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Senmuth Madinat al-Mayyit album cover
3.21 | 5 ratings | 3 reviews | 0% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 2009

Songs / Tracks Listing

01. Syria
02. Ain Dara
03. Ishtar
04. Qatoure
05. Apamea
06. Baalbek
07. Darkita
08. Tadmor
09. Ebla
10. Persepolis
11. Qalb Lozeh
12. Ziqqurat
13. Serjillah
14. Levant

Total Time 1:00:20

Line-up / Musicians

- Senmuth / Guitars, Programming

Releases information

self released

Thanks to clarke2001 for the addition
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SENMUTH Madinat al-Mayyit ratings distribution

(5 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(0%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(40%)
Good, but non-essential (60%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

SENMUTH Madinat al-Mayyit reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Conor Fynes
3 stars 'Madinat al-Mayyit' - Senmuth (6/10)

As a composer who finds the time to write at least ten albums a year on average, it's understandable that many of Valery Av's creations cannot necessarily be considered revolutions in his sound. Although there has been a gradual change (and some might say 'improvement') from heavy upbeat metal to more ambient and experimental sounds, developments from album to album are generally minuscule, at times even regressing back to older styles. 'Madinat al-Mayyit' was the album that closed out 2009 for Senmuth, and while certainly an able ethnic album on it's own, it is still only retracing ground covered years ago, and now time and time again.

Upon first listen, I instantly recognized this as having alot in common with sound with an earlier album 'Path Of Satiam.' Being one of my most enjoyed releases from Senmuth thus far, 'Path Of Satiam' had many of the things that makes Senmuth an interesting musical project. What 'Madinat al-Mayyit' seems to do is take the same style, but add a dimension of doom metal into it. While this does work to varying effects on the music here, the songwriting here isn't nearly as good as 'Satiam' and in parts, even feels completely ripped off the parent album... Hell, 'Baalbek' feels like a note for note rendition of a 'Satiam' song! The totally derivative nature of this album aside, it is a welcome addition to Senmuth, and while the musical ideas here aren't catchy by any standard, there are some very interesting moments scattered about.

The execution and production here is nothing special, but functional and pushes the composition forward quite well. The instruments here sound more authentic than they usually do on a Senmuth record, and the music is generally driven by Senmuth's palette of Middle- Eastern instrument sounds.

Arabic for 'dead city,' Senmuth's 'Madinat al-Mayyit' does stand out musically from many of the other pieces Senmuth has to offer, but it fails to crawl out of the shadow of it's predecessor 'Path Of Satiam.'

Review by octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
3 stars This is another of the "geographical" albums of Senmuth. I mean one of those in which each track is referred to a place in the world. The nice thing if you download the album from Senmth's website is that each mp3 track contains a jpg image of the place that it represents. "al-Mayyit" means "The Dead" in Arabic and I think this album is referring to the "Dead Sea".

For who already knows Senmuth the first notes of "Syria" show clearly what the album's contents are. I have to say that the quite discordant melody reminds me to "Sisyphus" from Ummagumma. Imagine that track played with middle-eastern instruments.

The temple of "Ain Dara" is in Aleppo (Syria again). This is a standard Senmuth track, with some passages more melodic with techno percussions and ethnic instruments for the melody. It's remarkable how the guitar which appears sometimes has an Oldfield's sound. Try to catch it.

The old friend "Annie Red Hat" sings on "Ishtar". She's not a place, of course, but the Goddess of fertility. Some studious say that the Christian Mary's myth is derived from her. At least there are common elements. This track is more symphonic than usual and Annie makes vocalisms only so even with a vocalist this can be considered an instrumental track. Very nice, too, even in the uptime part.

"Qatoure" is just an ethnic track without a beginning and an end and heavily distorted guitar behind. I haven't found what this word means, but the associated poto shows some ruins in a desertic land.

"Apamea" is totally different. It was a Greek city in Syria, and I think that Senmuth has efficiently reproduced the mixture of Greek and middle-eastern elements. The sort of violin or cello playing on this track has a strong Mediterranean flavor. When it stops the last seconds of the track contain water noises, too.

"Baalbek" is the Roman "Heliopolis" (city of the Sun) It stays on a high mountain in Lebanon at more than 1000 meters height. The track is powerful and symphonic with sudden ethnic interludes. One highlight, IMO.

From the associated picture "Darkita" seems to be another archeological site. From a musical point of view it's another standard ethnic Senmuth's track. There's a huge use of cello (or electronic equivalent) in this album as never before. There's a contrast bewteen this rhythm music and the wilderness of the photo. Red ruins and dry grass. Who can play percussions here?

"Tadmor" as internet says, is "an oasis city at the point of intersection of the caravan roads in the central Syrian desert and the steppe land". The photo shot is taken at the twilight. It's a fantastic photo and the music makes its part very well. Like the comment for a documentary.

"Ebla" was a very important city in the ancient times. Still in Syria, close to Aleppo. The music is like Senmuths is trying to give an idea of city life, markets and people in the heath of the middle-east. Of course it's strongly ethnic.

"Persepolis" is melodic instead. (in the Senmuth's meaning of melody). I have the impression that this song is already featured in a Senmuth album, but with a so huge production and without a database I can't be sure. A very nice track anyway.

"Qalb Lozeh" is another syrian ruined city which contains the rests of the most well conserved ancient Christian church. It's an imponent basilica of the 5th century AD, The track is not as imponent. Percussions and cello, mainly.

A "Ziqqurat" is the Mesopotamic pyramid. There are meny ruins of ziqqurats in Mesopotamia (Syria, Iran and Iraq) and they were temples. The music is pompous and loud, like Senmuths wants to underline the sacrality of the temples. Not an impressive track this one.

Another Syrian dead city, with the charactesistic that it seems to have been abandoned yesterday... this is how "Serjilla is often described. The music is dark but it seems that Senmuth is trying to give it its life back. Like people is only hidden somewhere, like spectres ready to re-appear.

Finally "Levant" is the summary of what we have visited until now. "Levant is the name of the area between Syria and the Mediterranean sea. It's a good closer, not too loud and melodic enough even if uptime. I can see it for the end title of this imaginary documentary.

A good album, but without highlights so it fits well in the 3 stars definition.

Latest members reviews

4 stars Geographically atmospheric - 95% The first record from 2009 delivers very well constructed atmospheres of ethnical instruments, the melodies here are less prominent for the sake of the overall feeling of the combined instruments. Some songs are calmer than others, ranging from almost ambient st ... (read more)

Report this review (#840334) | Posted by Gabriel Lara Brigant | Friday, October 19, 2012 | Review Permanlink

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