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Zao - Z=7L CD (album) cover





3.48 | 68 ratings

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Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer
5 stars As others have mentioned Cahen and Seffer left MAGMA because Vander was now in control of the musical direction that MAGMA would take, instead of it being a band effort as on the first two albums. Seffer and Cahen's last recording with MAGMA would be under the name of UNIVERSIA ZEKT. It's interesting that MAGMA's next album ("MDK") after these two left would emphasize female vocals, because ZAO's first recording that would come out the same year (only sooner) would also emphasize a female vocalist.Two very different records mind you. I think the vocals here and on "MDK" are what will make or break the two albums for you, because they are so prominant. The female vocalist Zao hired was a much in demand backing vocalist named Mauricia Platon, who is nothing short of incredible. Seffer being Hungarian badly wanted a violinist for this project,so they hired Jean-Yves Rigaud. Jean-My Truong was added as the drummer, he had played in a band with Seffer before Seffer had joined MAGMA. Joel Dugrenot was added as the guitarist. The album cover was painted by Seffer.

"Marochsek" starts off rather ominously before Mauricia yells "Zao !" and then goes off into some unique vocal melodies. Unfortunately this would be the only studio record she would record with the band. Keys, bass, sax and drums fill out the sound. Some good guitar after 4 minutes. She is amazing 5 1/2 minutes in with liquid sounding keys to follow. "Ataturc" has a nice jazzy soundscape with vocal melodies. The tempos shift and violin comes in. Vocals stop as the song calms down. The drums, bass and piano become prominant before violin comes back. Vocals are back before 5 minutes. "Ronach" is all about her vocals that sound like another instrument. They are very high pitched at times. In "Atart" it's like Mauricia is competing with the sax and she is definitely holding her own. The bass is relentless. Great tune.

"La Soupe" has a nice little intro before i'm blown away by not only her vocals, but the bass and drums. This is killer ! Some beautiful horn / vocal interplay before we get a sax solo. 3 minutes in the violin comes in. Great sound ! Then some ripping guitar as drums pound. The song calms down as only bass can be heard at first. Vocals are next, then a full sound. "Satanyia" features violin, vocal, bass and drum sounds but not much of a melody until after a minute. Her vocals are deeper here with a fantastic melody to follow. The tempo and mood continues to change. Themes are repeated including her deep vocals. Her vocals are so good 6 minutes in as the drums pound.

Well it took a while, but this became everything I had hoped it would be. I wasn't expecting the vocals that were presented or the violin, but it all worked perfectly. I much prefer this over MAGMA's "MDK", and it's a step better than MAGMA's first two albums in my opinion. Brilliant !

Mellotron Storm | 5/5 |


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