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Magyar Posse

Post Rock/Math rock

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Magyar Posse Random Avenger album cover
4.29 | 97 ratings | 9 reviews | 36% 5 stars

Essential: a masterpiece of
progressive rock music

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Studio Album, released in 2006

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Whirlpool of Terror and Tension (5:50)
2. Sudden Death (8:56)
3. Black Procession (2:52)
4. European Lover/Random Avenger (12:32)
5. Intercontinental Hustle (7:37)
6. One by One (3:13)
7. Popzag (7:38)

Total Time 48:40

Line-up / Musicians

- Harri Sippola / guitars
- Mikko Rintala / guitar, bass
- Jari Lähteinen / keyboards
- Pasi Salmi / keyboards
- Sandra Mahlamäki / violin
- Olli Joukio / drums

- Noora Tommila / vocals (1,4,7)
- Ilari Autio / cello (3,7)

Releases information

Artwork: Musta Kirahvi with Sanna Peurakoski (photo)

CD Verdura ‎- verdu-17 (2006, Finland)

Thanks to Nasalspray for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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MAGYAR POSSE Random Avenger ratings distribution

(97 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(36%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(35%)
Good, but non-essential (15%)
Collectors/fans only (7%)
Poor. Only for completionists (6%)

MAGYAR POSSE Random Avenger reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by chamberry
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Whoa! What happened here? This doesn't sound like the same Magyar Posse I heard in Kings of Time...

This is yet another album that bends and breaks the usual traditions post-rock (I better stop saying that) and it's no wonder it got highly praised around the net often considered one of the best post-rock albums of 2006.

Where as Kings of Time was more of a mood album with dark atmospheres and being very cinematic and powerful, Random Avenger bares no resemblance to it. For starters this album is more concrete in its sound leaving little to no space for electronic or ambient fills. The keyboards are more in front as well and sometimes reminds me a lot to TERRY RILEY or STEVE REICH's early recordings. In fact, this album blends flawlessly the rigid and cerebral minimalist music with the theatrical and emotional music of post-rock (imagine Reich's works filled with emotions and a sense of grandiosity and post-rock with the punch and discipline of minimalist composers in the 70's). This combination may look a bit weird in paper, but in the music all just seems to glue together and take shape. The guitars, violins and vocals are, as always, in top shape and perfectly blended with their sound.

The mood of the album is tense. The tittle of the first song, "Whirlpool of Terror and Tension" can be a nice representation of their sound in this album. It isn't aggressive, per se, but it isn't something that one would put before sleeping. It always keeps you in the edge of your sit from the start of the album until the very end. Luckily there are shorter songs in between the more frantic ones that softens the journey and calms your nerves while still being highly enjoyable.

While not sounding "epic" like Godspeed You! Black Emperor or Yndi Halda it can easily rival both bands in the cinematic department. The usual Magyar Posse female wordless vocals are definitely a mayor factor on this and they also give more dynamic to their music (as if their new sound wasn't enough). I really like the overall feel of the album and it wouldn't sound out of place in a post-apocalyptic themed movie or something similar. Although Kings of Time may also fit in a movie like that, Random Avenger takes a totally different direction as mentioned earlier.

I've never been good with words and honestly this album is one of the hardest albums I've tried to explain. Fans of minimalism will definitely enjoy this (I know I did) and post-rock fans will have a new toy to play with. Highly recommended.

Review by Matti
4 stars Chamberry's sole review for this album is totally perfect. He confesses that this album is one of the hardest ones he's tried to explain, but he succeeded in it extremely well, better than I ever could. In addition to the hard-to-describe nature of the music, my knowledge in so called Post-Rock is all too limited. But I'm planning to expand it... The Finnish MAGYAR POSSE (what a strange band name) was recommended to me three years ago and so I listened to Kings of Time album back then. I remember I thought it was fine but remained quite untouched, and have now forgotten what kind of music it was exactly. Now I believe that Random Avenger will become an actively listened album (home taping) to me.

It's one of those rare albums that you wish to hear straight way again after it stops. Sort of cinematic, yes, and minimalistic and emotional - I'm only stealing words from Chamberry. Female wordless vocals and a cello enrich the sound on few tracks; the group consists of two guitarists, two keyboardists, a violinist and a drummer. The music is dynamic and tense, and yet very pleasant to ears, not anyhow disturbing even as background music. I liked it from the very beginning, but it's not the kind of easy greasy music you get bored of in short time. What else can I say? Gimme more Post-Rock, please! (P.S. The cover pictures of empty school stages and such are quite dull, but not without a certain kindred spirit with the music.)

Review by Warthur
5 stars Whereas Magyar Posse's first two albums were fairly typical post-rock efforts, Random Avenger is a far more interesting prospect. The addition of Sandra Mahlamäki to the lineup on violin is a big part of this, but that's not the whole story - what really struck me listening to the album is the melodic keyboard playing of Jari Lähteinen and Pasi Salmi, which at points reminds me of the approach of some neo-prog bands. This deft expansion of the sonic palette of the band results in an extremely original sound which finds them finally standing head and shoulders above the post-rock crowd and finding their own unique voice.
Review by zravkapt
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Magyar Posse are a post-rock group from Finland who have yet to follow-up this amazing album. As more evidence that there is no justice in the world, this album is currently out-of- print and was never easy to find to begin with. Such a shame as this is an album that more people should hear and own. This is both the first post-rock album I have given 5 stars to and the most recent album I have given 5 stars to. Generally, no matter how great they are, a lot of the best post-rock albums still have a little bit of filler or parts that don't seem to go anywhere and add little. I do not give out any 'masterpiece' ratings until that release is a least 5 years old. Random Avenger has stood the test of time long enough to be considered a masterpiece in my opinion. Some think this band has a weird name for a Finnish group; 'Magyar' means 'Hungarian' but apparently the group named themselves after a brand of wine.

The band here changes their sound from the cinematic moodiness of Kings Of Time. Random Avenger is more rocking and symphonic while the drumming is far more important, yet also contains some Steve Reich inspired minimalism. There are two keyboardist here and the keys as well as the violin are very important to the sound. Some odd meters are used as well as wordless vocals, sometimes in harmony or a single female voice. The music is almost linked thematically due to some of the melodies in different songs being similar. Not only are the compositions excellent and well executed but the production is sympathetic to them and the whole album has a great flow to it.

The journey begins with a "Whirlwind Of Terror And Tension" which is a great opener and one of the best tracks. Very symphonic sounding with a restless, urgent vibe. The guitar here almost sounds like 1960s acid rock in places. Features some of those great harmony 'la-la' vocals you hear throughout the album. Goes into a brief GYBE style atmospheric non- music section before returning to the main theme. Nice solo singing towards the end that gets delayed/repeated before it stops. "Sudden Death" starts out in a similar way to the previous song but this is both more upbeat and dramatic sounding. Nice synth sounds in this track. I like the ascending and descending melody done on violin before the music changes and melancholic piano takes over.

The drums, guitar and violin proceed to build up to a crescendo but never actually make it there. Instead it settles down a bit and the music changes yet again to symphonic rock. The beginning melody is reprised at the end. "Black Procession" is under 3 minutes long and like "One By One" could be considered filler if listened to outside the context of the album. Some background sounds are drowned out by almost horror-movie style piano and emotional violin playing. Works as a great segue when you listen to the whole album. The centerpiece of Random Avenger is the 12 1/2 minute title track (sort of) "European Lover/Random Avenger." Opening with very classical sounding piano as if it were recorded off an old radio, more keyboards join it and then guitar picking and fast jazzy hi-hat. Then the bass comes in and the drummer hits the snare rim.

The violin sets up the main musical theme which just builds and builds gloriously from here. Ascending and descending melodies and wordless singing are all part of the fun in this song. Around 4 minutes begins a break where a mini-solo on synth and jazzy cymbal work lead to the best part: where the violin plays it's heart out as the drummer is bashing his cymbals like there is no tomorrow. The second half is more traditionally post-rock sounding yet still symphonic. Some noises on the guitar strings are joined by some guitar strums which create a melody. Vibraphone sets up the final musical theme. The rest of the track builds up in a stereotypical post-rock way but with some great sustained string-synth notes along for the ride. Ends with some accordion that sounds like it was recorded off an old radio.

"Intercontinental Hustle" has a similar vibe to the first two tracks. More great violin work here. Before 3 minutes is some interesting keyboard work and then it goes back to the main melody, already in the process of building a crescendo. The tempo picks up at the end and it almost sounds like space-rockers Ozric Tentacles or even Hawkwind. "One By One" is a 3 minute piece which features lovely acoustic guitar picking. Some background sounds and vocals. Gets spacier towards the end. Like "Black Procession" this works as a segue but would not stand on it's own. "Popzag" is the last song and true to it's name its the most poppy song here, but that is mostly because it is more upbeat and optimistic sounding than the rest of the album. More great 'la-la' vocals here. Some good guitar after 3 minutes. Great mix of Leslie-fied guitar and organ/synth at one point. In fact, the main melody/riff of the song is done on organ.

Magyar Posse was one of those bands who just got better and better with every release but unfortunately have not yet followed up Random Avenger. Maybe this album is so perfect they realize they will never top it...or even match it in terms of quality. Definitely one of the better post-rock releases of the past 10 years. This is post-rock that would appeal to fans of symphonic prog or possibly even Crossover or Neo as well. I hope this album gets released again because it deserves to be and is one of the best albums of the 2000s. Try and find a used copy or a digital version of Random Avenger because it just great, great, great. There is very little I can criticize about this, 5 stars.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars The Post Rock sound on this album is so light and refreshing, much closer to the STEREOLAB and TORTOISE styles of the early PR years in the 90s than the heavy, murky stuff of the Naughties.

1. "Whirlpool of Terror and Tension" (5:50) Staccato based rhtyhm structure with drums, rock instruments and percussives and keyboards along with the use of female vocalist Noora Tommila as a kind of horn section is brilliant. The simple, 1960s cinema-style guitar leads and use of string orchestra and is high tuned percussion instruments to accent the syncopated melody is all equally uplifting--adding much to this great song. (10/10)

2. "Sudden Death" (8:56) the initial melody line of this one was later stolen and developed differently into JAGA JAZZIST's wonderful "One-Armed Bandit." Kind of a keyboard/harpsichord sound developed by several instruments weaving the melody together. The long, sustained, deep wah-pedaled synth growls are awesome as are the drums and guitars throughout the opening, 'introductory' two minutes. Violin, electric guitar and synth then begin presenting another, slower melody line over the top until everything slows to a stop at 3:20 to allow for a piano-based interlude. Drums, bass and sensitively picked & strummed electric guitar also participate in the foundational aspects of this section until high register violin melody line and, later, Post Rock electric guitars brimming with potential energy, join in. Another quiet down at 5:55 allows piano and electric guitar to return the dynamic back to a gentler place--until that is, a strum at 6:40 announces the start of the final release. First electric guitar, then bass and second electric guitar, then drums and screeching/scratching violin announce their positions while building a beautiful MONO-like collective melody weave. Until the final 20 seconds of recapitulationof the opening riffs. Incredible song! And they never really got to the peak of their climax! (They didn't have to!) (10/10)

3. "Black Procession" (2:52) piano, strings, synths, singing bowls, and violin provide the lead for this slow, beautiful weave. (9/10)

4. "European Lover/Random Avenger" (12:32) opens with a bit of a "Tubular Bells" sound and feel--though bass, guitars and strings are in accompaniment of the bells sound from the opening. When the drums and lead violin enter they take over the melody delivery. Noora Tommila's voice is present again, this time in a single track, mixed into the background--which serves to add to feeling that this cinematic song is very much from a soundtrack from some 1970s European suspense-thriller. The break down at the 5:30 mark opens up and extended space in which distant and near guitars are gently plucked and strummed, respectively. This section could be straight out of any song from BARK PSYCHOSIS's debut album, Hex. Gorgeous yet moody, even nostalgic. As the song enters the ninth minute it is building in intensity and, though it enters the realm of "ordinary" Post Rock, it loses none of its interest or allure. The final minute contains "distant" sounding accordion and percussive stringed instrument--as if one were present at the end of a circus/fair. (10/10)

5. "Intercontinental Hustle" (7:37) opens with a sound and style quite similar to that of the album's opening song, but then smooths out with sustained violin notes soaring above the staccato rhythms beneath. Synth takes a turn mirroring the violin's melody as the presence of percussion instrumentation amps up. At 2:50 everything quiets for a few seconds before the full force returns with its continued onslaught of volume and breadth of instruments presenting both the foundational rhythm and the melody track. Things quiet a little again with about three minutes to go to allow for the violin to try some inverted variations of its original melody themes. The sixth and seventh minutes find the melody fixing itself on one note, within one chord, for a bit before a cacophonous melee of free-form instruments (violin, guitars, synths) shred their instruments to the end. (9/10)

6. "One by One" (3:13) presents a laid back, almost campfire-like acoustic guitar-based song. Two guitars, a male voice in the background, and a little keyboard action, also in the background, give this song it's sleepy-time shape and sound. Nice, pretty, and unpretentious. (9/10)

7. "Popzag" (7:38) opens with organ providing another syncopated staccato rhythm track around which other instruments join and build--first a breathy keyboard synth, guitar, rolling bass, straight-time drums and Noora Tommila's "la, la, la, la" vocalizations. It's like a slowed down version of the opening song. Violin and electric guitar begin asserting themselves at the end of the third minute while the organ repeatedly bounces down a descending chord sequence. Guitars then take a turn with keys and violin moving into background support. The melody of the lead instruments at the 4:40 mark remind me of an ALAN PARSONS PROJECT song from their debut album. Just before the beginning of the final minute the song returns to its foundation while Noora's vocalizations turn to repetitions of downwardly stretched, "Haa-aah"s. Not a bad song, just a little more subdued and sedate than the previous highs. (8/10)

A true masterpiece of progressive rock music. According to my calculations, Random Avenger is The new Best Album of 2006 and certainly one of the top ten Post Rock albums I've ever heard. I attribute this to the wonderful contributions of violin, two keyboard players, and voice of a Siren--as well as to terrific compositional sensibilities.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars MAGYAR POSSE are a Post-Rock band from Finland and this their third studio album(and last so far) released in 2006. "Random Avenger" is one of the highest rated Post-Rock albums on the site here and if this is their last album they certainly went out on top. They are a six piece band with the two guitarists who also playing bass while we also get two keyboardist, a drummer and a violinist. Two guests help out with cello and female vocal melodies respectively.

"Whirlpool Of Terror And Tension" has a brief eerie soundscape before pulsating sounds kick in then the guitar comes in over top a minute in. Some vocal melodies too. I really like the sound of this. Violin at 3 1/2 minutes then the vocals become more of the focus after 4 minutes. "Sudden Death" opens with keys and a beat before it builds with electronics and more. Love the atmosphere after 2 minutes. It calms right down at 3 1/2 minutes then the violin joins in as it stays relaxed. It's so uplifting 5 1/2 minutes in before it kicks back in at 8 minutes. This is both beautiful and uplifting. "Black Procession" has sparse keys and atmosphere before some mournful cello joins in.

"European Lover/ Random Avenger" builds slowly until it's fuller at 1 1/2 minutes. Violin before 2 minutes. This is good. At 4 1/2 minutes I'm thinking it's going to break out but then they pull it back before kicking some ass after 5 minutes. A calm follows as it slowly builds but it doesn't really kick back in until after 10 minutes with some ripping guitar. The final minute is mellow. "Intercontinental Hustle" has this bright guitar intro but it turns full quickly with pulsating keys and more. Great sound to this one and the violin is incredible here. An all out blitz before 6 1/2 minutes but then it settles right down after 7 minutes. "One By One" has picked guitar to start. Nice. Some vocal melodies come and go as it blends into "Popzag". Pulsating organ arrives quickly followed by vocal melodies. Violin around 3 minutes in this uptempo closer.

I'm not as thrilled with this as most seem to be but yes this is a very strong Post-Rock album that I'm happy to own. A solid 4 stars.

Review by siLLy puPPy
5 stars On RANDOM AVENGER, the third and final album from the Pori, Finland based MAGYAR POSSE, the band made some substantial changes which makes this album sound completely different from the previous two which were more in the same camp although "Kings Of Time" did give some clues as to how the sound would lead to this third grand finale. RANDOM AVENGER sees violinist Sandra Mahlamäki become a permanent member and contribute more than a mere two tracks as she did as a guest musician on the previous album. While the band grew from a quintet to a sextet, the number of guest musicians was paired down to include only Noora Tommila on vocals and cellist Ilari Autio on a couple tracks.

RANDOM AVENGER is a much more energetic affair than much of the slow drifting atmospheric drenched segments of the band's two previous albums. While the general post-rock paradigm is in full swing with long overarching cyclical grooves that ratchet up the intensity to climactic crescendocore frenzies, the intricacies of every single moment are augmented as the Ennio Morricone soundtrack based melodies find new ways to express themselves in the vast seas of sound. Comparisons to neighboring Norway's Jaga Jazzist's 2005 "What We Must" have been made as MAGYAR POSSE treads the similar ground of mixing rock, loungy jazz and electronica laced with not only nonchalant marching tempos that blithely free float through space but also dish out some more off- kilter time signature workouts.

In fact, due to Mahlamäki's expanded role on violin and the addition of select moments of cello, the band often sounds more like a chamber orchestra as the repetitive post-rock riffs get buried beneath layers of twin guitar riffing, violin sweeps, piano runs and the independent bass grooves. The instruments are more dynamic this time around as they provide more sophisticated counterpoints and while more energized, they unite to create a lush display of overlapping sounds and intertwined sound layers that find a multitude of variations on how to express the melancholic musical journey. The opener "Whirlpool of Terror and Tension" has been lauded as one of the best Finnish songs in the 21st century and RANDOM AVENGER found great success in their native Finland but also created greater ripples in the ever growing post-rock world having mustered up enough creative force to stand out amongst the pack.

Once again MAGYAR POSSE deliver all the emotional tugs that their soundtrack inspired melodies always have but on RANDOM AVENGER everything is teased out into ever greater complexities and there is very little down time save the scant moment where a piano melody laments with a weeping violin. For the most part a complex interchange of rock infused energy and atmospheric rivers conspire to create a series of unexpected twists and turns without sacrificing the greater arching construct that ties the seven tracks together. While mostly instrumental, RANDOM AVENGER continues the trend of including wordless vocals with the opener providing an almost Swingle Singer inspired series of jazzy skat utterances. While the clear influences of Mogwai, Godspeed! You Black Emperor and Sigur Ros are fully on board, MAGYAR POSSE merge them so tightly and add their own elements that the band takes on its own identity way beyond the limiting factors of the first two albums.

Of the three MAGYAR POSSE studio albums which include "We Will Carry You Over the Mountains," "Kings Of Time" and RANDOM AVENGER, it is this last chapter in the band's short run that really pushed the boundaries of the whole post-rock world and displayed perfectly that beautiful uplifting complex melodies could co-exist side by side with highly tortured soundscapes. The beauty of this album is how it alternates between the serene passages and the bombast of the more aggressive parts and while the cyclical grooves provide repetition to serve as an anchor of stability, the ever changing variations around them make this album quite animated and far richer than its predecessors in terms of breadth and scope of conveying a larger sonic palette of possibilities. It's too bad that MAGYAR POSSE didn't record another album since they existed up to 2012 but at least they went out on an extremely high note. This is one of the pinnacles of post-rock perfection.

Latest members reviews

5 stars From time to time a group releases a perfect album and then has difficulty recovering from it, this is the case of MAGYAR POSSE. This group offers basic minimalist music that infuses deep mantranic, psychedelic and tribal sounds; languorous sounds, progressive explosions and captivating tunes lik ... (read more)

Report this review (#2311676) | Posted by alainPP | Sunday, February 2, 2020 | Review Permanlink

4 stars For the first time listened to "Whirlpool Of Terror And Tension" , I felt like lost in both serenity and chaos. This song always reminds me two-face greek figure "Janus" as the god of gates, doors, beginnings, and endings. Chaos, namely, as the cradle of possibility, takes you in its gates. T ... (read more)

Report this review (#135176) | Posted by Tunca Arican | Tuesday, August 28, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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