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ZEUHL

A Progressive Rock Sub-genre


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Zeuhl definition

Zeuhl is an adjective in Kobaïan, the language written by Christian Vander, drummer and founder of the French band Magma.

Pronunciation: zEU(h)l, while the EU are like a French E with a slight U, and the (h) is a semi-silent letter which is an integrated part of the EU, totaling in a "syllable and a half".

The word means celestial, although many times it is misunderstood as meaning "celestial music", since the members of Magma describe the genre of their music as Zeuhl. Zeuhl Wortz, though, means Music of the universal might.


The genre is a mixture of musical genres like Neoclassicism, Romanticism, Modernism and Fusion. Common elements: oppressive or discipline-conveying feel, marching themes, throbbing bass, an ethereal piano or Rhodes piano, and brass instruments.

Current team members (1/3/2020):
Luca (octopus-4)
Ian (Nogbad_The_Bad)
Keishiro (DamoXt7942)

Zeuhl Top Albums


Showing only studios | Based on members ratings & PA algorithm* | Show Top 100 Zeuhl | More Top Prog lists and filters

4.26 | 1059 ratings
MEKANÏK DESTRUKTÏW KOMMANDÖH
Magma
4.25 | 720 ratings
K.A (KÖHNTARKÖSZ ANTERIA)
Magma
4.31 | 237 ratings
4 VISIONS
Eskaton
4.23 | 480 ratings
EROS
Dün
4.20 | 535 ratings
ËMËHNTËHTT-RÉ
Magma
4.24 | 181 ratings
MATHEMATICAL MOTHER
Universal Totem Orchestra
4.14 | 510 ratings
KÖHNTARKÖSZ
Magma
4.16 | 348 ratings
CHRISTIAN VANDER: TRISTAN ET ISEULT [AKA: ẀURDAH ÏTAH] (OST)
Magma
4.19 | 217 ratings
WEIDORJE
Weidorje
4.36 | 82 ratings
MAIS ON NE PEUT PAS RÊVER TOUT LE TEMPS
Thibault, Laurent
4.12 | 451 ratings
1001° CENTIGRADES [AKA: 2]
Magma
4.08 | 401 ratings
FÉLICITÉ THÖSZ
Magma
4.32 | 61 ratings
BONDAGE FRUIT II
Bondage Fruit
4.02 | 493 ratings
MAGMA [AKA: KOBAÏA]
Magma
4.10 | 139 ratings
LES MORTS VONT VITE
Shub-Niggurath
4.08 | 146 ratings
THE MAGUS
Universal Totem Orchestra
4.66 | 23 ratings
200 000
Zwoyld
4.08 | 132 ratings
INFERNAL MACHINA
Top, Jannick
4.17 | 69 ratings
BUDO
Vak
4.45 | 30 ratings
VISION
Bringolf, Serge

Zeuhl overlooked and obscure gems albums new


Random 4 (reload page for new list) | As selected by the Zeuhl experts team

HUNDRED SIGHTS OF KOENJI
Koenji Hyakkei
TRIMEGISTO
Runaway Totem
C'ÉTAIENT DE TRÈS GRANDS VENTS
Shub-Niggurath
MAIS ON NE PEUT PAS RÊVER TOUT LE TEMPS
Thibault, Laurent

Latest Zeuhl Music Reviews


 Dhorimviskha by KOENJI HYAKKEI album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.98 | 77 ratings

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Dhorimviskha
Koenji Hyakkei Zeuhl

Review by DangHeck

5 stars With Fusion-style keyboards during the opener sounding mighty triumphant (like something out of the debut UTOPIA album), we also have the now-classic stylings of Tatsuya YOSHIDA of RUINS, with excellent rhythm, exciting changes and, of course, the tribal near-Kobaïan group vocal chants.

What's always been most refreshing about Koenji Hyakkei is just how much more diverse they are (from their peers and from those who came before), combining what one would expect from a MAGMA release but with more classic Rock tropes (and classic Progressive Rock tropes---see "Levhorn", for instance, which could easily have been writ in part by Rod ARGENT), more Fusion elements than most (again, the keys, but also the bass like on "Djebelaki Zomin") as well as the freedoms that come with a larger ensemble: drums, bass, keyboards, reeds, guitars, with most all players present additionally providing those aforementioned, and excellently executed, group vocalizations.

Progressive Rock of the highest order, especially in this day and age. It does not disappoint. Tasty compositions, polyrhythmic mastery and exciting, virtuosic drama with the interplay between instrument and the musicians themselves.

 Dhorimviskha by KOENJI HYAKKEI album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.98 | 77 ratings

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Dhorimviskha
Koenji Hyakkei Zeuhl

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars How could one not be impressed with a Koenji Hyakkei album? The musicianship is so virtuosic, so clean and crisp, the compositions so complex and unpredictable. The first listen is always jarring and sometimes abrasive, but it is with repeated listens (and familiarity) that one begins to enjoy (and dance). Still, there is a lot of stylistic variety on display here--many Western and non-Zeuhl influences tapped into--it's not just one straightforward Zeuhl-fest.

1. "Vleztemtraiv" (10:18) though still aggressive and technically amazing, this song gives one the feel that the band is trying to move back closer to the Magma model of Zeuhl (except for the seventh minute, that is). I love Yoshida's use of the snare (a second snare?) with its snare wire disengaged. It's like he's playing the part of filling holes in the music. Incredibly tight vocal scatting to follow/mirror the blistering sax play. Amazing (and different) Hammond organ play in the final two minutes. Impressive song! True Zeuhl. A top three song for me. (19/20)

2. "Levhorm" (9:12) going deep into the South for some Muscle Shoals Bayou Blues. Now this is different. Singer (Koganemaru Kei?) even sounds like she's trained and singing in African-American English. And then she scats at Mahavishnu speed in tandem with the clarinet! Impressive though not my favorite. (18/20)

3. "Zjindhaiq" (7:32) opens in militaristic march form, slowly speeding up till the end of the first minute when it restarts, settling into a fairly sedate (for Koenji Hyakkei) and straightforward pattern and cadence. Then the third minute throws us a polyrhythmic curve before settling back into the more linear groove. Interesting space synth and male soprano vocal thrown into the fourth minute--it's almost pretty! Sax and tenor male take over at the end of the fourth with piano and drums providing a steady accompaniment. The fifth minute remains harmonically pleasing despite some complex craziness added by the guitar and Terry Jones female voices. A little more Ork-like aggressive at the end of the sixth minute before returning to a more straightforward female opera singer-led finale- -a finale of disintegration. I actually really like this one--for both its humor, beauty, and "contained anarchy"! My second top three song. (What a show!) (14/15)

4. "Phlessttighas" (6:22) more syncopated, stoccato in form, there is a very familiar American jazz feel to this one, despite it's lurching jerkinesss. Like 1970s Chick Corea. There are even some repetitive motifs that could turn into "sing-a-long" ear worms! Doesn't quite climb to the heights or craziness of the previous songs, but still great. (8.75/10)

5. "Djebelaki Zomn" (9:49) full band weave with choral vocals and lead female vocals more buried in the mix than on previous songs, panning guitars and pounding piano chords with more straightforward rock-style drumming and lead clarinet and synths tell me this one is going to impress. A little harder to engage with--there is so much going on!--I am trying to pay attention to so many individual and machine gun delivered elements! In the fifth minute we shift gears into Autobahn speeds while Yoshido's hollow snare bangs away beneath searing rock electric guitar solo. After a little bridge, we are delivered into a classic jazz piano solo--complete with jazz bass walks and stylish jazz drum play! Then, in the seventh minute, we turn a corner onto a side street in order to regale at the large window dressings of the shops there. Everything seems to slow down into slow motion here though soprano sax and female vocalese continue scat-soloing above. Electric guitar and sax join up to blister away a solo section as the car turns back onto the highway to play chicken with the cars driving the wrong way (or are we?) until the lights go out. (We must be dead.) Cool song. (18.5/20)

6. "Palbeth Tissilaq" (6:09) with harpsichord-sounding guitar built into a slow, French-sounding weave, we are treated to Ah's controlled and beautiful operatic singing. Piano jazz solo follows as rolling bass, percussion hits, and strummed acoustic "harpsichord" guitar accompany. This is pretty jazz lulling us into hypnotic ease, until we are suddenly jarred to awakeness in the fourth minute by a full-on rock assault--Hammond organ in the lead. I loved the "soft" lulling parts but feel that the rock assault in the final two minutes does nothing special--sounds too much like KH just trying to be abrasive (for no reason). (8.75/10)

7. "Dhorimviskha" (11:47) For the first time I feel that female vocalese and sax are not on the same page. Piano- guitar chord play at foundation are a bit rudimentary for KH standards--as is the crazy-but nothing-special guitar solo in the third minute. The new motif established at the end of the third minute works well--has a very Russian- Magma feel to it--even if it is more simplistic rock than some of the earlier songs. These radio-friendly themes continue to the mark to the six minute mark. Then drummer and pianist take a turn into time signature oddity before letting the music strip down and "fall apart" (unravel) into kind of free jazz. Yoshida really gets to show off in this section. Don Pullen-like piano play in the eighth and ninth minutes is reacting to the odd time sigs and syncopation hits as the singers vocalize their parts with extreme melodrama as if acting in some ancient Greek tragedy. Music gradually and insidiously slows down as if the thespians are enacting a nightfall scene--but then they rally for one last burst for the final 15 seconds. I love it! My final top three song. (22.25/25)

Total Time 61:09

It becomes obvious to me that I favor the longer, more complex and diverse songs of this album. They also seem much more theatric, which, apparently, I like. There's a Monty Python-like humor and intelligence in this music that I really connect with and admire.

A-/five stars; a minor masterpiece of jazz-rock-infused high energy Zeuhl.

 Musique Post Atomique by ESKATON album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1979
2.64 | 15 ratings

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Musique Post Atomique
Eskaton Zeuhl

Review by bartymj

2 stars The ten minute debut of Eskaton is very similar in style to the earliest Magma albums. Scatty vocals in French. My French is dreadful, so I've got no idea what they're on about other than the first track being called The Chant of the Earth.

That first track is built around a toe-tapping rhythm that sticks to the same pace throughout, with the vocal scatting and jazzy synth/fender adding depth. The only change comes with a minute to go as the drum rhythm changes and the guitar and bass kick in and synthesised electronic sounds create a UF effect. Sadly it only lasts to close off the track which is a shame as you feel like its about to go somewhere.

IF then opens with atmospheric wind noises, but from there although its a different rhythm its more of the same, scatty nasal sounding vocals, jazzy organ and fender jamming.

Not much to write home about really, but its certainly not poor.

 U rigiru by RIALZU album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.98 | 42 ratings

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U rigiru
Rialzu Zeuhl

Review by bartymj

4 stars Music streaming services like Spotify are under fire at the moment because of the tiny amount of money artists get for their music being played - far less than the physical purchase of a CD for example. However, this album is a perfect example of such streaming surfaces enabling a "lost and obscure" artist to reach a slightly wider audience - being able to listen (almost) for free rather than gambling on album purchases.

Rialzu's album is fairly jazzy in style, more similar to the likes of Potemkine and Zao than Magma, and also with stylings similar to the RPI sub-genre, particularly the vocals. That Zeuhl/RPI blend pretty much sums up the band's roots, being from Corsica.

The title track begins with a classic jazz/zeuhl blend, but once the Italian style calmer vocal passage starts it gets a little spookier, and with more suspenseful zeuhl vocals building slowly towards a very symphonic passage in the midsection of the mammoth 16 minute track. At around 12 minutes it is interrupted by a brilliant drum solo. The vocals and organs kick back in two minutes later with the fast paced drumming continuing and building towards an abrupt finish.

I Lagramante builds on the eerie parts of the title track, beginning with haunting vocals, string and organ passages, before a mix of guitar solos, organ and rolling drums very much in RPI style. Its quite stop-start throughout its ten minute run, finishing as it began with eerie vocals and swirling winds.

A mubba is a shorter track, starting where I Lagramante left off, but quickly breaking into a jazz fusion piece, starting with organ and bass but also introducing a guitar after a few passages. It does seem like it was just there to fill the last 3 minutes of the album but its still fairly decent.

'Hidden gem' gets thrown around a little too much but I'm happy to say the title track definitely is one, and the rest of the album is worth a listen too. 4stars for the title track, 3 for the others.

 Eider Stellaire III by EIDER STELLAIRE album cover Studio Album, 1987
3.68 | 18 ratings

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Eider Stellaire III
Eider Stellaire Zeuhl

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I would call this third and final EIDER STELLAIRE album a return to form after being disappointed with "II" which didn't sound much like Zeuhl or their debut. Thankfully they bring back the keyboards for this one and they bring in two players. Franck Coulaud plays only electric piano on here and he's the drummer for SHUB NIGGURATH. Also Isabelle Nuffer from ALTAIS adds a variety of keyboards. So right there with the electric piano and synths sounding like horns at times we get that sound back from the debut. That second record had no horns and just a smattering of acoustic piano from the drummer. "III" was recorded over three days at a studio in France in August of 1987.

"Nihil" should sound familiar as it's on the debut but this one is longer at almost 10 1/2 minutes. How about that fuzzed out bass before 5 minutes. I like the guitar and electric piano the most as this plays out. "L'encre Des Litanies" is an uptempo number with the electric piano, drums and bass leading the way with synths over top then the guitar joins in. It all stops after 5 1/2 minutes as it turns haunting with slow beats and eerie synths. Electric piano joins in the guitar. So good. The closer reminds me in style of the opener. This one is kind of jazzy and relaxed until it starts to pick up around 3 1/2 minutes in. The guitar starts to solo over top from 5 minutes to 6 1/2 minutes. Man I swear there are horns on here but none are credited.

A low 4 stars for this half hour of music but I feel they went out on a high at least.

 Retrospektïẁ III by MAGMA album cover Live, 1981
4.00 | 90 ratings

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Retrospektïẁ III
Magma Zeuhl

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I do refer "Retrospektiw I-II" to this one even if they were both taken from the same series of reunion concerts they did in June of 1980. They did three nights in Paris at L'Olympia. It's that opener that I have some minor issues with but overall I can't not give this 4 stars, just a really enjoyable recording. And it's funny I'm at work this past week and a few times I had "Hhai" stuck in my head which I thought was humerous. I mean who gets a MAGMA track spinning over and over in their mind. At least that main melody. I really like that "Hhai" version especially when Lockwood trades off with his violin with the keyboardist. Not sure if that's clavinet or synths but it's a cool section starting after 4 minutes. Love the female and male vocals here too. Christian is featured as the male singer while on the other two tracks it's Guy Khalifa. Stella is here with Liza and Maria as far as female vocals go.

What I do like about the opener "Retrovision" is the guitar that arrives around 8 1/2 minutes replacing the female vocals. And how about when that sound turns heavier and more determined before 11 1/2 minutes then the female vocals return. More of that determined sound after 14 minutes and check out that bass 16 minutes in. That would be Mr. Bertram. Paganotti does the bass on the other two tracks. The closer is short at around 4 minutes but a nice edition as we get mostly piano and vocals and it does get intense.

So yeah another MAGMA release that I seem to need to keep around.

 K.A (Köhntarkösz Anteria) by MAGMA album cover Studio Album, 2004
4.25 | 720 ratings

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K.A (Köhntarkösz Anteria)
Magma Zeuhl

Review by Ian McGregor

5 stars A majestic return to form from a legendary 70s band! K.A. finds Magma at its prime once again with its complex time signatures and impressive vocal work. The unexplicable lyrics only add up to the mysterious aura that this band has always posessed, and the tracks of colossal proportions only add upp to the technicality and experimentation the band is capable of.

K.A. I is my favorite from the album and also the least experimental. It sets up the recurring themes of the album in an overture-way, and features the most impressive vocal work from the album. K.A. II is in the middle point between solid or technical (K.A. I) and experimental (K.A. III). It is my least favorite track from the album but I must say it's still one of the best songs of Magma. It reprises previous themes and brings up new ones. K.A. III is the most experimental one, it features an amazing keyboard solo accompanied with some truly incredible drums. This instrumental section lasts pretty long and during the beginning of the song. After it, the song continues playing the recurring themes from previous songs while also bringing a proper ending to the album.

One of their best records for sure! Very few 70s prog rock bands have been capable of making a comeback as good as Magma's K.A. It's five stars for me!

 The Magus by UNIVERSAL TOTEM ORCHESTRA album cover Studio Album, 2008
4.08 | 146 ratings

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The Magus
Universal Totem Orchestra Zeuhl

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

4 stars UNIVERSAL TOTEM ORCHESTRA started out as an offshoot of Runaway Totem when Giuseppe Buttiglione (bass) wanted an outlet to get really freaky way past his band mates' comfort zone and with the project's 1999 debut "Rituale Alieno" which means "Alien Rituals," he achieved just that! The zeuhl style of progressive rock offers a nice stable backbone of rhythmic chunks to paint soundscapes over and Buttiglione offered one of the most diverse and bizarre examples of the genre so far.

Due to the complex nature of creating a UNIVERSAL TOTEM ORCHESTRA album, it took nine years for this sophomore release THE MAGUS to emerge but considering the dense amount of musical influences on board probably required that much time to fine tune. This album is a beast with an 80-minute running time and only six tracks, four of which extend past the 13-minute mark. The opening "De Astrologia" alone is a whopping 19 1/2 minutes long! While the Magma inspired zeuhl has always been the major inspiration, that aspect was stepped up on THE MAGUS a bit but the album is chock full of diverse elements ranging from opera, classical and jazz to hard rock and symphonic prog.

In addition to the star vocal style of Ana Torres Fraile, there are choirs, frenetic keyboard wizardry, avant-prog time signature angularities especially in the guitar playing and beautiful piano sequences. While the zeuhl rhythms offer a dose of hypnotic cyclical riffs, there are plenty of seductive melodic performances as well as extreme complexity with time signature rich counterpoints gunning for the most outrageous display of brutal prog dexterity. THE MAGUS is something like part Magma, part Yugen, part IQ and part psychotic cabaret that happens to include a bit of jazz and classical to the

With Giuseppe out of the band, Yanik Lorenzo Andreatta picks up the bass duties and anchors the band's sound with his extremely dexterous finger workouts. In fact most of the band members are different than the debut with only Ana Fraile returning on vocals along with Giorgio Colin on drums and percussion however guest musician saxophonist Antonio Fedeli returned as a full member. The album is quite diverse in how it changes up tempos, time signatures, dynamics and motifs in a heartbeat and navigates effortlessly through guitar drenched rock segments to complex vocal polyphony parts without missing a beat.

At times sounding like new age music in the clouds and others like a schizoid metal band, UNIVERSAL TOTEM ORCHESTRA certainly made a viable followup to its alienating debut without taking a cookie cutter approach of simply copying and pasting. While all aspects of this album are utterly unique and brilliant, the over the top keyboard solos are probably the highlight although they don't occur as often as i would like. The vocals are absolutely flawless as well however the use of the saxophone really only occurs in smooth jazz fashion and i wish that aspect of the music would've taken on an energetic delivery in the same vein as the heavier rock parts. All in all this is an excellent album which displays an amazing passion for perfection although it does fall short of just that. A truly unique contribution to the zeuhl style.

 Eider Stellaire II by EIDER STELLAIRE album cover Studio Album, 1986
2.65 | 22 ratings

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Eider Stellaire II
Eider Stellaire Zeuhl

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Five years after their amazing debut EIDER STELLAIRE are back, well half of the six piece band are back anyway. The guitarist, drummer and bassist return but gone are the female vocals, the organ and the sax. They add one of the former female members as a guest who played flute and sang on the debut but she's only on that 37 second closer here playing flute, not enough to time to add her vocals(haha). Another guest adds percussion on one track while another adds harp-synths. What! Yes and it sounds as bad as you might imagine with those high pitched pings. A short record at 28 minutes but that's not a bad thing. By the way the followup to this released the following year is in my opinion much better than this one. I want to say this is Zeuhl-lite but really the Zeuhl flavour is weak with some of that coming from the male vocals or the bass but usually not from either. This sounds nothing like the debut and while some actually prefer this style I'm certainly not one of them. A lot of repetitive stuff too as they almost jam at times. There is some piano provided by the drummer by the way. A low 3 stars.
 Neffesh Music :Ghilgoul by SEFFER, YOCHK'O album cover Studio Album, 1978
4.19 | 21 ratings

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Neffesh Music :Ghilgoul
Yochk'o Seffer Zeuhl

Review by bartymj

4 stars Many say Yochk'o Seffer's third 'solo' album is his best - and perhaps the clue is that the full album is on Spotify (other popular streaming sites are available) unlike his previous work which has to be jigsaw-ed together from other albums.

Somewhere within the realm of avant jazz / Zeuhl, this is... pretty good.

Dag opens with a great rolling bassline and drums, with Seffer's sax/piano interplay at the fore. The jarring piano chords in particular give it a slightly Zeuhl feel, as does the appearance of the string quartet in the second half, which play an eerie suspenseful tune which contrasts completely with that bass and drums which don't change at all throughout.

Sifra begins with extraterrestrial piano before violins join in to give it a fairly melancholy feel. A sudden change on the 5 minute mark brings in the sax, bass and drums, in a lengthy passage fairly similar to Dag with the piano increasingly jarring, but still really excellent.

Dailn is a short track that puts Dominique Bertrand at the fore with brilliant bass, before Larma which is the most Zeuhl- like track, beginning with typical Magma-style vocals and a much slower, military tempo.

The title track Ghilgoul begins with ghostly, wailing vocals, joined by a faraway sax. Very haunting. The vocals fade away after four minutes and are replaced by piano in a duet with the sax. The string quartet continue the slightly haunting theme, particularly plucking strings, reminiscent of a psychological thriller.

There's also several bonus tracks with other guest musicians if that wasn't enough for you.

Definitely an excellent album if you're fans of eerie jazz & zeuhl

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Zeuhl bands/artists list

Bands/Artists Country
ALTAÏS France
AMYGDALA Japan
ANAID France
ARCHAIA France
ARKHAM Belgium
BONDAGE FRUIT Japan
SERGE BRINGOLF France
CAILLOU France
CORIMA United States
DAI KAHT Finland
DAIMONJI Japan
DÜN France
EIDER STELLAIRE France
ELEPHANT TOK France
ESKATON France
ÉVOHÉ France
FOEHN France
FRACTALE France
GA'AN United States
HAPPY FAMILY Japan
HIATUS France
HONEYELK France
IKARUS Switzerland
KAKUSENJO NO ONGAKU (BASE OF FICTION) Japan
KOENJI HYAKKEI Japan
LAGGER BLUES MACHINE Belgium
LAKTATING YAK United States
JAMES MAC GAW France
MAGISTER DIXIT France
MAGMA France
MUSIQUE NOISE France
NEOM France
NEW PLEASURE Canada
NOA France
OFFERING France
RYOKO ONO Japan
ORVALIANS France
PAGANOTTI/PAGA GROUP France
PERCEPTION France
POTEMKINE France
PSEU France
RHÙN France
RIALZU France
RUINS Japan
RUNAWAY TOTEM Italy
RYORCHESTRA Japan
SC'ÖÖF Switzerland
SCHERZOO France
YOCHK'O SEFFER France
SEKKUTSU JEAN Japan
SETNA France
KENTA SHIMAKAWA United States
SHUB-NIGGURATH France
STALINGRAD 119 France
SUPER FREEGO France
SYNCOPATED SILENCE Russia
LAURENT THIBAULT France
FRANÇOIS THOLLOT France
JANNICK TOP France
UNIT WAIL France
UNIVERIA ZEKT France
UNIVERSAL TOTEM ORCHESTRA Italy
UPPSALA France
UTOPIC SPORADIC ORCHESTRA France
VAK France
CHRISTIAN VANDER France
VAULTS OF ZIN United States
VAZYTOUILLE France
WEIDORJE France
XALPH France
XING SA France
ZAO France
ZIG ZAG France
ZOIKHEM France
ZWOYLD France

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