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Magma - Mekan´k Destrukt´w Kommand÷h CD (album) cover





4.29 | 1164 ratings

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Prog Dog
5 stars Hang on tight. Magma is supernatural. Magma plays by its own rules. It is an unusual, rocking and intensely powerful music.

Is it everyone's cup of tea? No, but that didn't stop Rolling Stone from pronouncing it #24 in a Top 50 list of the greatest progressive rock albums of all time.

M.D.K. features a large swath of instrumentation and is quite orchestral. It features plenty of soft and gentle moments but more vigour and loudness. Most unique is a very sizeable group of female and male 'lead singers'- vocalists who collectively head the songs instead of a traditional single lead singer. The drum kit is played by the founder and beating heart of the band- Christian Zander. He figuratively and literally drives the music forward with great force.

There is an electric bass, capably and creatively played- at times as complex as any Chris Squire Yes parts- and speaking of Yes, there are hints of Topographic Oceans 'weirdness' on this album- including brief moments of destructive bass-chords. There is an acoustic piano- a key element to the sound, at time playing catchy parts in odd time-signatured 'loops' that remind me of composer Philip Glass. There is rock organ. There is a powerful horn section. There are strings...I think. That's a plus about Magma's music on this album- it's quite varied and changes up from section to section. I hear marimbas and other tingly tinker instruments- like xylophones maybe. I hear electric guitars- Santana-esque at times, at others clean and melodic. I hear woodwinds- and some Celtic lilts at times too. Then there's those strong but subtle undercurrents of jazz occasionally spilling to the surface. In fact at around the 11 minute mark on side 1 it sounds like Pat Metheny Group would sound at least a decade into the future.

The lead vocal- usually sung collectively- do give the music a rock opera vibe but without any hint of vaudeville schmaltz, or hokey Jesus Christ Superstar-ness. It remind me of Zappa sometimes (though I'm no Zappa expert yet). And the singers are singing in the invented Koba´n language that Magma is apparently known for. At the start of the record it sounded kind of German. There's something about singing in a made up language that frees the singers from all convention- and they do let it rip, sometimes to near ecstatic and passionate heights.

The album feels like one long song though it is technically seven tracks. It has tension; it has funk; it has groove; it has madness; it has ecstasy; it has moments of sheer joyfulness. All of these quantities and qualities flow around each other like so many white capped waves on a single ocean...Refreshing? Yes! but be warned: at times you will feel you're clinging onto a raft in a raging storm.

Prog Dog | 5/5 |


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