Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography


Jannick Top


From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Jannick Top Infernal Machina album cover
4.09 | 148 ratings | 12 reviews | 40% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

Write a review

from partners
Studio Album, released in 2008

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Part I (7:24)
2. Part II (4:29)
3. Part III (4:12)
4. Part IV (4:15)
5. Part V (5:09)
6. Part VI (5:52)
7. Part VII (4:22)
8. Part VIII (3:49)
9. Part IX (4:42)
10. Part X (3:13)
11. Part XI (4:27)
12. Resolutio (5:36)

Total Time 55:30

Line-up / Musicians

- Jannick Top / bass, cello, cellobass, percussion, voices, co-producer

- James McGaw / guitar
- François Delfin / guitar
- Thibault Abrial / guitar
- Jim Grandcamp / guitar
- Fabien Colella / keyboards, computing, co-producer & mixing
- Mathias Lecomte / grand piano
- Christian Vander / drums
- Damien Schmitt / drums
- Marc Chantereau / percussion
- Klaus Blasquiz / vocals
- Natalia Ermilova / vocals
- Veronika Boulytcheva / vocals
- Stella Vander / backing vocals
- Himiko Paganotti / backing vocals
- Antoine Paganotti / backing vocals

Releases information

Artwork: Thierry Moreau

CD Utopic Records ‎- UR 01009 (2008, France)

Thanks to James for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
Edit this entry

Buy JANNICK TOP Infernal Machina Music

JANNICK TOP Infernal Machina ratings distribution

(148 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(40%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(24%)
Good, but non-essential (25%)
Collectors/fans only (6%)
Poor. Only for completionists (5%)

JANNICK TOP Infernal Machina reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Mellotron Storm
5 stars This is an absolute monster ! Jannick Top is back ! I was awestruck by his "Soleil D'Ork" album from 2001, which was really a compilation album of songs he had done over the years. If it's possible this one is even better.This is really one long suite divided into 11 parts, plus there is the concluding track "Rosolution". All the tracks blend into each other, at times you wouldn't know when one part ends and another starts, and at other times there is a change, but the music never stops.This album builds up slowly to a feverish pitch that is dark, heavy and relentless. It's so exciting to have a new Zeuhl album to listen to in 2008. Christian and Stella Vander guest, as does Klaus Blasquis and James Mac Gaw, among many others. What I like about Top's two solo records more than MAGMA's recordings are how heavy, dark and furious they are.

"Part I" opens with spacey sounds as slowly played piano comes in. Deep bass growls come and go slowly as well, including some cellobass and fuzz bass. This is all so cool sounding. Female vocal melodies or chants come in after 4 1/2 minutes to join the piano and bass. This "Part I" is the longest section at 7 1/2 minutes. "Part II" continues with what went on before along with some heavy industrial sounds. The tempo is picking up. Drums pound slowly as the bass growls and female vocal melodies join in. "Part III" opens with the first change as we get guitar riffs to open as female vocal melodies continue. Drums and bass both create the bottom end as guitars continues to light it up. The tempo picks up 3 minutes in. Awesome sound ! "Part IV" begins with a heavy and angry sound before Blasquis comes in with his unmistakable vocals. The sound pulses slowly and heavily. Piano joins in. Guitar comes in very late as it blends into "Part V" where we get more of a beat as the guitar makes some noise. Here comes that pulsating bass. Fantastic sound ! The tempo picks up before 3 minutes as female vocal melodies come in and the guitar continues. The tempo picks up another notch 4 minutes in. The guitar is great.

"Part VI" continues with the same melody as the sound is getting very intense. This has to be heard to be believed ! They even go one better 2 minutes in. A furious pace. I can't believe how long this goes on ! It's almost 3 1/2 minutes in before we get relief when the guitar comes in ripping it up. Then that relentless melody comes back briefly then stops as the guitar lights it up again. The drumming is off the charts, has to be Vander ! An absolute frenzy ! It all finally ends as "Part VII" starts with piano melodies and lighter drums and bass. The drums and bass become more prominant 2 minutes in. Male vocal melodies arrive, and check out the drumming. "Part VIII" continues with same melody. It's getting more intense as piano continues. It lightens 2 1/2 minutes in and continues into "Part IX" but the bass and drums take over as it starts to get dark and heavy. Lots of bottom end during this part. The intensity is rising. Guitar comes in around 4 minutes to add to the hysteria. Male vocal melodies arrive. "Part X" continues with the same sound. Great sound 2 minutes in. "Part XI" continues with the riffs and heavy drums. Nice. Female vocal melodies come in and then piano. Blasquiz too as they go for the dramatic finale. "Rosolution" is very interesting sounding. Experimental might be the word as drums keep a steady beat. Sounds cool though. Riffs and female vocal melodies 2 minutes in. It ends just like the first song began, in that same spacey manner.

Zeuhl fans will think they've died and gone to heaven with this release. A must have.

Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars If there is one bassman that needs little introduction or any additional effusive praise in the wonderful world of prog, it must be France's Jannick Top. His legend is firmly anchored within the community, mainly for having taken the glorious instrument into deeper and unchartered realms, a unique style that serves not only the groove but the overlying sonic insanity that Magma have the recipe down pat. Heavy, lumbering, fanatical and devastating are words that describe well the feel and mood his bass spews with controlled abandon. Esteemed colleague sinkadotentree has been largely responsible for introducing me to this suspenseful marvel, another Carmina Burana dive into the abyss of tectonic torture and a foretaste of the upcoming Magma masterpiece. As a massive suite with blending parts, this is really nothing more than one colossal slab of molten, phosphorescent and distressing prog of the zeuhl variety, slowly evolving from early sizzles into a firestorm of unprecedented proportions , marshaled by Top's Rottweiler bass, a growling menace that snarls, barks and ultimately bites hard and bloody. In many ways, I consider this heavier than certain extreme forms of metal, as the concept is way more mechanically destructive, as presented on the fifth section (Part 5), a delirious barrage of insolent vehemence that shatters any pre-conceived predictability (pop music this ain't, bubba!), schizoid guitar ramblings welding within the frenetic pounding of the drums and a relentless semi- Arabic tinge as if the desert opened into a subterranean chasm. Needless to say (and as to be expected), a heavy use of volcanic piano is entrusted in the role of hypnotizing the theme in a style that can be hard to explain in words. Part 7 reverts to some semblance of melody, with a delicate piano pressing the crashing cymbals along, displaying their cooler jazz tendencies clearly "sans equivoque", crawling back into the insistence that is their unique claim to fame, repetitive lines hammered into the psyche with no pity, imagine a hard- assed Soft Machine (I have always felt the existence of certain parallels between these two classic bands). By Part 10, things get into the whirlwind mode, swirling like fluttering ash expulsions, the voice effects and the nuclear piano bashing away like some narcotic. The infernal electric guitars begin their trash attack, shuffling, scratching and clawing assiduously. Sounds like a soundtrack for a new 'The Omen" sequel. Part 12 gets really experimental (or as I like to say, "just plain mental"), a modern binary beat pulverized into a delirious pulp that inspires lunacy. What a finale! Surely a candidate for the bizarre album of the new millennium (well never so odd for the Kobaïans!).

I am not necessarily a zeuhl fanatic (more of an admirer) but I can understand the shock that this will cause when eared by the believers. I just follow the bass patterns and go to heaven (a darker version though). 4.5 seismic quakes

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Consistently one heck of a powerful journey. IMHO, MDK is the only Zeuhl album to do it better.

Part I (10/10) is majestic, mysterious, melodic, beautiful. Cave raindrops! Bowed bass!

Part II (8/10) introduces the vocal which reminds me of the diotonic stylings of the female folk singers of Les Voix Mystères de Bulgarie

Part III (10/10) starts with distorted electric guitar rhythm chords, bowed bass, and intense 'Bulgarian' chanting (and screaming?is that you, Stella?). Shifts at 2:20 to deep metal-like electric power chords from the rhythm section accompanied by female voices. A brief but oh-so effective pause at the 3:00 minute mark opens the door for the full-band unified pulse of ecstatic marching. Amazing!

Part IV (7/10) introduces (with an electronic crash) a slower, more methodic, plodding pace with a now-male chorus (among whom is the unmistakable voice of MAGMA's KLAUS BLASQUIS)

Part V (10/10) is amazing for its pulsing bass, slow and steady drums, and electric guitar chords. The low male breath-chants, a few 'Bulgarian' voice chants, and a Math Rock section of guitar chords usher in a change in tempo?and with it a real sense of immediacy, even urgency. Like, "Oh my God! It's happening!"

Part VI (10/10) sees an insidious increase in tempo?and urgency?as Persian horns carry a religious melody into the sacred ritual. WOW!! This is AMAZING! 2:50: Piano. 3:20 searing guitar solo with amazing bass & rhythm chord progression in background. Cycling back to 'Persian' horns, male breath chants, female 'Bulgarian' chant, all weaving together with frenetic drumming and electric guitar soloing like Sir ROBERT of FRIPP at his stool-offing best.

Part VII (8/10) is like a cooling waterfall flowing down over the hot coals?piano and cymbol play doing most of the cleansing. 1:45 shift in rhythm section to syncopated pulses of bass and low male voice grunts. The piano and cymbols continue their flood of erosive notes. 3:20 and 3:50 see first true nods to CHRISTIAN VANDER/MAGMA sound & style.

PART VIII (9/10) returns to the very same piano single note pounding of Part VII with the now VANDER-crazed drumming going crazy behind and some MAGMA-like choral work dispersed here and there. This is really the drummer's song. Awesome ascent of scale by TOP's bass chords.

Part IX (7/10) sees an inversion and minoring of the musical/piano chords while the same frenzy of drums and other rhythms go on all around it and the repetition of a monotonic pattern of staccato choral notes.

Part X (8/10) continues the frenzy party of Part IX with little or no difference (more cymbol crashes, increased vocal volume, variation in vowel sound used for staccato vocal notes, guitar chords become patternized, circular).

Part XI (8/10) sees a transition to rhythm guitar rock chords, deep throbbing bass line, more 'controlled' drumming, a return and interweaving of previous vocal lines, along with the introduction and intertwining of a new vocal line?which ascends to take us to the culmination point.

Resolution (8/10) seems to be a kind of driving disco-version of Part VI and VII with the Persian horns and male vocal grunt pattern. At 1:50 the electric rhythm guitar chords and female 'Bulgarian' voices take a turn before giving way to the 'Persian' horns and male grunt section for fifteen seconds. Back and forth the female and male chanting trade again and again into the final minute of the song when we are reunited with the 'cave raindrop' music of the opening song to close.

This is definitely a masterpiece of amazing music?Zeuhl or not. Definitely one of the two or three best albums from 2008.

Review by Warthur
3 stars Jannick Top's Infernal Machina is a credible attempt to create a modern Zeuhl masterpiece without compromising the elements which made the genre so fascinating in the 1970s. An album-length piece along the lines of Mekanik Destruktiw Kommandoh and other Magma classics, the composition incorporates all the pulsing rhythms and choral vocals you expect of vintage Zeuhl but also adds some more modern elements - there's electronic samples and interventions here and there, and in the final track Resolutio there's a brash and dirty guitar solo which wouldn't be too out of place on a Nine Inch Nails album. Overall, it's a dark and fascinating album which is a real grower; it might not sound too special at first, but the adept way in which it builds to the climax of the piece makes it addictive stuff, though repeated listens may become a chore due to some of the more repetitive sections rather outstaying their welcome.
Review by friso
3 stars Jannick Top - Infernal Machina (2008)

French ex-Magma bass-player Jannick Top is often credited for being one of the main founders of the illustrious 'Zeuhl' genre. His heavy distorted and alternative grooving bass style has become a recognizable feature of most Zeuhl releases since then, including Magma albums after the Vander-Top period.

On this album Top borrows heavily from the Magma legacy, mainly re-using the minimalistic parts of the style and by re-using harmonic findings and chord progressions from the Konterkosz period. We can also find some bass rhythms from the Udu Wudu album. The album is dark and brooming and develops very slowly towards its heavy finale, with heavy drums of Christian Vander himself (and shine he does!). Top introduces a new female vocal style that reminds me a bit of the soundtrack of the 'Ghost in the Shell' movies, it has an Japanese feel to it.

Some highlights are the acoustic bass parts on the opening section, the brilliant free-jazz guitar solo near the ending, the brilliant drums of Vander on the latter parts of the album and the overall dark atmosphere. I'm less enthusiastic about the length of the pieces (for me the album could have had a running time of 40 min. instead of 55 min.), the muddy recording sound and the finale with the piano-melody that gets pretty irritating after a while.

Conclusion. Though I would qualify 'Infernal Machina' as a fine album of the genre, it surely lacks the innovative qualities and composition values that we've seen on the recent Magma albums. I always felt the appraisal for Top's role in the Magma story was a bit overdone, but this album really proved for me that it is Vander who is the sole mind behind the Zeuhl genre. Even on this album he saves the show with his amazing drums that cut through the otherwise way too lifeless sections near the ending. Still fans of the genre find themselves with another fine album that is worth investing some time in. Three and a halve stars, and by the way; a great leap forward from his Soleil d'Ork album.

Review by siLLy puPPy
5 stars This album starts out sounding nothing like zeuhl. I was left wondering has this album been miscategorized? It begins as a spacey piano and cello piece that is dripping with melancholy probably an influence from Jannick's electronic band Space maybe? The album continues with the sounds of traditional Slavic folk divas like those heard in Les Mystere Des Voixes aka The Bulgarian Women's Choir with their unique and eccentric yet traditional style of a capella Slavic folk. In fact it doesn't really start sounding anything like zeuhl until track 4, when that unmistakable sound of the Mekanik Destruktiw period of MAGMA begins. With several members from that group on board here it is surprising that this sounds as unique and un-MAGMA-like as it does for most of the album.

I have to admit that upon first listen I fell in love with this, not only because it is a MAGMA-related curiosity but because it simply flows like a smooth babbling brook meandering from its source to the end point. The biggest surprise is that all of these rhythms, harmonies and the musical construction are actually based on a concept. The whole idea of INFERNAL MACHINA is recounted in the liner notes. Jannick is going for the deeply philosophical when asking if there are vibrating energy forms that are higher entities than we humans and how we relate to them. As stated by Jannick himself, "Infernal Machina thrives on the roots and energy of rock music reaching out to the contemplative lithurgic sounds from the Slavic east." He also states that he borrows symbolic elements from Pythagoreas, alchemy icons from the Middle Ages, from Bach and so on. Whoah! This is some deep stuff here.

With the proper rationing of sounds that lend to the perfect amount of time for each track and the crystal clear production I end up feeling totally satisfied after it ends. You know you have a masterpiece on your hands when you hear so many influences sewn together in an album that is basically an hour long continuous track that leaves you thoroughly entertained and mesmerized and looking forward to hearing it again. A very worthy addition to your collection from the extended MAGMA family.

Latest members reviews

2 stars Simply, Jannick Top is not a good composer. He writes a few interesting lines, throws in a few rehashed patterns from the 70's magma albums, then he'll draw out the same theme for much longer than necessary. The introduction was very promising, but the rest of the album does not live up to the ex ... (read more)

Report this review (#1817207) | Posted by raom | Saturday, October 28, 2017 | Review Permanlink

5 stars We all have to agree in one thing: Magma started Zeuhl without a doubt. But we also have to agree that there are a lot of bands and artists that have taken Zeuhl to a higher level than Magma did (or should I say does?) and Jannick Top is a great example, who additionaly was part of Magma and c ... (read more)

Report this review (#1182057) | Posted by MyDarling95 | Sunday, June 1, 2014 | Review Permanlink

5 stars An outstanding release from the former member of MAGMA. Very elegant, very zheulic and truly fantastic. What is it - a soundtrack for a pagan party? Or riding down the Styx river? Or just go shopping to your local record store? Starting slowly, calm and dark on first two tracks, it turns to mor ... (read more)

Report this review (#746252) | Posted by groon | Sunday, April 29, 2012 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Jannick Top's second album, Infernal Machina far outshines his previous effort, Soleil D'Ork (although the latter was also quite good). While Soleil D'ork mostly consisted of reworkings of previous songs Top had been involved with, Infernal Machina is all new material, in the form of a single epic ... (read more)

Report this review (#282824) | Posted by Triceratopsoil | Thursday, May 20, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This album is HUGE for people who think that Jannick Top is underrecorded and underappreciated. He is a master of his instrument on a level that few besides maybe Coltrane and Vander have accomplished. We first saw his composing style in the epic De Futura from Udu Wudu. His next major composing ... (read more)

Report this review (#191432) | Posted by phleshy | Monday, December 1, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars In regards to the first post, Zeuhl fans will think they've died and gone to heaven with this release, this couldn't be more true, and in addition to this description of a fantastic zeuhl album, I believe this is probably one of the greatest zeuhl albums that's been made, and has upon one listen ... (read more)

Report this review (#181018) | Posted by xohrhour | Friday, August 29, 2008 | Review Permanlink

Post a review of JANNICK TOP "Infernal Machina"

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.