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Magma Mekan´k Destrukt´w Kommand÷h album cover
4.28 | 1145 ratings | 96 reviews | 54% 5 stars

Essential: a masterpiece of
progressive rock music

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Studio Album, released in 1973

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Hortz Fur DŰhn StekŰhn Ẁest (9:34)
2. ¤ma SŘr´ Donda´ (4:28)
3. Koba´a Is De HŘnd´n (3:35)
4. Da Zeuhl Ẁortz MŰkan´k (7:48)
5. NebŰhr Gudahtt (6:00)
6. MŰkan´k K÷mmand÷h (4:08)
7. KreŘhn K÷hrmahn Iss De HŘnd´n (3:14)

Total Time: 38:47

Bonus Track on 1988 Seventh Records CD edition:
8. M.D.K. (Alternative Version) (34:35)

Line-up / Musicians

- Klaus Blasquiz / vocals, percussion
- Claude Olmos / guitar
- Jean-Luc Manderlier / piano, organ
- Teddy Lasry / brass (?), flute
- RenÚ Garber / bass clarinet, vocals
- Jannick Top / bass
- Christian Vander / drums, percussion, vocals, organ
- Stella Vander, Muriel Streisfeld, Evelyn Razymovski, Michele Saulnier, Doris Reihnardt / chorus vocals

Releases information

LP Vertigo ‎- 6499 729 (1973, France)

CD Seventh Records ‎- REX VII (1988, France) Mastered from a vinyl copy and including a bonus track
CD Seventh Records ‎- 274 1703 (2009, France) Remastered (?)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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MAGMA Mekan´k Destrukt´w Kommand÷h ratings distribution

(1145 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(54%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(27%)
Good, but non-essential (12%)
Collectors/fans only (5%)
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)

MAGMA Mekan´k Destrukt´w Kommand÷h reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
4 stars As the peak of a mountain disgorges lava and it becomes art , Magma created from this volcano an endless flow of fusion from the gaping mouth/crater between classic(Stockhausen and Orff) , jazz (Coltrane) and transformed it into a rock and it is an extremely fine blend. This is some of the most essential music ever written and in 100 years , this should be considered a masterpiece of classic along with Mozart .Think I'm exagerating ,uh? Try it because this music is only waiting for a sensible mind to invade. This was recently re-released as a part of Theuz Amtakh trilogy .
Review by Fitzcarraldo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This is a very Teutonic-sounding album, due both to the Kobaian language that the band's French founder Christian Vander (percussionist and composer) concocted for the purposes of his ambitious multi-album musical project, and to the music being reminiscent of German composer Carl Orff's "Carmina Burana". Kobaia, by the way, is supposed to be a planet of spiritually enlightened humans who left Earth and formed a new civilisation. This particular album tells the story of the Theusz Hamtaahk (Time of Hatred).

Apart from the superficial similarity to Orff's music, the music on this album also has clear jazz-rock influences. There is a lot of repetition within tracks, both in the melody and in the choral chanting, and in my opinion the music is less sophisticated than many would have you believe. Nevertheless the overall effect is pleasing and I do not find the album difficult listening. The repetition is almost hypnotic in places.

From the perspective of Progressive Rock history, MAGMA is an important band; indeed the Zeuhl genre came into being with MAGMA (the word Zeuhl is a Kobaian adjective meaning 'celestial'). I believe fans of Progressive Rock will find the detailed sci-fi concept (with its strong spiritual message) interesting, and the music itself progressive and enjoyable, although this album is not one that I would say is essential from a musical point of view. If you enjoy Orff's "Carmina Burana", jazz-rock fusion and Wagnerian opera then you will probably like this 1973 release. It's not something that I personally would rush out to buy, so I'll give it 3 stars (Good, but non-essential).

Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars OH WOW! This is what they call the Zeuhl style, a progressive rock subgenre! How does it sound like? This record is partly a mix of the Frank Zappa's "Teenage prostitute" track, his "200 motels" album, the Philip Glass' Photographer album, the Mike Oldfield's 70's work and the Pink Floyd's "Atom heart mother" track (the vocals)! The combination of Zappa- esque trumpets of the early 70's and orgasmic & emotive male + female opera singers is absolutely delightful! Add some excellent percussions (small bells), rhythmic piano parts, a complex bass, elaborated drums and you get this wonderful Zeuhl record of the early 70's. The mood principle is to repeat incessantly some brief complex parts made of emotive opera vocals, safely enhanced by rich bass, percussions, drums, piano and horns arrangements. ALL the tracks are excellent! "Nebehr Gudahtt" is absolutely hysterical!! This record is very sexy, and it seems to celebrate the pleasure in its most orgasmic, magmatic form.


Review by James Lee
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Quick generalization: do you like the often-sampled "O Fortuna" from Orff's Carmina Burana? Then you'll probably like MAGMA's "Mekanik Destruktiw Kommandoh".

There's really very little else to compare it to, though it takes influence from several other sources: modern classical composers as well as bop-era jazz and a smattering of rock elements. The album is a largely choral work with some orchestral instrumental embellishments over a rock/jazz combo, all of which meld to form a heavy and unique ensemble characterized by Teutonic intensity, hypnotic repetition, and cathartic exultation. The language used, Kobaian, is an essential part of the creative structure, having been developed specifically for the music by the band themselves (mostly by the original MAGMA visionary, Christian Vander). This album is part of an extended narrative with elements of spirituality and science-fiction, portraying a group of spacefaring refugees from Earth and the history of their new society. Howver, since you have to be fluent in Kobaian to understand it, you may want to track down a translation to attempt to appreciate the story for yourself.

There's really nothing quite like the album. Opinions are pretty polarized, with many feeling that MDK is a work of complete originality and genius and others asserting that it is nothing but noise and nonsense. It's perfectly okay to laugh at it, or be a little scared, at first- but once these initial impressions have dissipated you will be in a much better position to either appreciate MDK (in which case you'll probably want to check out the rest of the trilogy, as well as other Zeuhl albums) or discard it as unfit within your concept of music. Nothing I could write would alter that decision one bit. So buy, borrow, or otherwise find a copy of MDK and decide for yourself...because with a work this original and momentous, the only mistake would be to never have heard it.

Review by Cygnus X-2
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars I really don't see what the big deal with this album is. I mean, I tried my best to enjoy it. I even find the music a bit enjoyable, too. The biggest problem I have with it is the vocals. Ranging from annoying to god-awful, there isn't really one moment of the operatic bombasticness of the vocal performances I can enjoy. The music also tends to drag on, and feels as if it is going no where. I can appreciate what Magma has done for progressive rock, and I can appreciate their creativity on this album, but I feel that it just isn't good music.

The worst track on this album is definitely Nebehr Gudahtt, which features a rather bland jazz beat, topped with nonsensical screaming that can't do anything less than annoy.

Although I find so much wrong with this album, there are some nice jazz beats dispersed between the operatic maelstrom. If you can stand such bizarre concepts, than this might be for you. However, I'll give it a 2/5.

Review by Trotsky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Are you into massed choral vocals a la Carl Orff's Carmina Burana? And if you are, do you want to hear a whole album's worth of that kind of music? If your answer to both questions is yes, then you will definitely belong among the massed rank of Magma fans (who call themselves Kobaians) and think that Mekanik Destruktiw Kommandoh is an unparalled masterpiece. Unfortunately, despite the fact that this Christian Vander-led outfit boasts some very skillful musicians, I just cannot get past the dominance of the vocal style, and I am beginning to suspect that I am someone for whom the Magma (space?) ship appears to have sailed.

For those who aren't in the know, Magma blend sophisticated jazz-rock and certain modern classical techniques with the chorale vocals (sung in a made-up rather Teutonic sounding language) to create a unique, but ultimately polarizing style of music. On this album in particular the vocals are an overpowering force that detract from the occasionally outstanding music. I should say that I enjoy Magma tracks (from other albums) like Kobaia's excellent title track and Troller Tanz (from Udu Wudu) that don't have quite such a dominating vocal presence.

The songs that stand out despite inspite of the grating vocals are Kobaia Is De Hundin, the groovy, brass-laden Mekanik Kommandoh and the frightening Nebehr Gudahtt, but in other cases like Da Zeuhl Wortz Mekanik, Magma's repetitive style is exceedingly tiresome.

I must say that one worrying thing about this album in particular, is that I've enjoyed it less and less each time I've returned to it. A couple of months ago, this might have been a 3 star album, but now it simply isn't. ... 44% on the MPV scale

Review by frenchie
4 stars Man, I am freaking out! All good reviews start with that! I'll be honest, I have absolutely no idea what's going on in this album! It sounds like French opera meets jazz fusion with a bit of minimalist noise rock and a thick coating of "Holy crap this is weird!". Musically it is pretty good. The album relies heavily on repetitive droning piano work and some crazy vocals from both French males and females who sing without fear of embaressment. Some jazz and guitar creep their way subtley into the background behind the insane vocals too. Some good pulsating drum beats, though sometimes they are buried in the mix.

This is my first dip into Zeuhl and it's pretty crazy to make up your own language. They musta been sitting around a piano one day (possibly off their faces), thinking... "You know i've never been a good lyricist, feck it lads! Lets make up our own language!". Well i guess it works, yet I am puzzled at how a French band sound more like they are singing in German. It worked for Sigur Ros too.

The music on this album can get on your nerves yet it is strangely intruiging and really not that bad at all. The vocals are the biggest problem, not technically bad, but rather in your face, overcramped into the songs, often with barely a moment of just instrumental work. Sometimes the music gets very directionless as it doesn't really build to anything, yet there is somehow it seems to work well and keeps the listener (me) listening till the end even at times i start to question why the hell i didn't stop at track one.

The best tracks are 1 and 4. Though each track doesn't really differ vastly, it sounds more like one big concept of craziness. There is weirder stuff out there, namely Captain Beefheart and Frank Zappa, but this one still leaves you puzzled and thinking, "WTF?". A good listen overall, luckily they album is kept short so it just managed to avoid getting too repetitive. Definitely not for everyone, probably an acquired taste to really enjoy getting lots of Zeuhl albums, but as this is the only one I've heard I say it's a good start. I probably won't be expandiny my Zeuhl collection though. Recommended for those after something different, this album is very well recognised as being a masterpiece but I'll settle for 4 stars. Good but it definitely has flaws.

Review by Progbear
5 stars A quantum-leap forward in Magma's oeuvre. Earlier albums seemed to be mainly a struggle between Vander's singular conceptual vision and Franšois Cahen's jazzier leanings, but this album is totally Vander's baby.

Essentially a single, uninterrupted multi-movement piece, MDK is for sure not for the faint of heart! Starting with a pounding piano figure and barely letting up for the duration of the album, the entire album consists of a sort of sustained intensity, gradual build-ups to almost orgiastic frenzy, counteracted by more somber moments. For this disc, the band is augmented by a five-piece female choir (including, for the first time, Stella Vander, Christian's wife) which adds an eerie texture to proceedings and is one of the things that absolutely sends this one into the stratosphere.

In short, this is where Magma quit being a jazz-rock band with a weird gimmick, and started becoming Magma. Open-eared listeners please apply here.

Review by Zac M
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This is probably the best place for anyone to start listening to Magma or Zeuhl music in general. Christian Vander manages to combine elements of jazz, prog, rock ,and classical with operatic vocals thrown in. The previous albums all had less of a Vander influence and definitely had a jazzier feel to them. While this one keeps some elements of jazz, it manages to combine other genres, themes, and elements that help make this Vander's magnum opus.

Although all of the lyrics are in the made-up language, Kobaian, this album is still quite enjoyable, but is still not for everyone, as evident in the other reviews of this album. Everything flows nicely together and builds. The music itself and the concept are truly excellent (althouh I'm not auite sure totally what the concept is, I'll have to reread the album notes). It's hard to pick a best a track seeing as the album all flows together, but I guess I would choose Ima Suri Dondai. It combines all of the elements, themes, and overall feel of the album in to one song.

This album is highly recommended, although you may want to listen to an mp3 of the band before you go out and buy any of there material. Every Zeuhl fan must own this. It is truly a masterpiece of the sub-genre. No doubt about it, 5 stars all the way!

Review by Alucard
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Since I heard Christian Vander in a long interview on a French Radio I was fascinated by the person and shared his love for John Coltrane.Christian Vander has like Zappa and his 'Conceptual Continuity' or Richard Wagner and his 'Gesamtkunstwerk' constructed his oeuvre around a personal mythology, that integrates music , lyrics, and graphic design : the famous 'Koba´an mythology', in big outlines a mythology about 'Koba´a' a planet with positive vibes in opposition to the corrupted planet Earth. Vander created even the imaginary language of the planet 'The Koba´an', which forms the basis for the vocal work of 'Magma'. 'Mekanik Destrukt´w Kommandoh' forms the third part of the 'Theusz Hamtaahk' cycle.

I liked the first two 'Magma' records and was surprised by the new orientation, that Vander took on M.D.K. The lighter instrumental Jazz-Rock/ Brass/Vocal arrangements leave place to a heavily vocal/choir oriented record, influenced by Carl Orff, Richard Wagner and the pulsating rhythm of Coltrane's Quartet, a combination which doesn't work too good IMO. The whole record, build up like a long suite( not unlike Coltrane' Love Supreme') moves on like a tank, a heavy pulsating rythm ponctuated by the alternating solo vocals/choir arragements. Even the light weighted soft Machine like brass arrangements of 1001░ centigrades leave place to unisono brass blocks. I was never a big fan of Carl Orff's Oratorios and I don't know to what extent Stella Vander is responsible for the vocal & choir arrangements, but the result is not very convincing either : a mixture of free vocal expression and over simplified harmonic blocks Ó la Carl Orff.

Now, the musicianship is excellent and the music itself is well executed, but I don't like at all this mixture of a neo-classical oratorio with a heavy jazz pulse and I am not very sensitive to the seriousness the 'Koba´an' dimension took on this record. This record is missing some lightheartness and humour.

Review by Moatilliatta
5 stars I bought this album solely based on hearsay. My first experience with Magma was ▄dŘ WŘdŘ, which was essentially bought on impulse. After reading an intriguing biography and some reviews, I determined that Magma was definitely a band I needed to hear. While the consensus was that Mekan´k Destrukt´w Kommand÷h was the group's masterpiece, ▄dŘ WŘdŘ was the album I was able to get my hands on first. It was a difficult release to get into (I will expand upon my thoughts upon reviewing that album), but it did enough to keep my interest in hearing he rest of the catalog. Also, I had gathered that the album I chose as my first experience with Magma was quite different from the album I had initially wanted to hear. A month or two later, I received my copy of MDK. Not knowing at all what it would be like, I popped it in my CD Player...

WOW! What unprecedented innovation! This is so original, and extremely difficult to sum up in words. What we have here is a very tight musical core, with a unique sound rooted in jazz and rock, with operatic vocals (comparable to Carl Orff) on top. The vocals are all over the place; they sing, chant, yell, etc. It is very interesting and often amusing; I can get a laugh out of some of this stuff, whether it was meant to be comical or not. There is mainly one man doing the vocals, but there are some vocal contributuions by other men. Along side them is a small female choir. The instrumentalists all do very well. The arrangements are so tightly constructed; all of the players function together as a single unit most of the time, meaning there isn't much room for standout parts or solos. It is a very complex piece, that incorporates odd times, polyrhythms, tempo shifts, etc. and requires a great deal of focus.

Vander (the mastermind of the group) is an excellent drummer and songwriter. He single- handedly wrote this piece, and invented a sound of his own with this album. Every fan of progressive music, or creative music in general should at least give this album a try. I guarentee it will surprise you. It will most certainly take a while to get the full effect of the song/album, but that is practically a given with all intellectual music. The only disclaimers I have here are: 1) The lyrics are in a made up language (Kobaian), if for some reason that is a deterrent for you, don't bother. 2) The piece takes a little while to really get going, so if you've gotten as far as obtaining this, don't be so skeptical three or four minutes into it- just hang in there. Not all will enjoy or appreciate, but there is no denying the innovation.

Review by OpethGuitarist
4 stars MDK is an album that is perhaps one of the most pretentious works I have, yet, the majority of this still works. Combining elements of tribal drums, operatic vocals, with large doses of jazz, and an even larger dose of mere creativity. To say this album is interesting is an understatement.

The first track is one I am instantly drawn to, as it reminds me of a battle theme from Lord of the Rings, it would fit perfectly with it. When the horns come in at 2:20, I feel the power in myself that the music has. The speed picks up with the 2nd track, with a symphony like atmosphere with lots of repetition and a thundering background.

Vocals are the name of the game with this album. Always dramatic and full of meaning, even if you don't necessarily understand that meaning. That being said, the repetition can be a bit much at times. The first half of the album is better than the second. Still, one of the most creative and interesting albums I own.

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I fully understand that most people praise this album and consider it as masterpiece or at least excellent rating. Look at the average rating at this site which is 4 plus. So, it must be "something" so peculiar about this album. Well, on musical terms this album can be considered as excellent album as the musicians who created this album must be geniuses! Performing music like this is not an easy task as it contains repetition of existing chords over and over without any chorus at all as in typical music making.

As I know my taste that in most cases I enjoy prog music is due to complexities, harmonies and (sometime) with good melody. I have never been exposed to the kind of Magma MKD. It seems difficult for me to digest. Here is what I feel: when the song finishes and where is music interlude or chorus? Everything is just repetition. The challenge is how to keep pace with the music. If I'm asked for a reason why I can digest the music offered by Magma, it's probably the harmonies of music created here even though in most cases lack melody line. Of course some people would enjoy this unique music by Magma.

Overall, I cannot push myself go into deep analysis of the music offered by magma but definitely I know that this is not a simple composition. I presumably believe that each song was created for a such a long time long before recording was taken place. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Review by Prog-jester
3 stars I ain’t an Avant stuff devotee. There are very few bands I can listen to, and even less I can enjoy. Strangely enough, MAGMA (and MDK specially) falls into the first category. I remember picking that album first in 2002 or 2003, when I wasn’t aware even of some Symphonic and Art greats, and I’ve been completely blown away by it. I failed to love it – I just burned it in on CD-R hoping to “get” it later. Well, now is the time it seems.

Hypnotic, monotonous, repetitive themes, built around one or two melodic lines, usually in “cracked” rhythm, supplied with choirs and sometimes insane female vocalism (the closest vocal I can think of is CRADLE OF FILTH’s one! :) ), quite jammy, groovy and jazzy stuff after all…Probably their darkest and most Zeuhlish album, MDK is a discovery that you should explore by yourself. Recommended even if you’re not in weird stuff like me – just try!

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars When Cahen and Seffer left to form ZAO they apparently took MAGMA's Jazz element with them. This is MAGMA's most well known recording and the emphesis is squarly on the vocals. The five member choir along with the other three vocalists sing and chant methodically and repeatedly throughout this whole recording. This is what makes or breaks this album for people, can you handle it ! I found the vocal melodies a little more harsh then the other Zeuhl bands i've listen to, but I actually enjoyed them for the most part. Many of these tracks blend into one another, some even having the same melody for a while.

"Hortz Fur Dehn Stekehn West" opens with a catchy beat as spoken words are followed by vocals and then a multitude of vocals. The vocal arrangements and vocals themselves are pretty incredible. We get some organ 6 1/2 minutes in followed by horns and guitar. "Ima Suri Dondai" opens with piano and operatic vocals. A good section 2 1/2 minutes in with female vocals, drums, horns and guitar. More vocals join in after 3 minutes. "Kobaia Is De Hundin" again begins with piano as this one is more uptempo with some frenzied vocals. Guitar and piano end it.

"De Zeuhl Wortz Mekanik" features more great vocals with drums, guitar and bass. I like the way the guitar plays over the hypnotic and relentless vocals.The bass shines on this one as well. "Nebehr Gudahtt" opens with piano as the female vocals get a little crazy on this one. Some scorching guitar 4 1/2 minutes in as the vocals get even more bizarre. "Mekanik Kommandoh" sounds amazing, this is my favourite song on the album. Horns, organ and vocals all become fast paced. "Kreuhn Kohrmahn Iss De Hundin" is slower paced with heavy drums 2 minutes in followed by sax melodies. The male vocals are crying out.

This is where Zeuhl started really along with ZAO's debut. Must-haves !

Review by Dim
4 stars Before you read on, I have no idea how to aproach reviewing this kind of music in anyway, so excuse my lack of deatail. My first encounter with zeuhl, and I'm extremely impressed. I cant understand a single word they're saying, and the music is not pretensious or virtuosic like what progressive scene was all about back in the day. The album continuosly flows, and never breaks the atmosphere it creates from song one to 7 (NO, I am not going to attempt spelling any of the lobain words). Operatic vocals with some horns and pianos are what drive this album with very few electric instruments except an electric guitar playing little arpegios and lead lines. Now I will attempt reviewing the music...

The album starts abruptly with some piano and simple drums, after a while Vander, and his merry group of men come in with their vocals, just for the women of the group to bounce right after them. The setting of the song moves often from then on out, but even on first listen you realise the piano, horns and guitar play the exact same chords/notes as the vocals at the same time. After this song, the next song starts quickly to go into some short phrases, then shout whatever they are all singing in short bursts, accompanied by horns. This song also debuts Vanders organ in the album, and some really cool snare work towards the middle of the song while the females are singing the same phrase over and over. The song then climaxes, then goes right into the next song just like the last transition. The into to this song is fun with two piano's palying off each other and some WEIRD stuff played on the guitar. By this point, I am starting to think the female vocalists are the primary vocals in this album, I dont know any other albums, so I cant tell you if that is the usual magma trend. After some ensembles by both vocal groups, a nice instrumental outro goes into the next song... which starts on the phrae the females kept on repeating in song number two. This song is just like the last couple of songs, but I am told that this particular song "de zeuhl wortz mekanik" is considered the holy song of all kobaia, but I am a super noob to this music and religion so I have no idea what I'm saying. If you want me to be honest, the rest of the album kinda flows with this trend of piano intro, vocal bouncing, short instrumental, climax, outro. Except song number five, where whoever the lead vocalists of each group start screaming there lungs out and sound like they're about to have a panic attack. This may sound like the album is repetetive and boring, but every song has a new aspect to each of the couple of elements I siad, and is extremely great to listen to.

The first time I tried listening to this, I had no idea what I had gotten myself into, with weird shreeking people and simple music, I was immediatly turned off, but after about two more listens, I just wanted to listen it it more and more, its infectious and is amazingly fun to listen to. The album as a whole, is the essence of zeuhl, no doubt about it, and a great place to start with this genre.

*EDIT* After the hype of the first listens, the album gets very dull, definately not cut out for daily usage.


Review by ghost_of_morphy
4 stars What a strange album! MDK is often cited as an album that is challenging to the listener. Certainly, if one isn't familiar with Magma, this album will be a listening experience set quite apart from normal expectations. It's a very good album, though, and it's impact and influence have been wide ranging. I'll give it four stars here, as it really is a landmark in progressive music, but Magma has done better.

First of all, don't let the track listings fool you. This is one epic work, not seven short songs. It was meant to be listened to in one sitting, where the listener lets the magic of the album wash over him. The epic is unified by a recurring chord progression (usually and most notably played on the piano) which the various voices of Magma riff off of. This structure will recur again in the more stately (and to my ears, more masterful) K÷hntark÷sz.

The musicianship on this album is outstanding. Of particular note are the intricacies of Vander's drumming and the amazing bass playing of Jannik Top. Two great musicians at the top of their game, supported by a scintillating band, make this album special. I can't talk about the musicianship without mentioning the vocals, because the vocals are an integral part of this album. Indeed, MDK is all about vocals as instruments. That is where people seem to find the challenge in this album. The operatic style and the nearly incomprehensible lyrics are what give the most dedicated progger pause here. Listen to them as if they were instruments, however, and MDK will make a whole lot more sense, even though they occasionally go a bit overboard. (I find the soprano a bit annoying when she is riffing at the top of her range.)

So let's sum this up by saying that this is a Magma album that every progger should want to own. It is pompous, bombastic, overblown, challenging, and totally in the spirit of the '70's progressive movement while breaking fallow ground. 4 stars.

Review by Queen By-Tor
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars It's all Kobaian to me...

Magma is one of those obscure little bands that gets a lot of attention thanks to their hardcore fans, but for all those of us outside the circle they can be one of the most threatening to approach. This is for a number of reasons really - Magma is not exactly your run of the mill band (which can be good and bad) in that they're a French band that sings in a made up language while using multitudes of musicians to create a bizarre mix of jazz and prog which they call Zeuhl. Not to mention that any music by the band is bloody impossible to find in stores since they are just that obscure. Cds and vinyls by them sell for ridiculous amounts of dollars in some places, although with the advent of (legal) downloading they're becoming a lot easier to find.

From the moment the needle hits the grooves with this one you know you're in for something, you may not know what that something is, but you're in for it. This music really is thicker than a brick (no prog pun intended) in that the music is impossibly layered with everything you would never expect to hear. Tonnes of instruments give life to the screaming and chanting nonsensical vocals which really do dominate the album. Like others have mentioned previously, while there are seven tracks listed on the pressings of this album is would be more accurate to call it one giant song in seven parts since the tracks segue so smoothly that you'd never notice the difference between the tracks. A good thing I suppose because I really would not like to have the chore of trying to remember the names and pronunciations of each individual track name.

It does go into repetition here and there, which seems to be many people's beef with the album. I find it quite orientating in the sea of music that is Magma, because without that much structure it would simply turn into endless, pointless jazzy noodling with pianos and screaming women all over the place. One thing that Magma is quite good at is developing an idea before moving onto the next. Good enough in fact that the songs on this album can actually get stuck in your head because despite being monstrously complex and incredibly bizarre they are, somehow, catchy. Bass and drums tend to be dominant along with the piano making for a very trudging feel (in a good way) to the album while the vocals shout and shriek overtop.

Tips for listening to Magma (it's a talent): First and foremost - unless you know how to speak in Kobaian, just ignore the vocals completely. Think of them as another instrument, otherwise you may become eternally frustrated with the album. Secondly, expect anything. Don't go into this sitting down and thinking it will be an undemanding experience, because Magma will kick you in the face if you're not expecting it. And of course, give this a number of listens. The first listen you might find yourself thinking, ''what in the name of...?'' because if you're used to more traditional prog like Genesis or Yes, this ain't it. If this album is going to catch on with you (and it might not) it's probably going to do it in the third or fourth listen.

I can't quite call this album an essential one, but it certainly makes for a good listen when you're in the mood for something out of the norm. 4 Kommand÷hs out of 5, great if you're interested in what they're doing, but given the price of their music at times you might want to check out some samples before diving headlong into the ocean of molten (prog) rock that is Magma.

Review by obiter
4 stars This is marmite music ... you will love it or hate it.

Take an excerpt from a 1930s fascist rally with all the trappings ... add to it the backing track from Conan the barabrian as Conan and his mates are stalking through the temple of the priest Thulsa Doom and you can start to appreciate the militarisitc/ritualistic/hypnotic/grandeur and power of this incredible album.

The album conjures up an image of a choral female train racing down the endless tracks urged on by Vander's drums: sometimes careering out of control straining at the tracks; occasionally slowing before building up another incline before freewheeling down the other side.

This proabably gives you very little idea of what to expect, but one you listen to the album you will understand. I suppose I should put in the normal comments about jazz, and Carl Orf moments but that won't prepare you for this either. It would be remiss to leave out the occasional vocal outburst which sound like a baboon being castrated (well what i imagine a baboon would sound like both before and during the procedure).

It's good, you should definiitely listen to it. But, I would recommend Live and 1001 before MDK.

I would also agree that this is an album tobe listened to occasionally: not an everyday staple unless of course you are still fighting the Vietnam war from a base deep inside Cambodia and are quite insane. In which case listen away ...

Review by horsewithteeth11
5 stars Combine one part operatic, zany vocals, one part tribal and jazzy drums, and one part driving bass rhythms. Mix in with large doses of jazz, rock, and original creativity.

Yes, I know the majority of music I listen to is on the more...aggressive side of progressive rock. Although, to say that this isn't fairly aggressive music wouldn't be very truthful. I normally don't listen to a good deal of avant-garde music, but there's something about Magma that makes me keep coming back for more. Maybe the zaniness is part of it. Maybe it's the fact that the vocals are all over the place, from chanting, yelling, shouting, and even sometimes creepy whispering. Or maybe it's the fact that this is one of the most original-sounding bands I've ever heard. Yes, I will admit; I am a huge Magma fan. I will listen to this album and chant along to it, even though I still don't know what half the words mean. Magma is a band that takes a long attention span and being really, really patient. This might be the ultimate definition of "acquired taste". But when they grab you, they grab you hard and never let go.

This was the first Magma album I ever heard, and by the end of it I was craving more from the band. Since then I've acquired all of their studio albums and a healthy collection of their live albums. Yet this is the one that I find myself coming back to most often. This is very catchy music in a good way and almost begs you to chant along to it. Vander's drumming is obviously very jazz-oriented, and is quite complex, but more in the subtle things he does. Piano and bass are also very prominent in this music, as it's very rhythm-driven. There are many touches of minimalism and repeated riffs, often accompanied by very excellent drum build-ups. Vander's creativity practically oozes out of this record, as well as the rest of the band's discography (well, except maybe Merci, but us crazed Kobaians like to pretend it doesn't exist).

I'd like to do a track-by-track review, but I don't think I could honestly do the songs any justice. Instead I'll end with this. If you like jazz, avant-garde, minimalism, or just want to hear something very original, check this out. It will take most people repeated listens before they can start to even begin to digest what is going on, but it's more than worth it. With this being one of my top 5 albums (it's THAT good), as well as Magma's best work, I'm giving it 5 chanting choirs out of 5.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go back to working on my Christian Vander shrine.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Heavy Prog & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
5 stars The first Magma song I ever heard, last year, was the rather innocuous "Coltrane Sundia." But then "Da Zeuhl Wortz Mekan´k" came into my life. As with Song of Copper's April 2008 review, within two notes time I knew I was going to love this music. Steve Riech, Phillip Glass, Brian Eno, After Crying, are familiar musics that come to mind, but nothing, nothing can truly compare to MDK. Quoting the second paragraph of Song of Copper's review captures my feelings quite accurately:

For me there was no 'getting into it' or letting it play until some barrier dropped in order to let me appreciate it. The moment it started up, 'MDK' grabbed hold of me and dragged me into its sonic labyrinth! You'll have to excuse my superlatives in this review, but I haven't fallen in love with an album in quite such a profound way for a very long time.

After my first complete run through the album I had to get on line to find out as much about Magma, Zeuhl, and Christian Vander as I could. I was not surprised to discover that the "crazed" or "orgiastic" "soprano" vocals/screams (such as on "NebŰhr Gudahtt") were performed by none other than Christian himself. (I had been suspicious of that "female" voice line from the first: especially knowing the sound of my own voice in the shower trying to sing Minnie Ripperton's "Lovin' You" or Frankie Valli & the Four Season's "Sherry"). Bravo Christian! Go crazy! Sing your heart out!

I LOVE the reckless abandon, the feel of near insanity of this music. And yet it is controlled, it's constructed, it's orchestrated, it flows, and it helps to tell a cool story. I find myself smiling in amusement and admiration, shaking my head in amazement at the sheer guts and emotion conveyed here. Every "song" (the whole album has the feel of being one integrated, linear "song") has distinct highlights for me, so I'll not try to name a fave or deconstruct each one. They're all amazing! Now I'm afraid to try other Magma albums because I'm afraid they'll never be able to live up to the standard of experience I've had with MDK. But, K.A., Retrospekt´w I-II and K÷hntark÷sz will, I'm sure, find their way into my collection SOON.

A true musical, psycho-spiritual masterpiece. Five full stars!

Review by Ivan_Melgar_M
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Since I'm listening MAGMA, I understand less the Prog listener, when people talk about the genre being pretentious, bombastic and even self indulgent, they use ELP, probably one of the most common bands in Symphonic, but nobody mentions MAGMA, for God's sake, MEKAN¤K DESTRUKT¤W KOMMANDÍH sounds as an adaptation of Carmina Burana for an epic movie in the vein of Conan the Barbarian....This is pretentious, self indulgent and bombastic.....And what's the problem? In Prog this can be seen as a virtue and I like it.

Now, even though the album is divided in songs, the reality is that we are talking about a multi part epic, because all the tracks are united, so we have almost 40 minutes of uninterrupted music., but lets try to review it song by song.

The opener "Hortz Fur DŰhn StekŰhn West" is like a dream for a classic Proghead, all the wonderful excesses we learned to love are present in this song, from the strong vocals in the fictitious language Kobaian to the excellent chorus and pompous arrangements, I can't stop listening this and don't understand how I could spend so many years ignoring this excellent music.

"¤ma SŘr´ Donda´" follows in the mood of the previous track with an excellent opening by Christian and the feminine choir, the music is brilliant with almost no Jazz connections contrary to what could be expected, more like a combination between Neo Classical and Symphonic Orchestral Prog, not a weak second.

"Kobaia is de Hundin" is a direct continuation of "Ima Suri Dondai", this time the piano intro is simply delightful and the chorus adds that bombastic sound that's so preeminent in this album. The radical changes don't change the mood of the song, but the increasing speed creates some sort of claustrophobic feeling due to the lack of silent spaces, no time to rest. "Da Zeuhl Wortz Mekan´k" starts with a mysterious chant but now the keyboards add some sort of electronic sound that reminds a bit of Vangelis, but almost instantly returns to the main chorus that reminds as a constant until the end of the track.

"Neber Gudahtt" keeps the main tune but this time with a soft piano and a repetitive guitar in he vein of MIKE OLDFIELD, the vocals are almost a narration, with Christian Vander showing his versatile range, this song leads with no pause to "Mekanik Kommandoh", would dare to say that both songs are heavily influenced by Wagner's Operas.

"KreŘhn K÷hrmahn Iss De HŘnd´n" is by far the most dramatic track, Vander exploits his vocals to an extreme nut sadly he goes to far reaching annoying ranges and that final ring simply destroys my timpani, a good track ruined by the vocals and the final effect, a bad way to close an otherwise outstanding album.

The bonus track is the 34 minutes "MDK alternate version" which is simply magnificent, but as usual I will not comment a song that doesn't come with the original album. Loved the album almost in it's integrity but I consider "KreŘhn K÷hrmahn Iss De HŘnd´n" offensive because that sound at the end is physically painful for the listener

Before that track I was ready to rate the album with 5 stars, but after three hours of ear pain, will have to go with 4 stars.

Review by Gooner
1 stars Bah! I GET IT...but that's not the point. This is possibly the most overrated album on Before you get your knickers in a bind, it's worth noting that I am a Magma fanatic...and I even own the new boxset. MDK has to be the most unlisteneable album in the Magma discography, even worse than _Merci_ which actually has 2 gems on it(_Otis_ and _Eliphas Levi_). As noted by others, this album has Teutonic written all over it, but not in a good or glorious fashion(re: Beethoven's Ninth). It almost sounds like a soundtrack for the bunker, if you know what I mean. Just insane. Nothing cohesive whatsoever. On par with a rant after a nervous breakdown. Say, I even smell burnt almonds! I have a hard time giving this 1 star, but that's what I have to do to give it a review. This is most definitely not the place to send beginners of prog.rock(or veterans for that matter) for an introduction to the Zeuhl sound. A mess and annoying.
Review by Sinusoid
5 stars A unique work of art. There is nothing else like this, there's really nothing else that even comes close to this. MEKANIK DESTRUKTIW KOMMANDOH gives new meaning to the term ''magnum opus'' as this is easily the apex of Magma's career. They've made many other great albums, but MDK is special.

From the moment the first note comes in, Magma are out to set an apocalyptic trance that draws the listener into their world. ''Hortz Fur Den Stekehn West'' can be described as mesmerizing for those who get it. The choir lines, chanting, and brass overhaul are just the icing; the pianos and bass have already set the tone and have no intention of letting go.

From the moment ''Ima Suri Dondai'' comes in, the tempo picks up and the piece becomes more demented. Sure, we're more dance-y than trance-y here, but MDK has become more intense here if you can believe it. The piano at the beginning of ''Kobaia Iss de Hundin'' is one of the most gripping things I've found in music.

The second half revolves around the strong choral work, essentially becoming a manic operetta that keeps you entertained by the sheer intensity of the music. I tend to forget what they're singing about or the Kobaian language at this point; it's all melodrama and suspense from here. The beginning of ''Nebehr Gudahtt'' is particularly scary as it starts out unassumingly beautiful yet slowly ascends into a manic cry out for help. Fantastic.

If that wasn't enough, the tempo goes out of control halfway through ''Mekanik Kommandoh'' and you're hanging by the seat of your pants trying to figure out when the madness will stop. It does temporarily for ''Kreuhn Kohrmahn Iss de Hundin'', but the soft piano piece gets more intense with vocals near the screaming range.

There's not one note, vocal or transition that I would change; MDK is as close to a perfect album that I've come across without actually getting there (let's face it, no album is perfect). MDK is a rarity for me that every moment from beginning to end is gripping and I prefer to listen to MDK in that fashion. I may be superfluous in saying this, but this is the real deal folks. This is a masterpiece in every sense of the term.

Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Can I do this?

Can I review this intimidating creature? I have no idea what it really means. And not because the language is not English. I listen to foreign language vocals every single day and while I don't know what the words mean, I can often understand the emotions the vocalist is conveying. Not here. I find the secrets mostly impenetrable. Do I like the music? Does it move me? I honestly couldn't tell you. I often feel differently about the album on different days, something which doesn't happen often for me. I suspect that outside of the Magma fan base, one's tolerance for an experience like this has more to do with situation/surroundings and state of mind/mood. Listening to it while writing is somehow stimulative. Listening to it in a darkened bedroom can be creepy but effective. Listening in my car during rush hour makes me want to kill other drivers.

Probably more accurate than saying "I like it" would be to say I appreciate it, and very much so. It is amazing music. This continuous 39-minute endurance test pummels the listener with repetitive waves of building tension, the "background" aura of the music always sounding similar, while the foreground of the beast is decorated with wild vocals and horns. It is the vocals that are so mind blowing here. This goes beyond just elaborate construction, it is almost pathological how much time and effort must have gone towards getting the female operatic chorus just perfect. The chants, the wails, the off-setting male guttural sounds, all blended over intense music into this cacophony which sounds like a soundtrack for life beginning again in the muddy pools of a post-apocalyptic planet. Or perhaps the soundtrack for a killer walking to the gallows. Or maybe a kid furiously pumping the pedals of his bike as he heads to the field to beat up another kid he's been jousting with. Occasionally there are brief respites where the incessant vocals fall away or simmer in volume, giving you but a moment to catch your breath, before they return in earnest and perhaps with driving electric guitar behind the vocal line to emphasize more power. It can be exhausting or exhilarating, again, I believe having as much to do with how you feel than anything else. I love how comments from other reviewers have ranged from "sexy" to "addictive" to "sick and somber" to "perfect" to "not music" to "an excerpt from a 1930s fascist rally" and finally to my favorite, "a rant following a nervous breakdown---I even smell burnt almonds." Put those comments together in your head and you'll have some idea what you're in for.

I've wracked my brain trying to figure out how to adequately review such an album as this and ultimately failed to capture it. But perhaps the less said the better. Sometimes a person simply needs to hear the music to experience it. It's an amazing accomplishment and despite being one I don't always enjoy, deserves the high rating for its audacity and true progressive spirit.

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars MDK - Mindblowing Delirious Knock-out

From the first time I heard this album, Magma became one of the most applauded bands in my collection, and this album in particular became a subject for idolisation. There are plenty of reasons for that reaction; this music is absolutely unique, it's huge, passionate, challenging, visionary and much more. But a good 20 years (and almost as many Magma studio and live albums) later, my view on this album has changed. While I would still call it a monument of prog, it's not a Magma album that I have continued to play. At least not this studio recording of it.

While MDK is a stellar work of art, I don't think it brings out the best in Magma. The big orchestrations sometimes veer off in overtly dramatic overstatement. Sometimes it simply has too much going on to make any kind of impact: there's a brass section, flutes, piano, percussion, organ, piano, guitar and a 9-heads counting histrionic choir. It congests the mix and submerges the driving instruments of Magma's sound: both Vander's drums and Top's bass guitar barely rise above the wall of sound created by the rest of the orchestra.

Magma would re-record and re-release this work on plenty of occasions, sometimes in the studio, many times on live albums. In all those cases, Vander rearranged the instrumentation to bring the focus on the strongest features of this work: the heavy rhythmic impetus and the brilliant vocal arrangements. A good example can be found on the Theusz Hamtaahk Trilogy recorded in 2001. Also Vander's 1974 solo-album Wurdah Itah, that followed the release of MDK would take a more stripped-down approach.

The conclusion I draw is that MDK is a product of a band that was too good at everything they did when they made it: too many players that were too skilled and had too many ideas. It's an album born out of bold enthusiasm and creative imagination. Unfortunately they recorded it before they learned restraint. But Magma did learn that eventually and would never make the same mistake again.

Review by The Quiet One
5 stars Theusz Hamtaahk Part 3:The Ultimate (Prog) Opera

One of the most cult Prog Rock bands is the French band, Magma, and their third release, Mekan´k Destrukt´w Kommand÷h, is their most renowned work for a reason. You should know that, Magma indeed plays a one-of-kind style of progressive rock, influenced by jazz, but foremost classical music; M.D.K, specifically, sounds like an actual 'opera', you've got the hugely talented choir, delivering a wide array of moods, from the dramatic to the chaotic to the angelic and to the ecstatic, something you're typically expecting from an opera, and then there's the essential brass instruments giving the classical feel.

The actual band compromised of bass, guitar, drums/percussion and keyboards, aren't the main protagonists as you would have thought, although they're obviously an integral part of the music. The actual highlight of Magma's music is, overall, the compositions and the execution of these; it's the unique blend of the dynamic rhythm section with the complex choral work and the backing horns, though for me it's primarily the euphoria you experience with the sum of all these elements that makes Magma's music so original and so good, but M.D.K specifically.

Being sort-of an 'opera', you should expect a story, right? Well, as you should know, the lyrical work of this band is incomprehensible, unless you are one of those fortunate (or unfortunate?) guys who have Koba´an as a school-subject, it's really impossible to know what they're saying. Anyway, to tell you the truth, I couldn't care less if the singing is in a made-up language; Koba´an is undoubtedly a very ingenious language that works perfectly to express whichever feeling you want from music. Since I grew up listening to grandiose operas such as those from the maestro Giacomo Puccini, I am certainly able to perceive the same unique vibe and energy delivered in those operas when listening to M.D.K, so the operatic kind of vocals are really a bonus, so is the occasional ''yodeling'' which resembles Leon Thomas' style of vocals, the singer of the grand free jazz composition, The Creator has a Masterplan.

As for what we can get to know about the story is that, it tells about the fictional planet Koba´a and one of its prophets, Nebehr GŘdahtt, informing the people from the Earth that so as to be saved from themselves they should believe in the supreme being, Kreuhn Kohrmahn. However, the humans reject this at first (no surprise), fortunately they later begin to see the enlightment and follow Nebehr GŘdahtt. You can easily deduce by knowing the story solely, that the music will obviously have a lot of dramatic and tense moments.

So the question now is, how did M.D.K. became Magma's most significant and remembered album since undeniably most of Magma's works are of equal magnitude in composition and musicianship terms? Well, Mekan´k Destrukt´w Kommand÷h with its single 38 minute song divided in 7 tracks is one of its unique attractions. Another of its singular aspects of the album is that each track is mainly constructed in the basis of progression, which means that each song slowly evolves, and each passing minute the more instruments are involved and the tighter the music becomes, yet the rhythm rarely changes.

M.D.K being the most opera-driven of all Magma's albums is definitely one of its unique and greatest charms. It has the perfect balance of the debut's complexity and K÷hntark÷sz's darkness. While M.D.K might not be as fun or as groovy as 1001║ Centigrades can be, M.D.K. is undoubtedly Magma's most rewarding album in ecstatic terms.

When it comes to the composition of the entire 'epic', as already stated, it's very inclined in Opera themes, the melodies and vocals are extremely reminiscent of that style of classical music. While when it comes to the jazz/rock and complex part of the music, it definitely reminds me of the complexity and big band work by the one and only, Frank Zappa. The whole composition is flawless, with seamless transitions, though, unquestionably, the apex of it is Mekan´k Kommand÷h with the unbelievable choral work that slowly starts getting more complex with the outstanding supportive band full-filled with drums, vibraphone, organ, bass and horns. The simple guitar solo that appears after the climax, while for some it may be seen as anti- climactic, for me its appearance is crucial and of very effective use, showing that that was the peak of the album and that what comes next will not be by any means intense.

The closing track, KreŘhn K÷hrmahn Iss De HŘnd´n, is indeed Zeuhl music in its first two minutes, meaning that it's 'celestial music' with out-of- this-world vocal aerobics, while the remaining minute is a haunting ending that gives you an insight of how the story ended, the people of the earth finally praising the supreme being, KreŘhn K÷hrmahn, in Koba´an. An extremely original way of closing such a masterpiece, it's so unexpected.

Trying to conclude the review, M.D.K. definitely marked a point in Magma's discography and surely in music history; both previous albums to this were headed more towards jazz rock, while what would come next would vary, from the very dark themed, to the more accessible, yet all of highly considerable quality and originality. While the music of M.D.K. or Magma for that matter, may not be the most accessible or, going to the other extreme, complex, I sincerely doubt we, music fans, will ever hear something like this and that's something to really admire.

A masterpiece created by Magma and definitely an essential album if you're a serious Prog fan.

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Innovation, diversity, originality, intensity, dynamic hyper-music, Kobaian language... This is Magma!

Preheat the oven to moderate jazz, rinse the jazz in tribal chants and drain well, combine the mixture with some operatic vocalisations, and stir in a made up Teutonic alien language based on Orff's 'O Fortuna' from "Carmina Burana" over medium heat until completely immersed into the mixture, this will become Kobaian when it is thickened, then cover over with sporadic drumming and virtuoso musicianship, place in oven and cook until the cheese has melted through, any watery radio commercialism must be fully drained out, to serve, spoon the extra flavour of RIO and Krautrock, then top with slices of avant garde and a dollop of Wagnerian Opera, serve immediately. Enjoy your plate of Zeuhl.

My expedition into the murky Zeuhl territory began with Magma's live album that I half noticed in a specialist store. I was slightly disappointed at first as I hoped it would be accessible enough to enjoy. However, somehow the music has the effect of osmosis, it grows on you gradually creeping through your system transporting its gradient effect into your consciousness. The input of energy on this album, the ferociously original approach is astonishing. Nothing can be compared to Magma. 'Mekan´k Destrukt´w Kommand÷h' is hailed as a Magmasterpiece and for good reason. It broke down barriers of genre creating its own. Jazz infused rock opera would be one way to describe it but it is not sufficient as the language takes this to a different level. The otherworldly language of Kobaian is alienating but somehow appropriate. The iconic symbol emblazened on their shirts and albums is another aspect that seals the mythological essence of the group. An iconography creates that mystique that is so essential to the group.

The room goes dark as soon as you put this on and it is definitely not for the faint hearted. My family heard some of this and were more concerned than fascinated so I have been confined to earphone listening ever since. It is made for headphones too. Nightmarish music to immerse yourself in, with a disturbing edge could appropriately describe this music, although it may have the curious effect of being a source of uplifting encouragement to certain listeners. The tracks run together in a seamless epic. Depending on your mood at the time may depend on your overall impression; let the music take you into which ever direction it decides as personal interpretation is essential in the Magmaverse. The musicianship is tight as a drum and Vander is stunning on drums and vocals, his second instrument, he seems to be the face of Magma, the voice of Magma and the sound of Magma. On track one for example we have a lot of trumpets and a shimmering Hammond sound, I am not sure what it is but we hear chimes, jingles and happy organ. The guitar is very unusual as a background instrument, but the staccato hammering organ is a dominant force. There is a definite beat though it is sporadic.

The vocals are an absolute delight and you will hear Gregorian chanting, choral yelling, high octave shrills and deep resonances. You can even hear words that you think you recognise but it is all an illusion. On the first track for example it sounds like 'he pulls his pants off, he is seen at congress, he's fubar he's fubar, he's all tone deaf, he's a dunce.' Honestly it is that weird it is often hilarious. But the vocals are sung and chanted with such utter conviction it is quite chilling at times. Of special note are the high pitched soprano screeches, which are part of the sound on every album. Vocalists Stella Vander and her estranged husband are the centrifugal force of this album.

The vocals are very in your face and impossible to ignore sounding familiar at times, in track 1, Hortz Fur DŰhn StekŰhn West, I swear those females are singing: 'play a sony, play a sony, play a sony, play a sony please for the loon, please sing a song, please play a record. '

The voices are even weirder on track 2, ¤ma SŘr´ Donda´, and sound like 'We musn't raid our fire, we musn't raid our pools, please!' Then later, 'I never see, I never win, I never see I won won won,' then the females answer, 'baby the lotion, baby the lotion, baby the lotion...' there are huge sections of woodwind that is all over the place, jazzy and dislocated from any one time sig. The low bass is keeping some semblance of rhythm but it is as fractured as it can get. This is mesmirising.

The complexities of the polyrhythmic time signatures are intense, and at times the music takes surprising detours, such as track 3, Koba´a Is De HŘnd´n, with sustained atonal chord progressions and tribal drumming metrical patterns. The piano is a real feature on this too and I particularly like that relentless droning sound that becomes almost subliminal but is everpresent. The female vocals caress the sound with strange words 'manamanamana, oooooooooh oooooooooooooh oooooooooooooh.' They gradually build to a crescendo until the beat breaks into a German sounding chant: soundslike 'Oz is dark for those who dare'.

The next section on track 4, Da Zeuhl Wortz Mekan´k, is very memorable as I heard this on the live album, the female chant is overpowering: 'Is he single for he's so hot.' The repetition is entrancing. This is my favourite track on 'MDK'. There are staccato stabs that darken the sound and these are contrasted by very light passages of minimalist strings. At one point the females sound like they are going into a painful frenzy.

Track 5, NebŰhr Gudahtt, settles into an ambient guitar and piano minimalist passage, there are no words for a time until Vander decides to mutter some unintelligible mumbo jumbo. A soprano gives out disturbing bird calls, the contrast of light and shade are astonishing. Beauty and the Beast. The vocals become screechy and tortured, screams of terror and a repetitious mantra of female choir voices. This is the dark nature of Magma and could send many music listeners running for cover. The section at five minutes in I must admit is chilling to the bone, some of the scariest music you will hear. Though I guarantee a lot of listeners will find this hilarious as it is so over the top. The Vanders scream until their throat is red raw.

Then it merges seamlessly into track 6, the fan favourite, Mekan´k Kommand÷h. The females sing sounding like: 'He's superman, He's superman, He's superman'. I love the staccato Hammond crashes on this and it speeds up the tempo with imperfect timing. There is a guitar solo! The voices are fuller with male and females in full voice chanting out Kobaian: 'Ai! Ai! Ai! Komissioner pummels my eye, Ai! Ai! Komissioner pummels my eye, Ai! Ai! Komissioner pummels my eye...' This is another definitive highlight track that stands out.

Track 7, KreŘhn K÷hrmahn Iss De HŘnd´n, ends this album with a slow somber but majestic ascending operatic piece. The choir sound like: 'Soon it's very very soon'. The drums are fantastic on this, very tribal and layered with woodwind effects. It is anti-music atonal jazz, the ear simply resists this and the way Vander groans and shrieks is unsettling. It ends on a high pitched piercing beep. Wow, we got through it.

Vander is the sole writer and it is good that he can secrete his creative juices on this otherwise he may well be locked in an asylum somewhere. I am reminded of Henry Cow at times and even King Crimson or Zappa or The Residents, but Magma stand alone and proud as their own entity. There is extreme repetition which may turn many off but this is hypnotic and compelling. It is soul stirring stuff and wraps itself around your cerebral cortex until you are addicted. The only thing left to say is once experienced, never forgotten. Magma have opened up a whole new realm of music. Try the delicious recipe for yourself and you may well enjoy the taste.

Review by Flucktrot
5 stars What do I put on when asked to throw on my weirdest, most bizarre, yet somehow undeniably good album?

Magma's MDK, of course!

There's lots of bizarre, weird and innovative prog out there, but most of that stuff just isn't very good, as in rocking and catchy. MDK comes through in meeting all criteria.

First off, a couple points to keep in mind with MDK: 1) It's hilariously, ridiculously over-the-top, so don't take it too seriously--in fact, I still can't help but smile in places to think about how goofy but somehow enjoyable certain sections can be. 2) This is not just Carl Orff-inspired chantings put to jazz. Actually, I hear very few jazz influences here, with much more rock instead, with a definite symphonic flair. That's probably why I like it so much!

Why is this music so unique? One reason is that unlike most set-ups, nearly every band member is essentially a rhythm player, with very sparse keyboard, guitar or vocal solos. It's nearly all rhythm and syncopation--and often in 7/8 time to boot--sporadically punctuated by some great horn additions (effective) and Vander's screechy wailings (not effective).

Highlights: the beginning and the ending. The first 15 minutes or so are great, started by establishing a great groove and adding tons of musical ideas in rapid succession. The last 10 minutes are also fantastic, with a wonderful freakout in 7/8 that transitions into a thrilling double-time finale, with a somber conclusion to finish the affair.

In between these highlights? Lots, and I mean lots, of chanting and Vander-screechings. It's not terrible, but not particularly interesting either. I don't understand how a band can be bursting with creativity for much of an album and yet include these repetitive parts.

All considered, MDK is my favorite from Magma, and when I skip a few tunes toward the middle of the album, I've got nearly half an hour of what I consider to be incredibly creative, unique, and enjoyable music.

A must-have in any comprehensive prog collection.

Review by Conor Fynes
5 stars 'MŰkan´k DŰstrukt´ẁ K÷mmand÷h' - Magma (87/100)

Among the things I like most about Magma these days, is the fact that there was a time when I didn't like Magma. It all fell upon this album, MŰkan´k DŰstrukt´ẁ K÷mmand÷h, the band's seminal classic, and an album that would lay the groundwork for a fresh, foreboding and entirely alien style to come: Zeuhl. While it's natural for listeners to grow in and out of different types of music with age, it's incredibly rare that my opinion would take such a 180 turn. Throughout high school, I'd be fairly dedicated to an education in prog rock. The amount of praise and mention I'd seen lobbed Magma's way had piqued my interest. After all; a band that was being upheld by so many fans I'd shared more common tastes with had to have some stroke of brilliance to boast.

Imagine the mixture of shock and disappointment I'd felt when I first heard MŰkan´k DŰstrukt´ẁ K÷mmand÷h, then. The repetitive jazz rock loops, the apparent nonsense of their lyrics, the campy choral arrangements, the nails-on-chalkboard caterwauling. I'd been provoked enough to show the music to my girlfriend at the time. She started laughing, and called it "space music for a bad '70s porn." In my ignorance, I agreed with her. It wasn't until years later when I heard Magma were coming to town that I gave them another chance in earnest. Returning to a calculated masterwork like MŰkan´k DŰstrukt´ẁ K÷mmand÷h in particular, I could see what an idiot I'd been. Even so, the fact that I'd been so turned off initially plays into a part of why I respect them so much now. Progressive rock is replete with would-be Bachs and Handels. These are often artists that mean to take a popular sound to classically accepted heights of artistry; the ambition is often there, but proggers are often catering to a rubric of musicality laid out by symphonies penned centuries before any of them were born. At the end of the day, you don't see many genuine weirdos in progressive rock. Christian Vander and the rest of the space cadets in Magma rank highest among those chosen few, and MŰkan´k DŰstrukt´ẁ K÷mmand÷h was the album that brought the extent of their vision to light.

This was Magma's third album, released at the height of prog's classic period. While their first two albums-- Kobaia and 1001 Centigrades-- both stood out as particularly deviant jazz rock offerings, it would be a stretch to call either of them Zeuhl in the purest sense. Christian Vander began the band as a spiritual tribute to fallen legend John Coltrane, and the earliest work operated upon that influence as much as their own novel innovations. With M.D.K, they created something that was so unique and bold that it virtually begged to warrant its own genre. To describe M.D.K is to describe the Zeuhl style it pioneered, and vice versa. Slow-burning minimalism and martial rhythms are parried here with cosmic jazz rock. Bombastic choral arrangements sound like they were drawn out of a Teutonic opera. Lead vocals strike a contrast between sharply enunciated bellowing and ear-piercing caterwauling, the likes of which sound as if a jazz scat singer was just administered a lethal dose of LSD. To attempt describing the kind of unique statement Magma conjured here will always either result in confusion or hyperbole. Whether loving or hating it, my subjective impression of the music has always been that of an alien rock opera, written by or for the sort of utopian extra-terrestrials you read about in pulp sci-fi.

By this point of M.D.K, Magma had built enough confidence in their composition that they were finally comfortable with dwelling on riffs and motifs, long after intuitive notions might suggest they should end. While most prog rock albums are no doubt imagined to be digested as a whole, I can't imagine hearing most of M.D.K outside of its album context. Although I like to refer newcomers to "Ima Suri Dondai" if ever they're interested, the album unfolds as a single song, oppressive and extremely focused. Some of the noisiest jam-like pieces-- which usually offer the spotlight to Vander's love-or-hate-it screeching-- would feel dawdling if the composition didn't have such a feeling of concentration. Although some of these freeform moments towards the album's mid-section give the impression of losing track, "MŰkan´k K÷mmand÷h" is a pummelling climax to the work. I find "KreŘhn K÷hrmahn Iss de HŘnd´n" is a pretty underwhelming conclusion to an otherwise intense album, but I've come to see it as an unnecessary but welcome denouement. When I saw Magma perform this album live a few months back, they left the last few minutes out, so I'm assuming they agree with me.

Getting to know Magma entailed some growing pains on my part, but I'm in a fairly constant awe of them these days. Even so, I feel like MŰkan´k DŰstrukt´ẁ K÷mmand÷h may be the sort of album I respect more than I necessarily enjoy. The martial discipline doesn't leave a ton of room for surprises, and there aren't too many moments that stand out as highlights in my mind. When they finally released K.A a few decades later, Magma would finally pair their astounding vision with the emotional warmth and feeling they were always capable of. While K.A will always stand as my favourite of their work however, there's no doubting that M.D.K is the most culturally significant thing Magma have ever done. There aren't a lot of albums that can say they've changed the course of music history. While I don't think the average pleb would be much phased by whether Zeuhl exists or not, there are at least a few dozen bands out there whose styles depended on this album. Not that I think any of them have done it better than Magma themselves!

Review by friso
4 stars Magma - MDK (1973)

and Zeuhl was born..

Much has already been written about this Magma albums that somehow became more known among the common prog listener then other albums of the band. Though the sound seems to have changed a lot when comparing MDK to 1001 Centigrades, it's actually a quite consistent release when looking at the compositions. The big difference is however that MDK is the first Zeuhl album to feature the recognizable female vocals. The atmosphere is dark, the intensive rhythm changes and repetitive intelligent piano-parts, the angelic and war sounds.. this could be seen as the the basis of all Zeuhl.

When comparing MDK to later Magma albums I must say the mixture of both a wind-section ßnd female choirs is quite rare in their discography. The Wagnerian use of heavy wind arrangements make the strong compositions of Vander sound even more impressive.

The recording is of the album is quite good for it's time of release. It must have been hard to give all instruments/vocals a good place in the mix.

Now the big question is, is this the right place to start your Magma collection? This band is very hard to get into if you used to listen to symphonic prog only. Its surely is a good album and it captures Magma quite good, which wasn't always the case on later studio albums. Perhaps this is the good start for newcomers, but I do advise to watch some live material (dvd's, youtube) in order to understand how special this music is. There are also numerous live version of MDK on the retrospektiw and trianon albums for example. All are quite good.

Conclusion. Recognizable Zeuhl is born with a worthy third album of Magma, which should be in your collection. It's really atmospheric, it's a big technical achievement and the composition is plain brilliant. This must have a real shock back in '73. Five stars, with the last halve star earned by it's historical significance. Perhaps Konterkosz and Wurdah Itah are even better Magma studio albums.

Review by SaltyJon
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Hello ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the "official" beginning of Zeuhl. While Magma's first two albums showed sure hints and signs of what it would sound like, this album is where it really came into being. It didn't come in softly and quietly, rather choosing to thunder through the gates proclaiming "Here I am!". Right from the beginning of the album - booming, pulsating drums and bass, and those ever-enchanting Koba´an vocals. Stella and the rest of the female vocalists finally took part in the album, and it makes a great difference. Combine that with the new bassist, a certain Jannick Top, and the keyboards and the horn section, and we've got a wonderful formula for success here. Words can't quite describe what an ear-opening, mind-opening album this was for me. From first listen, I was enchanted. I knew that this band was just what I'd been looking for since I first started to really appreciate music. This album, as my first venture into Magma territory, is the album which is responsible for my fanatic love and adoration for this band which will surely last until I die. Christian Vander's music is so wonderful...yes, it's bombastic, yes, it's's also beautiful, unique, haunting, and (dare I say it?) unparalleled by just about any other music we know about.

While this isn't my favorite Magma album anymore, it's still one of their most powerful works, and it will always be positively adored by me. It is definitely in my top ten studio albums by any artist. I think my rating should be clear enough - one of the easiest, most instinctive five star albums I've had the pleasure of listening to.

Review by Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I am deliberately going to keep my review short. This is my first review of a Magma album and it has taken me about 4 months of repeated listens to get ' into' the music. My perseverance has paid off. I can honestly say that I finally get what all the fuss is about. This is the work of geniuses. The music is not just 27 years old either. It contains thematic sounds dating back to medieval renaissance periods. If anyone ever dismissed ancestral influences within music then Magma would be a good example to prove them wrong.

This album whilst consisting of seven tracks really does flow as a whole unit. The vocal harmonisations and choral tapestries abound and play a decisive role and key component to the overall Zeuhl sound. The flutes and guitars are simply incredible, Claude Olmos is an excellent guitarist. The layers of sound are such that it will take many more months to fully digest and appreciate, not to mention Christian Vander's drum and percussion work. Another observation is the similarities to another French band, Clearlight. No surprise there but there is something Canterbury about Magma too! This was 1973 and yet if I listen to Mike Oldfield's Incantations from 1977, maybe, just maybe he was influenced by these extraordinary pioneers? Four solid stars.

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars After two first albums, still heavily influenced by jazz fusion, Magma pushed that component to back stage and just made their most important step - invented Totalitarian Bombastic Dark Teutonic Chamber sound (shorter - zeuhl).

After some line-up changes tribal rhythm section of Vander/Top became absolute leader in band's sound (plus chamber choir as well). Music is complex, well made and really sounds inventive and interesting. Like you that sound or not - it's more question of personal taste. But it happened - first Magma's album of real zeuhl was released.

It is so much written about this album I can's see no reason to go on details. Totally agree (by my head) that this album is one between best Magma's zeuhl releases ever, I (by my heart) just prefer two earlier their albums. Possibly the reason is I have strong allergy to pathetic totalitarism.

Speaking about pure zeuhl, I obviously prefer ecstatic and raw Japanese zeuhl to refined Teutonic Magmian... Still really very strong album though.

Review by octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
5 stars I don't speak Kobaian, but basing of what I know of this fantastic planet, I see a lot of parallels with Wagner and Nietszche. Vander has been accused to have sympaties for the Nazi ideology, and the mixture of French and German that composes the Kobaian may make us think so, but I think that even if the Nazis have borrowed some concepts from the musician and from the philosopher, this doesn't mean that Vander is a nazi.

Why am I writing so? Because this "first act" of Zehul music is Wagnerian in the maestosity of the operistic parts directed by Stella Vander, and in Kobaia I see the realization of something between Nietszche and the Aquarians. A new state of mind, an utopic world for a new "supermen" race that's to be intended as a natural evolution of the human race.

So Kobaia is closer to SciFi than to history. It's the same kind of utopia on which L.R. Hubbard based his artificial religious sect, initially helped by the Slan's father A.E.Van Vogt.

Back to music, this album has often been defined as "chellenging". I don't think so. Of course it's not light or easy, but it's first of all good music. It has jazz and classical. It has guitar and bass. It has everything one can look for in a prog album.

It's not easy but it's never boring or challenging. You only need to be in the right state of mind for it, as for a lot of non-easy listening music.

"Da Zeuhl Wortz Mekanik" is my favourite track, but this album is a whole. MDK was often played entirely in "one shot". As many Magma works, it's not a collection of songs but a symphony with several movements. So forget all the discussions about Vander's political side and enjoy a masterpiece of progressive music.

For newbies, I suggest starting with the first two jazz-rock oriented albums before attempting this one. It will help in getting familiar with those sounds and this kind of music.

This is THE masterpiece of Zeuhl, and if zeuhl is prog it can only be rated the maximum. Not suggested to fans of neo-prog and melodic stuff.

Review by colorofmoney91
4 stars I generally don't enjoy Magma so much for a few reasons, and when I do listen to Magma, I prefer their more funk-influenced albums, like Udu Wudu or Attahk. Having that said, Mekanik Destruktiw Kommandoh is absolutely delightful without sounding like either of the albums listed above. I think that might be because this album alone is what zeuhl is supposed to be.

Mekanik Destruktiw Kommandoh is one of the most dramatic and occasionally goofy albums ever, with its strong Gesamtkunstwerk-type sound - operatic, extreme, obnoxious, oppressive, powerful, and surprisingly heavy at times. For the time that this was released, I'd say this album was most likely the most progressive in its time, because I've not heard any one other band that sounded like this before Mekanik was released. A main part of this album is the plot line, which is about aliens coming to earth and tanks and everyone hates each other or whatever, I don't care - the music is good though. The musicianship here is strong, precise, and repetitive like you wouldn't believe, but it seems to work quite nicely. The sound of the album as a whole seems to suggest a type of revolution or some German-speaking dysphasia suffers. I think one of the main elements of this album that makes it stand out from the other super-dramatic Magma albums is a sense of earned energeticism, rather than being slow and boring and weird and nonsense all at the same time, which is an overwhelming concatenation of descriptors.

Seriously though, this is the definitive zeuhl album. I recommend this highly to anyone looking for super-eccentric progressive rock of the weirdest variety.

Review by Negoba
5 stars The Innermost Circle of the Church of Progtology

So you wandered into our not so humble little community after enjoying some 70's synth, chuckling at the guy with the reverse mohawk, or via the modern door of the nerdy English guy and the Swedish growler. You explored the big names, sampled some Camel, braved some extreme 70's fashion while listening to fusion, and finally learned about Canterbury and Krautrock. You moved through Zappa and discovered Univers Zero and even Henry Cow. Now, my acolyte, you are ready for the highest secret of the genre. The most simultaneously pretentious, gaudy, and brilliantly exploratory of all prog. Magma. My first album, appropriately was the first fully realized product of the band's created subgenre of Zeuhl. MDK. The black album with the gold bug thingy.

Though MDK may not be the best album Magma made, it's close, and it's certainly the most emphatic and prototypical. Nominally, Magma's music is supposed to be combination of John Coltrane and Karl Orff. The Orff sound is obvious, the Coltrane less so. If one were to take the pulsing choir sounds of Carmina Burana, fold in some jazz / fusion drumming, a small smackerel of rock backbeat, and a heaping helping of avant theater ethic, you might begin to understand what Magma is all about. MDK is the most Orff like and the least fusion-y, and also the most frantic offering I've heard from a band that more than earns it's reputation as one of the craziest bands of all time.

The vocals here are all over the place but make sense in context. While there are screams, yodels, trills, demon choruses, and of course the made-up language, within the musical scene it works. The songs tend to hang on a tonality or chord and slowly build in intensity before switching to a new section. Some of these sections are quite long, and it feels as if the band has been anticipating a climax for an eternity. The payoffs can be frenetic, monstrous drops in energy, or sometimes more repetition. In fact my biggest problem with the Zeuhl sound in general is that a broken record feel occasionally comes through. One must listen to the multiple layers intertwining and exploring in order for the music to maintain its interest. There is an overall arc of movement and mood that finishes quite satisfactorily with the female chorus that sounds vaguely like "soon, oh yes so very soon."

Listening to Magma is like reading literature from another era, it takes awhile for the brain to shift into the style, get over the wierdness. But once you do, this really is a unique style that for me can be quite rewarding. While E-re may be a better album overall, MDK has a historic edge as being the first true incarnation of this visionary sound. It also maintains a youthful energy that the more recent albums appropriately have replaced with mature pacing. For the true prog fan, saying MDK is essential is obvious. It may not be your cup of tea, but to deny its place is folly. 5/5

Review by Warthur
5 stars This is the album on which Magma transitioned from the heavily fusion-influenced approach of their first two albums and created the primal Zeuhl sound that they are known for. With a massed choir intoning the vocals with passionate fury and the band playing just as hard, the album blends elements of jazz, rock, and opera to produce a stirring and unique mixture that has to be heard to be believed. The Kobaian lyrics involve the people of Kobaia bring the corrupt Earth to justice after the killing of an ambassador sent to bring the beautiful Kobaian truth to the home planet, or something like that, but that isn't really what matters - what matters is that by writing the lyrics in his invented language, Christian Vander liberates the listener from having to listen to them as words and allows you to listen to them as sound - like fellow influential prog drummer Robert Wyatt, Christian Vander is aware of the potential of the human voice as an instrument in its own right, and uses it to dazzling effect here. A firm candidate for Magma's best studio album, and it wouldn't be unreasonable to suggest it's their best album overall.
Review by GruvanDahlman
5 stars I cannot begin to tell you just how much pleasure MDK has given me the last couple of weeks. I've listened to it several times in the past but never quite gottrn beyond the feeling that listening to Magma is like listening to giants talk. They are awesome but quite frankly hard to understand and harder still (sometimes) to fully appreciate. The musical vision is such that it seems un-earthly, which in fact fits in well, bearing in mind the sci-fi theme of Kobaian mythology.

When I bought the wonderful box Studio ZŘnd I was far from clear about the musical content, locked within those cardboard walls. I grew aware but none the wiser after listening to the albums. However, the mist soon evaporated and I got some sort of vibe, clue and/or idea what it was all about and yet I found myself puzzled.

Now, MDK is a true masterpiece of prog genius. The whole body of music is like a long, furious march, relentless and uncompromising. I've rarely heard music so agressive as this. It's so furious. Although I keep coming back to the track "Mekanik kommand÷h" there's no such thing as s bad or lesser track on there. The horns, the organ, the chanting and the drumming... It's plainly speaking mindblowing and I cannot see how I could rate this album anything less than 5 stars. I think it's a milestone in progressive rock music.

Review by siLLy puPPy
COLLABORATOR PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
5 stars Although MAGMA had released two wonderful jazz-fusion albums and already invented the whole mythology revolving around the planet Kobaia for which drummer and band leader Christian Vander even created a fictitious language to articulate the vocal utterings that would augment the instrumental nature of the compositions, the sound suddenly changed from a frantic all-over-the-map approach that incorporated myriad influences to a more focused sound that simply utilizes the zeuhl sound as a basis which of course is of their own inventiveness that emerged on the very first album. M╦KAN¤K D╦STRUKT¤ẁ KÍMMANDÍH came out in 1973 and to critical acclaim Nothing like this had emerged on the jazz rock scene not even from the Kobaians themselves.

MDK apparently tells the tale of a Kobaian prophet named Nebehr Gudahtt, who warms the human race that they are destroying their planet and have to change their naughty ways. When all is said and down the people rise against him and through throughout the album's ups and downs and twists and turns the people finally begin to adopt the ways of the Kobaians in order to redeem themselves. I'll have to accept that since i no speako Kobaian but it sounds like a logical story that is a mere segment of a much larger tale drawn out in the many album that MAGMA put out in the 70s.

The music is melodic and bombastic. To the max. This must have been some of the most ambitious music of the time even topping all the other progressive goodies that were coming out. Although the music is based on simple bass line cycles that incorporate two competing choirs that often sound like orgasmic ghosts, it is the sprinkling of jazzy parts, rock attitude and Carl Off a la "Carmina Burana" rhythmic phrasing that really puts a percussive punch in the whole thing. Musically this is akin to organic chemistry where long repetitive carbon chains create an extremely strong yet flexible backbone to support the smaller elements that cling onto it.

Upon first listen I thought this was too repetitious and I do like this a tad less than the first more chaotic albums with far more influences than this but this was a grower and has blossomed into an outstanding album in its own right. If you want one of the most over-the-top rock operas ever to grace not only planet Earth but apparently the entire Universe than you simply must experience MDK for there is nothing else even remotely like it not even within their own alien and eclectic discography.

Review by JJLehto
5 stars Generally considered the best, or at least definitive, Magma you won't find any disagreement from me.

MDK is a departure from their first albums which were more like jazz rock and moves into the genre of "Zeuhl". What exactly that is...I'd say it's best to just listen for yourself and give it a try, but for the sake of this review I'll just say MDK is symphonic, jazzy, prog rock in a made up language.

This made up language is common to almost all Magma albums, and while this is a hold up to some, I feel it's no different than scat singing: The words are not what matters, but the sound. The vocals, over lyrics, how it fits the music, which it does superbly. The vocals are orchestral, intense, often crazy, but passionate and emotive. Which is what can be said of the album album. It is undeniably insane, ridiculous and over the top but it's equally passionate and emotive. This is an intense album without doubt. Oh, and sure I know there is a story to this album and Magma in general, of which we know some details, but frankly I don't bother and just enjoy the music.

The album has a great flow to it as the songs move seamlessly, it is more of an overall than individual song experience, but some standouts in my book are Hortz Fur DŰhn StekŰhn Ẁest, Da Zeuhl Ẁortz MŰkan´k and MŰkan´k K÷mmand÷h.

So, there's not much else to say about this album and no better way to understand it than trying it yourself. Just take it for what it is and you will find this is an ambitious, innovative, fun, powerful album packed with feeling, (something I think often lacks in prog, much as I love prog) superb song writing, and Vander's epic drumming. Operatic classical mixed with jazz and built in a prog rock style, this is one wallop of an album!


Review by Wicket
3 stars Listening to prog nonstop can be a bit of a chore sometimes.

The complexity of the music, the length, the sometimes unnatural, inaccessible and improbable changes in time signature, key signature and lyrical expression can tire out one's brain after a while. It took a bit of mindless music to wash it all away, lost of electronic music and, yes, even rap. But everyone needs a change of pace periodically throughout their life, and since life is always a full circle, it was inevitable I'd come back to prog.

I just didn't think it would be to this album.

Granted, anyone who's a fan of Magma knows the story, the brainchild of Christian Vander and his made-up language that looks and sounds like French and German had a baby. But even though this isn't the first in his storytelling project, it is widely considered to be THE album that personifies this genre called "zeuhl" that the band pioneered. What the genre is isn't necessarily written in stone, but from the first nine minutes of the album it's quite clear that at is roots, it is a fusion of rock and jazz, with sporadic elements taken from the world of contemporary classical music, as well as opera (LOTS of opera, in fact all of the singing is very operatic and melodramatic in fashion).

Now I was a percussionist in William Paterson University, which has a New Music program, a program which plays music from composers such as Terry Riley, Steve Reich, Iannis Xenakis, amongst many others, so this kind of music isn't too jarring, as I'm sure it is to many others. This is a kind of music that's best witnessed as a performance art rather than bumping in your car stereo. But the classical elements break up what would otherwise be just a typical fusion band. "Hortz" trugs along for roughly 5 minutes in rhythmic fashion before abrupt and jarring shouts and screams couple with some atonal jabs and stabs from the ensemble. It finishes rather chaotically before "Ima Suri Dondai" bounces jovially, almost dance like, across a quick 7/8 syncopated beat. In popular music terms, this is probably the catchiest track of the lot, if you can even use that terminology.

After 15 minutes, though, it starts to set in a very rhythmic, almost minimalistic pace. The main key signature never changes, save for maybe a few atonal breaks, shouts and freakouts interspersed, but otherwise, it's one long song from start to finish that doesn't really have any true breaks or interludes, save for a brief piano break in the beginning of "Nebehr Gudahtt". The piece only truly changes at the final three minutes, where it all but degenerates in a slow, tribal march-like tempo, fit with loud drums, screeching horns, feedback and lots of screaming.

Now I'm not sure the first live performance of this album had the some kind of riotous impact as, say, "The Rite Of Spring", but I'm damn sure it got a close enough. Even in a made up language that you can't understand, it's quite obvious an impactful story is being told here, and not exactly a very peaceful one (This ain't a peaceful LSD acid trip on a classic Gong album here). There is emotion and hatred being in expressed in the kind of manner that is shunned in the music world. It's the kind of album that would be made by a jazz-rock fusionist if Terry Riley and Anton Webern had a bastard stepchild.

Magma's first album "Kobaia" is actually a tad more accessible, because each track is isolated, and feels more like a classic rock band exploring the outer limits of music trajectories, whereas "MDK" is the result of such transformation. It's not perfect (once you get past the 12 minute or so mark, it gets rather repetitive), but it's easily a landmark album for laying down the roots of this underground genre of progressive music.

I only wonder if they gave out translation sheets at concerts so audience members could try and sing along...

Review by Kempokid
5 stars So, this is what Zeuhl is, well, at the very least, I can say that it's incredibly unique and interesting, and if the rest of Zeuhl has a similar sort of sound to this album, then I definitely have extremely high hopes for the genre, as this album is absolutely amazing. It's an odd mix between teutonic chanting, tribal beats, jazz, large amounts of opera, classical and sci fi, making something that feels one of a kind. The sheer bombast and energy present here is simply astounding, with even the quieter parts simply feeling like it's building up to something more extravagant. There's of course the fact that this album is in the Kobaian language, but that's not really anything for or against the album in my opinion, and just feels like a neat additional touch.

Despite the album having multiple songs, each is part of the one bug stretch of music that spans throughout it all, with a constant ebb and flow, always building to something bigger until it's more or less a constant explosion. In this way, MDK loosely reminds me of Ravel's Bolero, as despite this definitely having points in which it dies down, there's still a clear trajectory with more elements and more intensity added. Immediately, the album, sounds strange, yet intriguing as the first song kicks in with a slow, plodding beat with vocals akin to chanting, before occasionally jumping multiple octaves. As it continues, horns are introduced and what sounds like a backing choir is introduced, which is definitely commonplace on this album. I really love the slow chanting with little more than a single bass chord that appears throughout the album as well, always indicating a dramatic buildup to one of the many climaxes the albums possesses, in this case, a massive tempo change and an increase in intensity, showcasing Christian Vander's highly unique vocal abilities. Ima Suri Dondai is definitely a much more accessible piece compared to the last, having more lighthearted, fun melody , being the only song on the album I can really consider catchy at all, despite teh fact that it's still incredibly bombastic and loud, but with more elements of female vocals and flutes, both of which while being strange sounding in this context, definitely have a lighter touch to them. The bass becomes slightly groovier in the following song, but still sounds quite similar to Ima Suri Dondai in certain respects, but slightly faster and with a really cool section with a blaring horn in the background, sounding like a call to arms as an army prepares for a war, further accentuated by the multitude of vocal harmonies causing everything to sound gargantuan in scale.

The transition between Kobaia is de Hundin and Da Zeuhl Wortz Mekanik is quite cool, as it fades out seemingly building up, before then fading back in on the following track. The use of the falsetto at this point becomes extremely common, every track containing multitudes of it, definitely being an element of the rising intensity and power of the album as it goes on. This song also has more prominence of the guitar, which has unnatural, almost angular sounding solos played on it, as one would expect to some extent. The next song begins with an isolated piano still playing the main melodic motif on the album, as other instruments are introduced. Despite being much quieter for the first few minutes of this piece, this is definitely one of the best moments of the album, as there is a clear latent energy it encapsulates that is slowly released throughout, getting increasingly louder as Vander rambles in a way similar to Amon Duul II, erratically jumping between notes, screaming, having no sense of sanity. As the song approaches its final minute, all that can be heard is a wall of sound almost solely comprised of screams with the constant underlying melody providing a sense of coherence in the chaotic mess that's unfolding. After a few calmer moments of the next track, the album approaches its final explosion, in which all the elements throuhgout culminate in utter cacophony and chaos, the tempo constantly increasing all before truimphantly ending and seguing into the final track, which is much calmer and more melodic, ending the album with a single high frequency note that lodges itself in your head, closing perfectly.

I genuinely think that this could fall within my top 10 albums of all time, I've been constantly having the powerful urge to give this a listen over the past month, and it still has not lost any of the impact that my first few listens had. The sheer intensity and buildup of it is nothing short of incredible, and the blending of genres and styles sounds excellent. I truly recommend that you listen to this album if you want something truly unique, strange, and especially intense, as I think that at the very least, you'll find this album very interesting.

Besst songs: all of them

Weakest songs: none of them

Verdict: The energy this album has is almost completely unmatched from what I've heard up to this point, and it's overall nothing short of breathtaking in the incredible power it contains. A must listen for those who want intense, strange music.

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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. ... (read more)

Report this review (#2968501) | Posted by Prog Dog | Monday, November 13, 2023 | Review Permanlink

5 stars MŰkan´k DŰstrukt´ẁ K÷mmand÷h ("Movement (of the) Destroying Commando Force"), Magma's 1973 album, is also their best-known release. It tells the story of NŰbŰhr Gudahtt, a follower of K÷hntark÷sz (more on him/that album later) who convinces the Earthlings to finally give up their warlike ways ... (read more)

Report this review (#2904550) | Posted by TheEliteExtremophile | Tuesday, April 4, 2023 | Review Permanlink

5 stars The first time I listen to this album i did not understood anything, but then, with a lot of jazz, jazz rock and Canterbury scene on my own universe I tried but first with an album that is more accesible but still a classic piece of this rare form of Rock music: ▄D▄ Ẁ▄D▄. Once I understand ... (read more)

Report this review (#2688985) | Posted by lovejazzprogelectron | Wednesday, February 2, 2022 | Review Permanlink

4 stars How marvellous! I'm quite impressed with this album. I always stayed away from Zeuhl for reasons that even I don't know. Maybe it was simply the distance between me and this music, and nobody introduced me to this sector either. Well, it was time to start, and as I like to do it myself, I hav ... (read more)

Report this review (#2638562) | Posted by Argentinfonico | Tuesday, November 30, 2021 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Mekan´k Destrukt´w Kommand÷h (MDK), which released in December of 1973, is the third studio album by French band Magma. This album has very dramatic opera vocals, interesting percussion, and jazz and folk elements. Its very creative and interesting. The production is okay, and musicianship is go ... (read more)

Report this review (#2509606) | Posted by Lieutenant_Lan | Saturday, February 27, 2021 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Ok, so this is where PROPER Zeuhl began, after the first two Magma albums made full use of some free jazz tropes, here is the real birth of the genre. The end of the previous album, 10000 Centigrades, saw some Kobaians imprisoned on Earth and later released, after they arrived there in an attempt ... (read more)

Report this review (#2417072) | Posted by bartymj | Friday, July 3, 2020 | Review Permanlink

5 stars The first time I heard of Magma was 5 years ago through a co-worker at my new job, who was a prog afficcionado. He recomended MDK as a start, and I obliged. At the time, and despite finding it interesting, it didn't really click. 'Too weird' I thought and left it at that. Fast forward to the ... (read more)

Report this review (#2203956) | Posted by handwrist | Sunday, May 19, 2019 | Review Permanlink

4 stars 4.5 stars. Although this is considered the greatest album Magma had ever done, I think there are better introductions for first-time listeners. You have to ease them into such a difficult band like this, instead of throwing them in the deep end and expecting them to swim. I don't think Mekanik Destr ... (read more)

Report this review (#1715057) | Posted by thebig_E | Thursday, April 27, 2017 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Delivering a genre of music completely unfamiliar to me, I was fascinated by the prowess of M.D.K. and the musical talent therein. A sinister record with equally fierce vocals, this album is a dark journey through transcendence and dissonance itself. Each instrument harmoniously working togeth ... (read more)

Report this review (#1177063) | Posted by ebil0505 | Sunday, May 18, 2014 | Review Permanlink

5 stars If I put this record on, my mother comes to my place and looks at me with her weirdest face. And I understand her. Really, this album is crazy (and, perhaps, so I am). First of all, I love the story behind: it's about an extraterrestrial prophet that wants all of us to follow his religion. At the ... (read more)

Report this review (#997929) | Posted by cris_ostoma | Sunday, July 14, 2013 | Review Permanlink

5 stars First thing i can say about this masterpiece: it's not for everyone. If you're very into "classic" prog stuff, you will not get this one. This record is the Zeuhl bible. The gem of a whole genre. This one is Mekanik Destruktiw Kommandoh, considered by many fans, the best Magma album (i don't thin ... (read more)

Report this review (#807027) | Posted by mau | Saturday, August 18, 2012 | Review Permanlink

4 stars After hearing and reading so much about Magma on this site I just had to investigate what all the talk was about. Could they be as strange as people said? Yes. Could they be as good as people said? Also yes. This music is just so damn hard to describe... Battling choirs? Singing ogres? Alien ope ... (read more)

Report this review (#649893) | Posted by mohaveman | Wednesday, March 7, 2012 | Review Permanlink

4 stars For me, this is an album that define Magma and zeuhl. Teutonic, repetetive music based on a simple jazzy, funky piano theme broadened out with insane sounding male and female vocals and with added textures added by bass, keyboards, drums, choirs, guitars and flutes. It sounds like a declaration o ... (read more)

Report this review (#545637) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Saturday, October 8, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars A decade or so ago I was well on my way to prog geekdom. Having cut my teeth on the various "big name" prog acts ? a misnomer if there ever was one ? I wanted to venture out and see what else this genre had to offer to those hungry ears of mine. It seemed there was an endless supply of weird a ... (read more)

Report this review (#445481) | Posted by Dr. A | Tuesday, May 10, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Mekanik Destruktiw Kommandoh ? 1973 (4.1/5) 12 ? Best Song: Don't make me choke you. Okay, so Da Zeuhl Wortz Mekaniw rules immensely All hail Krreuhn Kormahn and his Theusz Hamtaahk! May his Kobaian tribal chanting live long and forever into the imperial realms of inner and outer special existe ... (read more)

Report this review (#443196) | Posted by Alitare | Thursday, May 5, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Who will enjoy this album? Hard to say??. Zeulh fan of course and they probably have it already. But as well being a classic of the genre anyone who wants to discover Zeulh. This is so far the best album of that category I have heard. Even so it is a difficult album to get into and not everyone ... (read more)

Report this review (#382561) | Posted by Theriver | Tuesday, January 18, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars MŰkan´k DŰstrukt´ẁ K÷mmand÷h This album should be in the Top 10, yet it's not currently even in the top 100 - scandalous. I've loved this album for 35 years. I discovered it not long after release. It came with a lyric sheet and I set about learning all the lyrics and became totally tran ... (read more)

Report this review (#326684) | Posted by tw0sheds | Saturday, November 20, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is hilarious ! Gong doing Carmina Burana?! I advise you this review is going to be as demented as nonsensical...but how do you convey in any image how this music feels like?... Well i would try warning has been done..... Firstly i want to be clear, this is just aesthetical concepts, no ... (read more)

Report this review (#299842) | Posted by shockedjazz | Monday, September 20, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This is the ultimate "love-it-or-hate-it album". Except for most Slipknot albums, but that's a completely different story. This was my first journey into "Zeuhl" territory and the bizarre, almost deformed-like melodies and just plain weird use of instruments caught my attention immediately. The v ... (read more)

Report this review (#277549) | Posted by CinemaZebra | Sunday, April 11, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars My personal history with this album: This album is special. The first time I listened to it (my first encounter with magma) I couldn`t make it to the 3rd song, I was shocked.... I remember that I thought: "Holly ****! how can someone like this ****?" And then I started laughing..... Two we ... (read more)

Report this review (#277531) | Posted by 12212112 | Sunday, April 11, 2010 | Review Permanlink

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