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Tech/Extreme Prog Metal • Madagascar

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Vazimba biography
The Vazimba were, according to popular belief, the first inhabitants of Madagascar. VAZIMBA, the band, is an entirely different creature! By combining elements of jazz, latin, progressive metal and electronic music, VAZIMBA is clearly fond of achieving diversity of musical landscapes with their music. This is done through the use of polyrhythmic grooves and atmospheric sounds which manage to catch the listener and pull one's imagination inward.

Latin percussion and tribal instruments are a perfect counterbalance to the jazz fusion chords and atmospheric grooves. The result is a pot of ingredients that create a musical journey in which sinister moments are sharply contrasted by outbursts of euphoria. By fusing this wide variety of styles VAZIMBA aims at pushing the boundaries of progressive instrumental music.

So what are VAZIMBA exactly? Well, just as for the cause of the Vazimba people's mysterious disappearance, the shape you choose to coin VAZIMBA's music is a question for every listener to ponder upon.

Bio provided by artist, edited by Rune2000

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4.00 | 4 ratings

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 Vazimba by VAZIMBA album cover Studio Album, 2011
4.00 | 4 ratings

Vazimba Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

4 stars The VAZIMBA were the legendary first inhabitants of the strange island nation of Madagascar, an island so isolated from the rest of the planet in its evolutionary history that despite its proximity to Africa, has been called a separate continent since the flora and fauna evolved in an isolation from the rest of the planet. These first inhabitants are claimed to have emerged from Polynesia and not the African continent which makes this bizarre land of chameleons and lemurs all the more unique on Earth.

The musical project known as VAZIMBA is equally mysterious and unique. Presumably from the island of Madagascar as the scant sources claim, there is virtually no information about this band (or solo project) that released one mysterious and weird album in 2011 and has never been heard from again. Like the continent, the music sounds like it evolved outside the confines of reality as it mixes and melds lush electronica with jazz-fusion, progressive rock, Latin and tribal influences and abrasive djent metal.

So obscure is this one that the only way to hear the four lengthy tracks that constitute the band's only self-titled release is on the Soundcloud site. The album is somewhat a tribute to the mysterious legendary tribe that claimed the Malagasy speaking country as its own. Through the 53 minute venture, this sci-fi prog and technical jazz metal experience, the listener is treated to seemingly random (and lengthy) passages that alternate between Meshuggah-like down tuned guitar chugging, rich tapestries of electronic ambience and atmospheric splendor along with tasty jazz-fusion workouts that wouldn't sound terribly out of place on a Return To Forever album.

Each track has a distinct personality despite each containing various ratios of the aforementioned ingredients. "Efatra" is the lengthiest nearing the sixteen minute mark which utilizes a herky-jerky prog bass line as its grounding ingredient and allows a plethora of off-kilter djent chugging, funky synthesizer workouts and freaky psychedelic electronic ambience. "Roa" begins as a heavy chugger and sounds like what would happen if Meshuggah played with Steve Vai as the guitar solos have that alien scale factor but the majority of the track a the incessant guitar chugging surrounded by a thick darkened ambience that swishes and swirls all over the place.

"Telo" is the mellowest track with more focus on the electronica and begins with an echoey clean guitar that sounds like a post-rock riff that is then accompanied by the chugga chug djent guitar riffs that contrast each other considerably as each is completely independent from the other as the complex polyrhythms of the guitars and electronica create a strange concoction of streams of conscious that sound positively weird together. Add a jazz-fusion outbreak to the mix and it only gets weirder.

"Isa" begins with pure ambient bliss with spacey synth swirls and the sound of tidal ebbs and floes before bombastic guitar chugs attack, however the synthesizer feel playful and a weird alien sounding run of keyboards trades off with a series of never-ending variations until around the ten minute mark a jazzy saxophone solo emerges and brings the completely spaced out track back down to Earth.

As far as avant-garde progressive metal goes, VAZIMBA really stands out as a totally unique musical oddity. While not creating Martian music exactly, it nevertheless cleverly amalgamates an amazing array of the genres, tones, timbres, textures and dresses it all up with incredibly technical progressive touches. The musical construction of the compositions is literally unlike anything i've ever encountered before as polyrhythms leapfrog over each other effortlessly.

Somehow i'm doubting that this anonymous musical creation is actually from the island nation of Madagascar. It just sounds too European to my ears. My guess would be that it is a solo project of some virtuoso musician out there on the scene and this was simply a bizarre non-commercial labor of love that got released in this form. Whatever the case, this musical experience is a must- hear if you love adventurous unorthodox progressive music with a bombastic metal edge.

 Vazimba by VAZIMBA album cover Studio Album, 2011
4.00 | 4 ratings

Vazimba Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by toroddfuglesteg

4 stars Madagascar is an big island just east of Africa with it's very own wildlife and fauna. Many of the animals and fauna there cannot be found anywhere else on this planet. Madagascar is an own planet on it's own.

That too can be said about Vazimba. The band is listed in the Tech Metal category. But they are only 51 % Tech Metal. The remaining 49 % is pure jazz. Jazz as in Mahavishnu Orchestra. Take their album The Inner Mounting Flame and their live album Between Nothingness and Eternity and add an ounce of metal aka Nocturnus to the stew = Vazimba. To label Vazimba as a blend of Mahavishnu Orchestra and Nocturnus is a very good description of the fifty-three minutes of the music coming out of the speakers here.

Eclectic is the word which also describes this music. The music is both dense and very intense. The sound is excellent and the musicians know their instruments inside out.

The lack of some truly superb songs are my only gripe with this album. But it has a heck of a lot originality and it is really outstanding in that respect. I think it is only a matter of time before this band is being signed by one of the great labels in the scene on the basis of this album alone. It is that great and it showcases one of the most talented bands out there.

If you love Mahavishnu Orchestra; you cannot go wrong with this album.

4 stars

Thanks to Rune2000 for the artist addition.

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