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Magma - Theusz Hamtaahk - Trilogie CD (album) cover




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5 stars Being a collector with special interest in progressive rock, and after having listened to more than 100 albums of progressive rock through the last 20 years, I find that Magma and Theusz Hamtaakh is one of the most important contributions to progressive rock as a musical style.

Any fan of progressive rock, and even anybody with an interest in musical history, should get a copy of Theusz Hamtaakh, especially the 1974 BBC London recording of the first movement is fabulous.

This is really 70's music, and the spirit of the 70's is all around in this magnificent example of how progressive rock masters were thinking back then.

It is also a frontrunner example of falsetto vocals used in hard rock, extremely heavy drums and bass, the repetition as a musical building block, and many other features that had its full blossom in releases by other and more widely acclaimed groups and concepts that came later on.

One of the most impressing facts about this music is that it has inspired musicians of so many different styles, from 80's heavy rock to 90's techno, nobody remained uninfluenced by Magma. Since Magma is utterly ecclectic music, it has also inspired composers in combining styles and crossing over traditional boundarys between the cirkus, the concert hall and the rock/jazz club stage. I bet Mike Patton had listened to the track "Aina" from the 1970 release "Magma" before he made the first Mr. Bungle album!

No words can describe - just go and get a copy of this one!

Report this review (#44192)
Posted Thursday, August 25, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars All I can say is : please, have a listen to this triple live album, it's really magnificent ! The entirety of the Theusz Hamtaahk trilogy (Theusz Hamtaahk, Wurdah Itah, Mekanik Destruktiw Kommandh), 132 minutes of pure zeuhl. If you're not familiarized with this kind of music, this live collection would be the perfect album to begin with. A masterpiece, even if I still prefer the live albums Hhai Live and Opra De Reims 1976. But this one, recorded 30 years after Magma's creation (so, in 2000) is perfect.
Report this review (#164043)
Posted Sunday, March 16, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is a fantastic and ambitious live project, containing more or less the equivalent of three symphonies of music performed over two nights. And Magma pulled it off brilliantly.

This was my introduction to Theusz Hamtaahk (Time of Hatred), which is a fantastic piece of work that stands up quite well to Mkank Dstruktw Kmmandh--in fact, with its marching beat and slow, relentless pace, the music would almost seem to tell the MDK story even better than MDK itself does! My favorite moment in the piece is track 3, "Dmb wlss Dlhn," where the chords suddenly drift off into a strange and alien land, with sensitively-sung triadic and quartal vocal harmonies floating above, like lost fragments of a hymn. (I know I'm not the only one who likes this part, as, if you listen carefully, you can hear a member of the audience exclaim in full digging-it mode.) Then, sit back and watch it build, as with Magma it always does. The conclusion of Theusz Hamtaahk, which starts with "Slibenli Dh Theusz" (track 8) is deliciously climactic, where a simple B - C - D triadic movement is quickly built to a resounding and immensely satisfying chorus. I should note that Theusz Hamtaahk is probably the most quotable Magma piece, if you want (or dare!) to show off your Magma cred--try peppering your conversations with an occasionally spat-out growl of "Theusz Hamtaahk!" or a sudden rousing cry of "Slass!!" and watch peoples' heads turn.

I'm also a big fan of the performance of MDK on Disc 3--in fact, it is my favorite rendition of it in my collection. Several parts of it have been reworked since it was originally committed to vinyl in the 70s, and the ending is perhaps not as crunchingly apocalyptic as the original album (lack of brass will do that to you), but overall I think the changes make it a more cohesive and accessible work. And hearing the crowd enthusiastically whoop along with the band in the conclusion is also very satisfying to a die-hard progger like me.

Fortunately, this handsome box set conveniently comes with full lyrics so you can embarrass yourself by singing along in public--translations and pronunciation guide, however, you'll have to come up with yourself.

Three CDs of Magma's most uncompromising work may be a challenge to some (i.e. to those who Mike Oldfield might refer to as "cloth-eared nincompoops"), but if you enjoy Magma's music, this is absolutely an album to own and cherish.

Report this review (#226617)
Posted Tuesday, July 14, 2009 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars This is the first complete "Theusz Hamtaahk" trilogy to be released in one package. In this case a 3 cd box set.This was recorded live in 2000 during their 30th anniversary concerts. It's basically the same lineup that would record "K.A." the following year.This is very highly rated by the fans. RYM site has it tied for first with "Retrospektiw I-II" as the highest rated MAGMA album while the Gnosis site has it in second after "Live / Hhai". For me it's an excellent live recording but i'd rate a few other live MAGMA albums above it. I think fans of "K.A." though will fall over themselves at how good this is.

Disc One is the "Theusz Hamtaahk" suite that was composed by Christian Vander between 1970 and 1973.This is the most stripped down lineup (8) that did these three compositions. Pretty much all of these tracks blend into one another.The chanting is certainly the prominant feature of this lineup much like that 1973 lineup that did "MDK". And it is pretty amazing to listen to the five singers (on this disc) work it up into a frenzy at times. Drums, piano and bass standout the most after the vocals.

Disc Two features a 10 member lineup and again the songs blend into one another making this come across as one long suite.This is the "Wurdah Itah" suite composed by Christian Vander in 1971.

Disc Three is the "MDK" suite and it boasts the largest lineup of 14 people and it's the only one with horns (trumpets & trombones).This suite was originally composed by Christian Vander in 1972 and is no doubt the most well known of the three.The "Nebeha Gudahtt" track is my favourite part of this compilation. It opens with a Bussonet bass solo and the crowd cheers wildly after 1 1/2 minutes but he keeps going then it all picks up after 2 minutes. Nice.The drums join in then Mac Gaw on the guitar. It's building. So good ! Electric piano from Borghi joins in as the guitar rips it up.Vocals after 6 minutes. How good is this ! It blends into "Mekanik Kommandoh" my second favourite piece on here.

For those of you who rate "K.A." as your favourite MAGMA studio album I would hunt this down at all costs. If your like me and don't have "K.A." in your top five of favourite MAGMA studio albums then it may not be worth the expense.

Report this review (#503221)
Posted Sunday, August 14, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars After a long hiatus, Magma return with their most ambitious live album yet, compiled from a series of live performances of the classic Theusz Hamtaahk trilogy - which includes the classic-era Magma pieces Wurdah Itah and Mekanik Destruktiw Kommandoh. Whilst many Magma fans will already have decent live versions of all three movements in this sequence, this live set is unique in that it presents a single lineup of Magma performing the entire trilogy as part of a cohesive concert experience.

Thus, whilst the individual renditions of the three movements may or may not be the absolute best available (and they're certainly in the running), over the three-disc set they come together to form a cohesive whole far more readily than any cobbled-together compilation of performances of the movements from different points in time by differing Magma lineups would. Now to hope that the band give the Kohntarkosz trilogy the same treatment...

Report this review (#639528)
Posted Thursday, February 23, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars Whatever your opinion, not one can say that Magma treads a path travelled by many. In progressive rock there are many a genre and direction but, however, few bands can honestly claim to be all that unique. (By "unique" I mean a sound that is only yours and where similarities to others are in abscense.) Ideas and inspirations are traded frequently and that is good. Magma are, on the other hand, a band which (nigh on) never took the path down the more walked upon soil in the land of Prog. They have maintained their sound and identity through out the ages and continue to do so. There is really no other band like them. That can be for better or worse but at least they are intriguing and genuinely groundbreaking.

My first venture into Magma was by way of their first, the self-titled one from 1970. Now there was something of a shock. I had never really heard anything like it but I loved it nevertheless. The rest is history, really. I cannot claim to have been able to squeeze myself into all of the music in the way I have done with some other bands. To enjoy Magma you need to give it time. This is not Music for the faint hearted. The chanting and terrifying (I cannot describe it in any other fashion) musical landscape can be frightening but all the more rewarding therefore.

This box is a collection of Three suites recorded in the year of 2000, though written way back in the early 70's. The first suite, Theusz Hamtaahk, is a really stripped down performance. The bass is in the foreground, as often with Magma, along with Vander's Amazing drumming. At times one do understand the power of chanting in what we like to call "primitive" cultures, being the gateway to connecting with the gods. It is really out of this World.

The second disc is a rendition of Wrdah tah. Again, so well played and conducted. Just like with Theusz Hamtaahk the songs blend into one Another making it a really long piece of Music, flowing seamlessly together.

The third disc is probably Magma's most famous work: Mkanik Dstruktiw Kmmandh. Again, this was recorded way back in 1973 but the live version on this box is really outstanding. I have Always loved MDK, hailing it as one of prog's greatest efforts. Though I am not normally partial to live renditions, I have to say that this is magnificent and a real treat. There are certainly othe live offerings of this suite but I think this just a tiny bit more interesting, It sounds different and why shouldn't it? Nigh on 30 years after the album was released, why wouldn't it sound slightly altered? Again, Magma is an entity of it's own and though basking in their own sun of Zeuhl they do transform within their own universe.

When all is said and done, how am I going to rate this box, then? I guess for newcomers this box could be a good place to start but I would recommend the original MDK from 1973. On the other hand this album shows off Magma's larger than life persona in the grandest of ways. I hold this box as something of a favorite in the canon of Magma and it showcases the band at it's best. (It's peak would be almost insane to write since they've almost been at the peak all through their career. I will not mention Merci in this Review, though I just did.) So, based on the sum of Everything I have to give this box four stars. It is brilliant, challenging and utterly rewarding. Great progressive music from the masters of Zeuhl.

Report this review (#1266733)
Posted Wednesday, September 3, 2014 | Review Permalink
5 stars It's rare that I recommend a live recording to newcomers to a band, but Magma is best heard live, and the Theusz Hamtaahk Trilogie happens to be one of the band's very best recordings.

Magma recorded these concerts after more than fifteen years of dormancy, so the fact that the band is so on point may come as a shock to listeners. The performances are passionate throughout while remaining technically flawless, and the recordings have a warmer feel to them than the band's Seventies material. Zeuhl has always been potentially somewhat off-putting to newcomers, but this (alongside some of the band's newer recordings K.A., mhnthtt-R, and Flicit Thsz) is amongst the least intimidating recordings Magma has ever made, despite its length.

The fact that the material being performed here is essential in any case doesn't hurt. The band's best known album, Mkank Dstruktẁ Kmmandh, is here, as are Ẁurdah tah and the suite that gives the album its title (which still has yet to be released as a studio recording). All three rank among the band's very best compositions, and they are represented admirably here. The fact that this is the first recording in which all three (which are, as the title might indicate, three parts of a trilogy) can be heard performed by the same line-up doesn't hurt either, as it gives a consistency to the proceedings that cobbling the pieces together from different recordings would not have.

In short, this is essential for both interested newcomers and longtime devotees of the band. It's one of the best introductions to zeuhl I could imagine, and it's one of the high points of the genre. We can only hope that they give the Khntarksz trilogy the same treatment now that it's complete.

Report this review (#1312754)
Posted Thursday, November 20, 2014 | Review Permalink
5 stars This superb album recorded live in Paris in 2000 states a fact that French followers of Vander's band have known for a long time : Despite the complexity of the music (and especially the vocal harmonies), Magma has always been at their very best when performing on stage. The studio albums, although ranging from the very good to the excellent, never display fully the sheer energy or the amazing grandeur the band shows when playing live. Whether you see them in a big theatre (like the Trianon where this recording was made) or in the smaller (or sometimes very small) venues they tend to stick to nowadays (for lack of a large enough following probably), it's always a daunting experience and an immense pleasure.

Here of course the Zeuhl Wortz is at its best, Bussonet on bass and Paganotti (yes, he's the son of the 70s' Magma bassist) on the piano, a great brass section, Mac Gaw on guitar. Stella and Isabelle (with the addition of Julie, Christian and Stella's daughter) are fantastic as usual, and Klaus is the king. Christian Vander is, in every possible meaning of the word, behind all of it, like a mad conductor who would lead the orchestra with drumsticks instead of baton. Needless to say, his performance on drums is beyond words.

The music is quintessential Magma, one of the mightiest pieces written by Vander in the 70s and never before played and recorded as a whole three-part suite (over two hours of music, longer than a classical symphony). Yet it is accessible to all ears, at least to all ears curious enough, and a rather good entry point into Zeuhl and Magma's universe.

And for those who are interested (and for die-hard fans), a booklet is included with the complete lyrics in Kobaan !

5 well-deserved stars for this masterpiece.

Report this review (#1888629)
Posted Saturday, February 24, 2018 | Review Permalink

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