces on the world's unsuspecting ears (MDK, Kohntarkosz, and Live/Hhai). Udu Wudu marked a shift in direction but was still excellent. Needless to say, Attahk had some high standards surrounding it. Thankfully, it lives up to them. While it's still one of Magma's weaker CDs, this is easy to disregard because it's so different from their earlier releases, even the preceding Udu Wudu. The bass lines are still pounding and the drums are as precise and furious as ever, but the overall feel is closer to funk and soul than to classic Zeuhl. This isn't a problem, because it's fantastically composed and imbued with a furious, uncompromising energy.

Right out of the gate, Attahk proves that, despite the change in style, there is no change in the fundamental energy imbued in all of Magma's music. "The Last Seven Minutes" truly feels like Vander is trying to say all he can in the final seven minutes he has to live, and the result is spectacular. The intensity never lets up - the bass line pounding forever onward with the drums anchoring the rhythm section. On top of this are Vander's frantic vocals (augmented by a female choir) and beautiful keyboards. Quite frankly, it's one of the most compelling pieces of music in Magma's impressively compelling oeuvre.

The rest of the CD never quite captures the urgency of "The Last Seven Minutes," but that doesn't mean it lacks energy. "Spiritual" - just as its name would suggest - is inspired by traditional spirituals but is rounded out by a handful of Magma trademarks. Likewise, the dual set of "Rind" and "Liriïk Necronomicus Kanht" evolves from a beautiful piece for piano and female vocals to a funky zeuhl-esque piece similar to "The Last Seven Minutes." Also notable are "Dondai" and "Nono," both of which capture Magma playing with impressive energy and with the same funky edge that makes Attahk so worthwhile.

While Attahk sees Vander strengthening his vicegrip on the band (a bad judgment that ultimately resulted in the disastrous Merci), here it plays out well, resulting in a fantastic release somewhere between Magma's classic Zeuhl and fiery funk music played no holds barred. Not only is it an excellent release, it also happens to be the most accessible Magma CD, and thus a reasonable starting place for the band (assuming the listener realizes that Attahk is not representative of Magma's classic sound). Attahk gets somewhat of a bad rap for not being the classic Zeuhl fans of Magma's prime era know and love, but analyzed as a standalone effort, it's quite clear that Attahk is worthy of everyone's time. Not quite essential, but very, very good. Highly recommended.

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Send comments to Pnoom! (BETA) | Report this review (#163465)
Posted Saturday, March 08, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars Attahk continues in a furious marriage of jazz and Zeuhl that began with Üdü Wüdü two years prior. The famed Mr. Top has left, and is replaced by Guy Delacroix who is not without skill and the Zeuhl-touch. Vander's fearsome drumming is more prominent than ever. In fact, Vander is more prominent than ever. Attahk is where he becomes a bit of a musical dictator, and even steals the lead vocal role from fellow Kobaïan singer Klaus Blasquiz. The conceptual aspect is, again, extremely unclear, but I've had suspicions it may have something to with the People of ORK - whoever they are - namely two sirs called Ourgon and Gorgo and their attack on Kobaïa.

Attahk ranges from the irate dances to the serene Kobaïan gospels. It introduces synthesizers and moogs to Magma's sound, and re-introduces horns, which hadn't appeared on a studio album since '73's triumph Mëkanïk Destruktïw Kommandöh. Together with more instantly tangible compositions, and a new and very potent bassist, Attahk is one of the most accessible studio releases in Magma's discography, and certainly the funkiest by a very wide margin. The choir is at its most seductive and sharp, and Vander's squealing vocals are a fine fit.

Though still avant-garde and complex, Attahk is much jazzier, and much more conventional. The compositions are in a really different style than earlier albums. For a jazz fan, this may make the most fitting starting place. For a fan of the earlier, grandiose, neo-classical style of Zeuhl, this will be a bit of a let-down, but after a while, you'll warm up to it. It's essential for a Magma fan, but definitely not a masterpiece.

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Send comments to Shakespeare (BETA) | Report this review (#169667)
Posted Saturday, May 03, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars 'Attahk' is a weird anomaly in the Magma repertoire. I've had to rewrite my review, because I rather missed the point of it originally. A reappraisal was required! And with that in mind, I'll start out this revised review with a few words of caution!

Before you listen to this record, I need to ask you the following questions:

One: Are you in a happy, fun and silly mood?

If "Yes", proceed to Q2. This could be fun for you. If "No", you are probably feeling too sombre to enjoy this. I recommend you go away and listen to Pink Floyd instead. ;-)

Two: Do you like Christian Vander's singing voice?

If the answer is "Yes, bring on the full range of gurgling, cooing, tootling, howling and (occasional) screeching!", then you are in for a real treat here! Proceed to Q3. (I have to say, it's an emphatic "Yes" from me, but there's no accounting for taste, right?!) If the answer is "Oh god, no, make him stop before the blood starts pouring out of my ears!" then. you would probably be better off saving yourself the pain.

Three: What do you want/expect from this album?

If the answer is "Some intellectually-stimulating, grandiose and heavy Zeuhl", then head right on over to 'Köhntarkösz'. Your needs will be much better accommodated there. If the answer is "Lighthearted, wacky Zeuhl-Pop", then go for it! Press 'Play' now! I can only say that if the Kobaïan Saga was a computer game. then the music of 'Attahk' would be blithering merrily away in accompaniment to every Ork-squashing manoeuvre.

A final note of caution before we get on to the songs.

The big disappointment here is the way Klaus Blasquiz, the absolutely amazing Magma vocalist, becomes little more than a jobbing session backing singer on this record. Occasionally you can distinguish his voice from amongst the syrupy harmonies, but most of the time he is obscured by layers of over-enthusiastic production. What a shame!

Having said that, 'Attahk' is worth listening to; but let's just say that this is a completely different experience from Magma's classic repertoire.

We start out, paradoxically enough, with 'The Last Seven Minutes' - which, whenever I hear it, makes me think of Todd Rundgren. This song has just that emotional TR feel, almost like a tantrum waiting to happen, and I'd absolutely love to hear Todd's take on Kobaïan vocals! This is a rather enjoyable song. If there's such a thing as 'Zeuhl-inflected prog pop' then this might be it!

'Spiritual' is quite an oddity. When I first heard it, I found it depressingly naff. But revisiting it, if in the right mood (see above), maybe there is a bit more joy and genuineness in it than I first thought. well, maybe.

'Rind/ë' - focusing on piano and voice - has a sad, luminous quality. There's a Köhntarkösz-esque figure near the end which can only add to the maudlin air, as I become nostalgic for more successful Magma experiments!

'Liriik Nekronomikus Kahnt' might be my favourite song on the album! It's ridiculous, silly and fun! Kobaïan disco, anyone?! Can I use the word 'groovy'? It really is - much more so than 'Spiritual'. I love the bass on this. It has that driving feel of proper Zeuhl. And there's a little hint of chanting in the end part to remind you of classic Magma.

'Maahnt' starts off with an annoying disco sound. For a moment there I thought there may have been an error during downloading! But the drums and bass get going and they sound great, there's a nice urgency there. This sounds to me like 'Magma remixed'. I'd love to see what would happen if this got played in some achingly hip nightclub! The wacky voices could be a bit annoying, but the playing is good throughout.

On to 'Dondai', with its silky flutish introduction. Melancholy piano and Vanderian vocals ensue. Why do Magma often sound more melancholy in the major key?! (I've noticed that - a lot of their music is in the minor key, but the brisk, assured feel evokes righteous anger more than melancholy. In the major key they often slow things down and seem more reflective. Ok, GCSE Music lesson over.) This song is repetitive, and not in a good way. It just doesn't 'go anywhere' - normally Magma's music is propulsive, it develops, it has a destination; but this just goes round and round in circles. For me, the absolute low point of the album. (D'you know what. it reminds me of being 'on hold' when ringing a call centre.!)

'Nono', meanwhile, is a distinct improvement. It opens with mellow bass and fidgety drums; it's immediately more Zeuhlish. There's crisp tension, it feels much more assured. Most of the music on this album dispenses with the unconventional rhythmic behaviour that is normally a Magma hallmark - but here it returns, with those vocal lines that are sort of 'misaligned' against the underlying structure of the music. It just all sounds a bit more 'Magmatic'. As a bonus, we can even hear Klaus momentarily, although his vocals are 'treated' to make him sound fuzzily electronic. The goofy keyboards and guitar remind me of Todd again. Perhaps the most successful 'Zeuhl-Pop' outing on the album. Spot of the old "Dats Ï!" - that's more like it - and, indeed, a spot of the Köhntarkösz-esque 'revolve around a few chords, whilst the vocal does something rhythmically-unrelated over the top of that'.

My verdict. the overall sound of this record is a bit too 'shiny-plastic' to evoke the same raw response as 'proper Magma'. Although I adore Christian Vander's 'extra-terrestrial balladeur' singing voice, we get a bit too much of a good thing here - consigning Klaus to 'background texture' only is criminal, but then again this music isn't the sort of thing that requires his grandiloquently semi-operatic gifts.

Dating from 1978, this album is approximately the same age as me. But I think I've probably aged better! This is a fun and happy experiment that doesn't really seem connected to the rest of Magma's output. For that reason, I wouldn't pick this as your first Magma, however 'easy' it is to listen to. (And why would you want it 'easy' anyway?!) I think 'Attahk' is worth a spin now and again, for the sheer lovable silliness of it, but it's best enjoyed in isolation, whilst studiously avoiding any comparisons with other Magma gems.

Daft, cute and entrirely non-essential - three stars!

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Send comments to song_of_copper (BETA) | Report this review (#174650)
Posted Saturday, June 21, 2008 | Review Permalink
ghost_of_morphy
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Attahk is a very uneven album. I'm hitting this one track by track to clarify my thoughts before I give a grade.

The Last Seven Minutes (5/5): This is the track that sums up Zeuhl for me. If I were going to point to one track that shows what Zeuhl is all about, this would be it.

Spritual (1.5/5): Just as everything from opera to jazz has been given a unique Magma-sound twist, so Magma visits the gospel spritual form and gives their own spin of it. It doesn't work. Sure, all of the elements are there, but it just doesn't gel. This gets an extra .5 because it's possible to waste a good deal of time pleasurably trying to figure out WHY this track doesn't work.

Rindae (2/5): This one relies way too heavily on vocals and operatic theatricals. It's like a slow, drawn out aria without being entertaining or catchy. This would be a good track to skip.

Liriik Necronomicus Kanht (3/5): Good honest zeuhl, but nothing special here. Still returning to good honest zeuhl (which the rest of the album is) is a welcome contrast from the last two tracks.

Maahnt (3/5): Like the track before it, good honest zeuhl, but nothing special.

Dondai (4.5/5): A slower track with two vocal soloists singing over a very slowly building, almost hypnotic musical bass line. Ensemble vocals slowly emerge, the band builds things up very slowly and very tastefully, and this ends up as the other can't miss piece on the album.

Nono (4/5): A more energetic closer with some great drum work by Vander. Not a gem like Dondai or The Last Seven Minutes, but more interesting than, say, Maahnt.

Anyhow, this is a rather uneven work. There are some things on here that you just can't miss, but fair amount of material that you'd not miss at all. And a lot more of it is just hit or miss.

Three stars for Attahk. It's got it's moments and it's generally good, but there are lots of other things out there you might want to hear first.

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Send comments to ghost_of_morphy (BETA) | Report this review (#182987)
Posted Saturday, September 20, 2008 | Review Permalink
The Quiet One
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Jazz Rock Attahk

Magma's Attahk was my first purchase from Zeuhl foundators and it gave me mixed thoughts of them: some jazz rock, odd language and use of it, dark(generally), catchiness? All of these came to my mind when I listened to this; of course, the ''odd language'' was really about the language they created/invented, very inventive I must say; the way they use that language(Kobaian) is incredible, it's capable to create a lot of melodies which I can barely think of a 'real' language is able to do; dark mainly for the overall mood of most of the songs, created by the language and bass; catchiness, well the use of their language besides making dark moods and avant-gardish style, can also bring a lot of groove, which are fun to follow(despite being difficult to follow, lol).

The album starts with the breath-taker, The Last Seven Minutes, a Zeuhl track which compromises the Jazz Rock aspects the most, with an unbelievable drum/bass rhythm; as well with Avant-Garde here and there created by the vocals harmonies; as well as the catchiness I've been talking about earlier, created by the great vocals of Christian, as well created by the funky rhythm from the bass/drums. Overall, a killer opener, full of great harmonies and musicianship.

Spiritual is what I would call Zeuhl-friendly, an odd gospel/blues song. It contains nothing more than catchiness with a groovy rhythm a la Ray Charles' What I'd Say, to specify: the part in which Ray sings with the women: ''Oh! Uh! Oh!, etc, just that this time it is in Kobaian.

Rinde is a wonderful piano piece sung by Stella Vander, with a dark mood created by the backing vocals and by the way Stella express' her words. Wonderful piece.

Liriik Necronomicus Kanht has the killer bass/drum rhythm of The Last Seven Minutes, though the difference is that that's the only thing this song has besides some great parts created by the vocals, the song is quite repetitive and doesn't develop as The Last Seven Minutes did. Still a quite good song for the already mentioned aspects.

Maahnt another fantastic rhythm based song, with a somber/dark mood in the first 2 minutes, while the rest of the song has some very good synth stuff as well as trumpet/trombone stuff. The vocal delivery this time is decent, nothing special. A worthwhile song for those who like jazzy bass and synth work.

Dondai is a slow gentle piece, like Rinde but more elaborated; with 2 lead vocalists, with a subtle development, speeding up slowly through the vocals. The song also includes some subtle Chamberlin work(which is similar to a mellotron). Overall, one of the best songs of the album, without being bombastic on the vocals nor on the musicianship like in The Last Seven Minutes.

The album finishes, almost as good as it started with Nono. Opening with a catchy bass line, and soon Christian's drums/vocals and Benoit's keys enter. The song is in a quite speed-up rhythm created by Christian's hi-hat. The song evolves subtley, speeding up Guy's bass and with this the vocals, and soon a synth solo to come a la symphonic style. The song finishes as it started, dramatically with the repetitive ''nono, nono''(just think about it: ''no!, no!, no!'', there's something wrong on there in the studio, right?, hehe)

This is not typical Zeuhl, well Zeuhl is not typical, but well, you get it.... It's like to say Drama by Yes, or Trick of the Tail by Genesis, without comparing the potential of each of these albums, they're similar in style, in which each are great by their own rights, yet different from their classic stuff.

Definitely Attahk has its downfalls, and though overall it's not really excellent, this album manages to be a solid and unique album. The standout instrument in this album is definitely that unstoppable jazzy bass by Guy Delacroix, simply stunning all through the album.

3 stars: Recomended tp Jazz Rock fans who want to listen to an original twist of the genre, and its a good album for newbies, unless you're into Zappa and the whole Avant-Garde section, then start with M.D.K.

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Send comments to The Quiet One (BETA) | Report this review (#199800)
Posted Monday, January 19, 2009 | Review Permalink
MovingPictures07
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Zeuhl like you've never heard it before!

Many people overlook this album by Magma and I'm not really sure why. It is an extremely unique album, even among Zeuhl albums, and the funky edge is extremely welcomed from this reviewer. Isn't prog supposed to progress? I'm surprised at the reactions for this album, as the new grounds covered in this album really expanded the Zeuhl sound.

1. The Last Seven Minutes- Woah! What a way to start. I have seen videos of this live and the drumming is AMAZING. This has to be one of my favorite Vander drumming performances of all time, and everything about this song is pure Magma genius. The vocals are fantastic, and the instrumentation is perfectly upbeat. Danceable Zeuhl? The piano towards the end gives me goosebumps every time. Flawless. 10+/10

2. Spiritual- Gospel Zeuhl. as much as I do not like Gospel type music at all, I extremely enjoy this song, and that is probably the best way to describe it. This is a very pleasant song; definitely a unique step in the Magma catalog. Extremely upbeat and wonderfully executed! 9/10

3. Rinde- This is an absolutely beautiful song, featuring great vocal work from Stella and heavenly piano. Too bad it's so short. 10/10

4. Liriik Necronomicus Kanht- If you thought the vocals were weird before, just listen to this. All of the instruments create a fusion of sounds to perfection once more, and it all explodes in a masterful 5 minute onslaught. Everything comes together so perfectly that it is tough to describe through words. Genius! 10/10

5. Maahnt- From the futuristic opening, this is a haunting piece. The vocals here are hilarious. Try not tapping your foot especially to this one! 10/10

6. Dondai- A more peaceful contrast to the previous two songs, with a piano and drum-driven laid back atmosphere. This still continues the new style of Zeuhl that has been used all throughout the album in an extremely effective song structure and instrumentation. The bass line is hypnotic and the building vocals are masterfully sung. 9/10

7. Nono- A great closer! It continuously builds and builds until reaching a very neat keyboard part. This is, along with the opener, the highest point of the album. Magma that you shouldn't miss! This has a very demented, yet upbeat and futuristic feel to it. Flawless. 10+/10

If you haven't heard this, what are you waiting for?

A very unique addition to the Zeuhl catalog from Magma, but no less genius and way too overlooked.

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Send comments to MovingPictures07 (BETA) | Report this review (#200580)
Posted Sunday, January 25, 2009 | Review Permalink
Kazuhiro
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars "Live" that had been announced in 1975 was a masterpiece on which power and the idea of Magma were splendidly concentrated. An advanced result struck close to home to the listener by "Live" on one the top with the original outlook on the world and overwhelming performance power after they had debuted.

And, the music character of Magma since "Live" is gradually revolutionized. The content of each work at this time was always certainly offering the listener a sense of existence of Magma developing an exactly high-quality performance. However, the change in consideration to the music of the band might appear in the tune in "Udu Wudu" and this "Attahk" announced in 1976.

The secession of Jannick Top who one of the important people of the band and the change of the return might have caused a little confusion in the band. And, the discord with the member who had been supporting an initial band might also have given the trouble to the directionality of the band.

The band temporarily faces the state of dissolution. However, the band expands the width of directionality and the idea of music and has advanced further. The result was "Udu Wudu". As the change from "Udu Wudu" to this "Attahk", it is a point that the construction of the tune is refined from the chaotic world of the sound till then and the element of Improvisation. Or, the point that Christian Vander began to grasp the initiation for the song. These points might be important in the point to talk about Magma at this time.

Dash feeling of "The Last Seven Minutes". Or, a beautiful melody of "Dondai" will be able to discover directionality that Magma is new.

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Send comments to Kazuhiro (BETA) | Report this review (#237475)
Posted Sunday, September 06, 2009 | Review Permalink
Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Errors and Omissions Team
3 stars When first saw this cover, I though about it a lot. This is 1978 record, in these years, Alien movie was produced, with Alien himself designed by H. R. Giger, Switz (is he?) master of weird dreams. So when I looked to their eyes (on this cover), I saw his work here. But that's not necessarily true. I use just my imagination and deductive skills for that, because this way, it's more fun. And also I have to think about it.

Thinking about Zeuhl music is quite difficult. Instead of some people, I don't think that it's hard to listen to Magma albums. But what is hard is to think about them. This can be quite hard. Basically, this is mostly fast in pace jazz with almost choral-like singing. I maybe took wrong path, from newest to oldest ones. Just because I wanted to try it, do it same Zeuhl style, in other way. New point of view, perspective. I know that I can't compare much, but instead of K. A., this one is more repetitive, maybe like they starting to be out of ideas in these days. Of course, I'll edit this review later and see how wrong, or right I was.

Therefore, neutral rating 3(+), can be up to 4(+) in future.

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Send comments to Marty McFly (BETA) | Report this review (#239867)
Posted Friday, September 18, 2009 | Review Permalink
friso
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Magma- Attahk (1978)

Important: I've never heard another Magma album. I'll rate this album as is if it was standing on it's own.

Magma is one of those bands that are not so easy to find for the vinyl collecters. They never made hits (as fas as I'm aware of) and their musical style "Zeulh" is very close to Avant- Garde rock and Free-Jazz, which isn't very populair. This might not haven been the Magma album of first choise for me (reading all the reviews on PA), but now I'm very happy I've got this record! In fact, it's one of the finest new findings of 2009 for me.

In this album Magma shows a lot of disciplines, but it never looses it's own sound. The first track "The Last seven Minutes" has heavy jazz and gothic sounds (the latter being a musical genre that wasn't invented in 1978), The spiritual song has a dark Gospel music sound (yes I said Gospel), Rind and Lirlik Necronomicus Kanht have more of a worldmusic/fusion sound. On side two Maahnt has spacy weird vocals and a sort of marching theme with windinstruments, Dandrai is a rythmic song with a central piano theme with lots of vocal of Cristiaan Vander and the last song is more of a classic progressive track with choirs and classical-music chords progressions in the chorus and a inventive three bar's based verse theme. The album has no standouts, but it draws your attention thoughout. Only on Dondai there is a bit too much of the same chordprogression.

The overall sound of Magma. The drums and basslines are routed in the jazz-rock/fusion music of the seventies. The keys are more progressive, but almost never have a symphonic rock sound. No instruments like Mellotron or synthisizors are used. There are no guitars (something I just found out reading the back of my record) and I didn't miss them either I just found out. The vocals of Crhistaan Vander are hard to discribe. Unearthly voices with strange ways of deforming the sound are applied. However, on most of the tracks he sings clean in his own language (kind of nice though) with EXTREMELY extrovevert vocal techniques you've never heard before. Like Micheal Jackson meets a dark troll. He uses his second voice very often (the high male voice).

Conclusion. Owh yeah! I found a band with a sound I've never heard before! This is just totally new. I'm very excited for looking for other Magma records. From my point of view this defenitly a 3+ star recording for it's bizarre inventive progressive sound, it's experiments with different musical styles (gothic, worldmusic, gospel, psychadelic, marching music, fusiond). Actually, I'd rate this 3.7 if I could. The pure symphoproggers won't digest this, but the progger who also likes fusion, avant-garde, psychadelic music or is open minded in general will adore this!

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Send comments to friso (BETA) | Report this review (#246017)
Posted Saturday, October 24, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Great album. The Zheul in best. Unique atmosphere when liric voices give a unique combinatrion in this universe. Vander in another amazing performance. I like the voices. One siging and the others made a instrumental complement in space context. Great bass. The calm periods are mature and made a contrast with some fast and paranoid parts. I see Magma last year in Gouveia and they made a great performance. If you think that studio performance is unique and they don't play this in live concerts you are wrong. When they play live, they play with quality studio performance. Magma is a great band with some great musicians. Attahk is another Magma adventure with a great emotion in zheul universe.

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Send comments to João Paulo (BETA) | Report this review (#257345)
Posted Tuesday, December 22, 2009 | Review Permalink
Sinusoid
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Diet-Zeuhl.

The late 70's were dire straits for any prog groups still existing at the time. Magma decided to take a risk and infest their sound with huge R&B meals, a lifetime's recommendation of gospel and nice funk grooves along with a Zeuhl diet that promises fewer calories and more energy.

Newcomers to Magma might find this album a warm one to get into, the only real barrier being the Kobaian lyrics and possibly Christian Vander's falsetto shrieks. But the jazz, funk, pop, Zeuhl, etc. fusion will please some progsters as all instruments are well played, the music is still complex and the compositions sound carefully thought out. Among the album's best are the frantic opener of ''The Last Seven Minutes'' and the ballad-y ''Dondai'', one of the few inoffensive ballads I've found.

The only group of progsters that I think will get annoyed with this are those who are fans of Magma's earlier body of work. It can sound like a push for mainstreamity, but ATTAHK still has plenty of perks to keep the old fan around for a few listens (notably songs ''Rindae'' and ''Nono''). Heck, I'm a fan of the earlier Magma stuff, yet I believe ATTAHK is worth some value if you give it a chance.

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Send comments to Sinusoid (BETA) | Report this review (#266043)
Posted Saturday, February 13, 2010 | Review Permalink
Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal Team
4 stars Attahk is a Magma album that I had ignored because of my built-in scepticism against Prog albums from 1978. But as it turned out, I'm glad Magma proved me wrong again, this album doesn't show a band that was losing it, it's the sound of a band that stuck to their strengths but still continued to move forward through their unique universe.

The experiments with synths and RIO influences of Üdü Wüdüare mostly discarded, and they returned to the sound of MDK and Khöntarkösz: a dense journey full of prominent bass and drums, weird vocals, jazzy piano playing and the occasional brass instrument. And soundwise, they never sounded tighter really, I wish they had been able to record MDK with the same production standards.

The music is far more upbeat then their earlier works, at time it's even funky, invigorating, swinging and danceable. Despite these brighter flavours, I wouldn't call it more accessible, and certainly not more 'commercial'. It remains a challenging experience.

I enjoyed this album from the first listen, but even for an experienced Kobaïan like me, it has taken me quite a few spins to fully absorb and appreciate it. As usual Magma delivered a rich album, with many layers to discover: the intricate compositions, the vocal harmonies, the crazed drumming, the frantic bass guitar and so on. I'm really curious now how that other low-rated Magma album will become me...

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Send comments to Bonnek (BETA) | Report this review (#282378)
Posted Monday, May 17, 2010 | Review Permalink
zravkapt
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Post/Math Rock Team
3 stars This album features a great cover by artist H.R. Giger. It's the most accesible of Magma's '70s albums. But it's still weird compared to most prog albums from 1978. By the time this album was recorded Janick Top had left for a solo career, and Bernard Paganotti and Patrick Gauthier had left to form Weidorje. New bassist Guy Delacroix overdubs his bass parts; he does "Air" bass and "Earth" bass. On Attahk, Magma have a strong funk/R&B/soul influence which seperates it from earlier albums.

"The Last Seven Minutes" has great drumming from Vander. Before 2 minutes sounds like a drum machine with scat-like vocals. After some back up vocals. Love the bass starting before 4 minutes. Singing gets more intense. After 6 minutes settles into a nice groove with crazy lead vocals and lovely back up vocals. Ends with echoed drums. "Spiritual" is Zeuhl gospel. A happy sounding song, makes you want to clap your hands. "Rindae" has classical piano with Zeuhl vocals.

"Lirik Necronomicus Kanht" is Zeuhl disco. This song features kazoo-like vocals. I like the sound of the phased hi-hat. This song makes want to dance. Good back up vocals. I like when the music picks up and gets more intense with the operatic back up vocals. Nice Rhodes before 4 minutes. Music gets faster at the end. "Maahnt" begins with synths and drum fill. Then funky bass and complex but funky drumming. Lots of altered vocal sound including a belch. Later tempo increases with horns. Disco beat near the end. The song ends with the sound of a train/subway. On some CD versions the next song starts with the train sound.

"Dondai" starts with piano and a flute part on Chamberlin, then goes into a mellow groove. Later some subtle but effective Rhodes. Bass gets more busy and then an overdubbed fuzzy bass appears. Vocals get more dramatic. Calms down a bit with good bass. More Chamberlin. Drums get faster. Calms down again near the end with what sounds like vibes. "Nono" begins with a bass riff, Rhodes and vocals. Then a nice melody on Rhodes with harmonized back up vocals. A steady hi-hat pattern. Steady bass with more intense vocals and drums. Then great synth playing. Gets louder and more intense. Vocals chanting "nono". A voice going back and forth in the stereo spectrum. Slowly fades out. Ends with the sound you hear when someone dies in the hospital; the beep when the line goes straight on the machine.

This is a good introduction to Magma but not really representative of their sound. Magma's worst '70s album but still more interesting than most prog releases from 1978. The music is not as strong as on earlier albums, but the production is an improvement over previous releases. 3 stars.

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Send comments to zravkapt (BETA) | Report this review (#344895)
Posted Monday, December 06, 2010 | Review Permalink
SaltyJon
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars On Attahk, Magma goes further toward "typical" fusion than on any album before (or after). Gone were the side long/album long epics, to be replaced by shorter, more accessible tracks. What wasn't gone was the incredible drumming, out-of-this-world bass, and Kobaïan lyrics. Instead of the chanting style which was more prominent on albums like MDK and Wurdah Itah, we get a mixture of styles here - everything from the scat-like vocals on the incredible opener to gospel-style vocals on tracks like Spiritual. Many of the tracks have some incredibly funky bass and drum interplay - Guy Delacroix was a very capable replacement for Jannick Top. Just listen to The Last Seven Minutes, or Maahnt, or Nono, or Liriik Necronomicus Kahnt to see what I mean. Along with Vander, he's the one who really draws my attention on this album. Those tracks are my favorites, by the way - they're all incredible testaments of how intense Magma could get in a more compact setting. Especially The Last Seven Minutes and Nono - some amazing bookends to an amazing album.

After MDK, this was one of the first Magma albums I heard. Ever since those days so long ago, it's been one of my favorites. This album will appeal as much to lovers of fusion as to lovers of Zeuhl I think - the jazzy/funky side of Vander and co. really comes out full swing here. Also worth noting - the third track, Rindë, is now a part of Ëmëhntëhtt-Ré, so any sense of déjà vu you have while listening to that one after this one is fully justified. This is a severely underrated album in my opinion, I definitely count it among my favorite Magma studio albums, and a definite improvement over Udu Wudu.

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Send comments to SaltyJon (BETA) | Report this review (#362441)
Posted Thursday, December 23, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars Attahk ? 1978 (3.2/5) 11 ? Best Song: Maahnt Akin to the moniker that's been granted to Magma's 1978 release, this is heavy-handed, melodrama-drenched battle music. It kicks off with a forceful Jazz-fusion rave-up (piano and blabbering in tow) in the name of 'The Last Seven Minutes', which is the very first song that's been titled in English, or are the record companies acting as translating intermediaries now? What a noble act. Perhaps we could persuade Verve recordings to reissue the Billie Holiday boxset sans garbage next time. But you wouldn't know what I'm talking about, would you?

I said this was battle music, but it's really only that way for the first song. This then gets stranger by becoming possibly the most accessible and diverse album Vander ever had in him. 'Spiritual (Negro Song) sounds exactly what a southern gospel church choir would sound on a Kobaian Sunday morning. Following immediately is 'Rinde (Eastern Song)', which is a piece of futuristic Asian morose pop. It's supposed to be a haunting dirge, but it comes off to me as sounding rather directionless. I still enjoy myself. The music is entertaining and unique ? there's idiosyncrasy there! I'm just not having the best of times at this juncture. The idea starts wearing thin and you realize the weakness the band has in honest songwriting ability. The only real highlight here is the Wizard battle, 'Maahtn', with it's raging introduction and aggressive rhythm section. The rest seems awfully raw and uninspiring. I think it may be wearing off, that is to say the lava charm.

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Send comments to Alitare (BETA) | Report this review (#443278)
Posted Thursday, May 05, 2011 | Review Permalink
Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Having lost Jannick Top after Udu Wudu - an album arguably dominated by his powerful bass and featuring some superb Top compositions - Magma briefly dissolved before reforming in a new configuration. Attempting to kick-start a new phase in the band's history, the band move away from the Zeuhl territory they had defined and made their own and experimented in a number of different styles - The Last Seven Minutes and Lirik Necronomicus Kahnt are, of all thingsMagma funk workouts. Spiritual is a Gospel song (bearing the rather unfortunate subtitle of "Negro Song"). Rinde is a piano-based composition which sounds like a minimalist version of the Zeuhl the band are mainly known for, but which also sounds like an attempt at early fusion of the In a Silent Way variety.

You get the picture: this is an album which is in no way as cohesive and coherent as the best Magma albums, and feels directionless and random. It rounds off with a decent Zeuhl composition in the form of Nono, but even so when the best material on here would eventually be released on Emehntehtt-Re in the context they were originally intended to be heard, the album is left thoroughly inessential.

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Send comments to Warthur (BETA) | Report this review (#557410)
Posted Wednesday, October 26, 2011 | Review Permalink
AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Symphonic Team
3 stars "Attahk" is a conclusive quality album after a number of excellent albums in the 70s. By the time 1978 rolled around Magma had cemented their reputation as pioneers of the Zeuhl sound. Drummer extraordinaire and visionary Christian Vander is back with a vengeance on this album but he lost the incredible bass guitarist Jannik Top and thus a lot of that deep bass resonance is missing. The album cover is intriguing designed by legendary H R Giger of "Alien" fame.

The spacey Kobaian language is still a component and this album features perhaps some of the more amusing chants I have heard in Magma. At one point I can hear what sounds like "I am the seatbelt, I am the seatbelt, I am the seatbelt, I am the seatbelt ." The screaming sax, ominous piano crash, creepy off kilter spinning jazz spasms fused with peaceful flute are all part of the wonderful Magma experience. Some of the chants sound peculiarly like odd English phrases such as "an Amanda, cinder riff, so we live in dust we are, soon as I sing this song in Victoria, body laid to rest, hai hai hai se soudia suva. Turn the bodies saw you. Our butts are black."

There is a delightful twin sax melody line on side two, which is a vast improvement, and some deliriously weird time sig changes with Vander screeching like a parrot caught in a blender. The chanting grows in intensity towards the end of the album as does the atonal jazz patterns. I have no idea what song I am listening to on this as they all blend together, but it sounds terrific.

"Attahk" is not a Magmasterpiece but I enjoyed returning to this form of Zeuhl. I believe, after this album, the music for the revolutionary band became less cohesive and not up to the incredible standard. That is, until the astonishing brilliant "Emehntehtt-Re" in 2009.

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Send comments to AtomicCrimsonRush (BETA) | Report this review (#605474)
Posted Sunday, January 08, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars The best album of the Magma's "middle" period (Udu Wudu, Attahk and Merci).

A great thing on this, is the falsettes by Vander, he's constantly screaming and making the songs more absurd and even funny. But, when Rinde begins, you'll recognize he's not making a joke, he's a soul that is speaking to you

This album is very aggressive. It returns to the "killing" drums that characterized Magma from the start. And bass is very heavy too. But it's not Jannick Top who's behind the bass (Guy Delacroix is the man, and he does it very good).

A recommended album for people who don't get the first three records.

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Send comments to mau (BETA) | Report this review (#807046)
Posted Saturday, August 18, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars The late 1970s and early 1980s were a tough time for prog-rock. Disco was king, punk was hot and new-wave was on the horizon. Many great prog bands broke up (E.L.P. and VdGG, for example). Others tried to change with the times (E.L.O., Gentle Giant, Genesis etc...), often infuriating hard-core fans. Magma ultimately did both. "Attahk" would be Magma's last album of new original material for several years.

This album is often bashed by hardcore Magma fans, however it contains all of the elements that made Magma so interesting: a great rhythm section with bizarre vocals and prog-rock flourishes. The musicianship is great and the piano, bass and drums really drive the music.

Yes, the album does lag a little bit in the middle, but it gets off to a great start with "The Last Seven Minutes", which is downright funky. "Spiritual" is a bit of gospel flavored fun. "Rindae" is very slow and plodding, and is just okay. "Lirik Nekronomicus Kahnt" is a funky, fusion jam with complicated and bizarre vocals. Closing out the album are "Mahnt", "Dondai" and "Nono". "Mahnt" is fun and frenetically paced. "Dondai" is mid-tempo and has a nice groove to it. "Nono" builds up to a frantic pace, has a catchy chant and closes the album in style.

"Attahk" is not a cohesive album which flows seamlessly or hangs on a single concept like many of Magma's other albums. However, most of the songs taken on their own are very good and a lot of fun. This writer still feels that this album is very enjoyable and is funkier than anything Magma has ever done before...or since. While this album may not be among the very best that Magma has to offer, it is still quite good...especially if one considers how many of their British, Italian and American counterparts were in decline in the late 1970s. "Attahk" does not sound like a band in decline, rather it sounds more like an exploration of new territory. Unfortunately the market for this album was pretty slim. Hardcore Magma fans abandoned it, while it was not nearly mainstream enough to attract new fans. However, from the music to the H.R. Giger album cover, this listener considers it a minor masterpiece. 4 stars easily...

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Send comments to Fenrispuppy (BETA) | Report this review (#939087)
Posted Wednesday, April 03, 2013 | Review Permalink
Aussie-Byrd-Brother
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars Despite lacking the outright intensity and fully dark alien atmospheres that made `Kohntarkosz' and `Udu Wudu' such hypnotic and unsettling Zeuhl albums, `Attahk' from 1977 is still more or less an essential part of Magma's catalogue. It's not quite as immediate as those above mentioned works, but once you get past the initial disappointment of it lacking the more sinister elements (and don't worry, they're still there in subtle ways), you start to focus on everything it does right. Dark jazz still remains, the choral and vocal elements are given even more exquisite focus, the spiritual qualities are more heightened than ever, a heavy dose of ballistic funk has been implemented, and despite being comprised of seven shorter pieces, they are all tightly composed and some even rank among the greatest pieces from the band.

Magma leader Christian Vander mentions in the CD booklet how much he wanted to push his voice with this record, to especially focus on the best performance possible, and the results paid off superbly. Taking on the full lead role, the man has never sounded so gloriously inspired, passionate or complex, and he fills the pieces with a break-neck insane experimental scat vocalising that sounds like no-one else on the planet. Although he mentions as well that the drumming was not as much of a priority at the time, you wouldn't know it by listening to the album. The opening piece alone is full of so much furious and exhausting percussion fury, but throughout the disc Vander knows when to show restraint and not dominate the overall arrangements.

`The Last Seven Minutes' is one of the most frantic compositions ever from the band, full of quick- change tempo changes, devilish unpredictable drum fills and some supremely dirty grooves, with Vander's confident voice a lusty mix of squealing, yodelling and inhuman crooning. Right from the start the piece grabs your attention and it's the perfect punchy opener. `Spiritual' could not be more appropriately named, it's one of the most glorious and uplifting gospel-inspired works from the band. Hand claps, lovely shimmering Fender Rhodes, Vander and his female choir caught up in the most rapturous joy. The melancholic interlude `Rinde' has Vander's sweetly crying falsetto spiralling around dazzling classical piano. The relentless `Lirik Necronomicus Kant' has a maddening repetitive humming vocal melody over thick murky slab-like bass puttering away in the background with a chaotic finale.

The seriously weird `Maaht' brings back some of the unnerving sci-fi tension, a deranged blast with skittering drumming, sped-up voices, belching, ranting vocals and stomping call-to-arms trumpet/trombone fanfare and bluster. `Dondai' is one of the most romantic and sumptuous pieces ever to appear on a Magma album. Wistful and deeply passionate, filled with great spirit, some lovely call-and-response chorals from Stella and her choir a real highlight. Confident piano and some bass moments that creep to the foreground briefly add just a touch of tension, with nice Chamberlin bursts adding a touch of sophistication and majesty. The album closer `Nono' comes the closest to the apocalyptic menace of the darker previous albums. A sinister and brooding chanting female choirs builds in intensity to weigh down on the listener, with growled spitting vocals that turn proudly victorious in the final minutes. Oddly, the track also has a strangely powerful and triumphant symphonic prog finale that sounds quite unlike Magma, the bouncy and grand briefly even resembling E.L.P or Genesis!

Considering the level of upheaval and uncertainty in the structure of the band at this point (some of the Magma musicians taking off to form Weidourje), it's amazing to discover that the recording sessions still resulted in a cohesive and quality album. Admittedly the loss of Jannick Top's thick and prominent bass is instantly noticeable, but Guy Delacroix is not merely some poor substitute. Sadly, Vander reveals in the lavish CD booklet that the pieces `Dondai' and `Maahnt' were both originally over 25 minutes in length, so in some ways it's disappointing to know what we missed out on here (although parts of these ended up reworked on later Magma albums). However, `Attahk' is still an example of a band refusing to repeat itself, finding new facets to their sound and offering an energetic, fascinating and rewarding work.

Four stars.

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Send comments to Aussie-Byrd-Brother (BETA) | Report this review (#1205186)
Posted Friday, July 04, 2014 | Review Permalink

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