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MAGYAR POSSE

Post Rock/Math rock • Finland


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Magyar Posse picture
Magyar Posse biography
Founded in Pori, Finland in 1999 - Disbanded in 2012

Formed out of the ashes of THE ALIBI OF CARLOS, MAGYAR POSSE are actually the only post-rock group in Finland, but what a group it is! When talking about similar bands, I guess you could draw comparisons to GY!BE, SIGUR ROS and TORTOISE, but that would not be sufficient in describing their sound. They are also heavily influenced by Ennio Morricone's music, and there's definitely a movie soundtrack feel in many of their tracks. Also, I remember reading that some of the band members were huge krautrock fans and that does show when listening to their hypnotic grooves in tracks like "Lufthan".

MAGYAR POSSE have released two albums by now, "We Will Carry You Over The Mountains" was already a solid and refreshing debut, only to be topped by their highly acclaimed second album "Kings Of Time" - which was voted "album of the year" (2004) by many different sources in the Finnish music press. Both are recommended.

Why this artist must be listed in www.progarchives.com : Well, since post-rock is now a sub-genre in progressive rock, MAGYAR POSSE should undeniably fit in. While their style doesn't directly resemble any other post-rock group, they have that certain "sound" that only groups from that genre have.

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MAGYAR POSSE discography


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MAGYAR POSSE top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.81 | 34 ratings
We Will Carry You Over The Mountains
2002
3.84 | 40 ratings
Kings Of Time
2004
4.33 | 81 ratings
Random Avenger
2006

MAGYAR POSSE Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

5.00 | 1 ratings
Live at UMF, Finland
2006

MAGYAR POSSE Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

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MAGYAR POSSE Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

MAGYAR POSSE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Kings Of Time by MAGYAR POSSE album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.84 | 40 ratings

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Kings Of Time
Magyar Posse Post Rock/Math rock

Review by Kempokid
Collaborator Prog Metal Team

4 stars Magyar Posse's second album is much more in line with traditional post rock, especially when compared to their slightly shythmic, krautrockish debut. This has much more focus on the loud-soft dynamic found throughout standard post rock, yet still undoubtedly manage to be a but above a lot of the generic stuff out there by merit of their exellent compositions and melodies. The band also ends up having a slightly darker sound to it when compared to the ethereal We Will Carry You Over The Mountains, but still is mostly a very pleasant listen.

Immediately, one of the biggest changes I noticed was the increase of vocalisations throughout, with every track other than IV containing some sort of wordless vocal element to it, each time lending itself absolutely prefectly to the music being played. The album also has a far more mysterious feel to it, with the deep red colour, the more ambiguous picture, and the song titles which are nothing more than roman numerals. This definitely adds something to the overall atmosphere of the album, and is a great complement to the more varied nature of the songs, with I being a very slow, calm track, while II adds an absolutely jaw dropping violin that both adds a lot of emotion to hte music, as well as a darker edge to it in parts. It's track III that really sells me on this album however, with an excellent buildup all the way through, with an incredible amount of intensity particularly heightened by the extremely prominent, repetitive drum beat, with the additions of violins bringing a hint of beauty to the extremely dissonant nature of everything else that's going on, before it all transforms into a simply divine section of music. bringing in the vocals as everything moves at a faster pace, all the noise fading away into utter bliss. I do find that the next 2 songs, particularly V, don't have quite the same magic found earlier on in the album, instead being more pleasant than impactful or beautiful, which is thankfully amended greatly in the final 2 tracks, whic end up being incredible in their perfect subtlety, building exquisitely and having some of the best melody in the album. While they don't quite live up to III, they're certainly still more proof that this band has a lot going for them.

Overall, this album is far more complex, technical, and all around more accomplished than their already superb debut, with more variation in each track while maintaining the relative minimalism of post rock. Despite this, I do find the middle portion after III to be somewhat dull and uninspired, whic does take a bit of a toll on the album overall. Even so, this is still an exceptional post rock album by an exceptional band, and I greatly recommend that you check it out, since unlike their debut, this one has enough inspiraiton and amazing high points that it could possibly be enjoyed by those not normally too big on post rock, well, III at the very least.

Best songs: II, III, VII

Weakest songs: IV, V

Verdict: More or less a must listen for fans of post rock, and I'm assuming it could be a reasonable listen for those who don't normally listen to it, although don't expect it to change your view on the genre.

 We Will Carry You Over The Mountains by MAGYAR POSSE album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.81 | 34 ratings

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We Will Carry You Over The Mountains
Magyar Posse Post Rock/Math rock

Review by Kempokid
Collaborator Prog Metal Team

4 stars From the first moments of the opener, it's quite clear that Magyar Posse is a band that follows the likes of Mogwai for their general sound, yet also manage to incorporate a lot in each song, definitely being on the more busy side of the genre. The main difference I find between this album and the average post rock affair is the larger focus on building upon simple, cyclical rhythms, rather than solely focusing on creating a particular mood or image.

The album's title and cover art both paint a very accurate picture of what this album will sound like, with sweeping passages that just sound 'big' for lack of a better term. While the opening track, Sleepwalker, doesn't quite show off this element, it definitely displays the hypnotic effect that it can have, with absolutely mesmerising drumming. The next 2 songs are a much closer representation of all aspects of the album however, with the incredible, slowly building crescendos present in great post rock, with an amazing melody that continues appearing throughout, providing both a feeling of melancholy and a feeling of absolute power radiating from it. The band also has a certain krautrock edge to them, extremely present in Pacific Ocean/Death In The Desert, which has a much more psychedelic sound to it than anything else on the album, and is quite rhythmic in nature. My favourite song on the album is without a doubt Untitled, which contains such a wonderfully beautiful melody that I find completely indescribable, before fading away into a breathtaking wordless vocal section. Enemy Within shows the more intense side of the band with a song that just keeps going at full pace. Unfortunately, the final two songs falter to some extent, with Lufthan being somewhat boring, and The Endless Cycle Of Violence building up absolutely menacingly, but not really hitting a conclusive climax, but even so, they're definitely serviceable songs.

Overall, while this album isn't particularly groundbreaking, it definitely separates itself enough from generic post rock to end up being a deeply engaging and enjoyable listen. I think that those who enjoy post rock would find this to be a highly enjoyable album overall, but if you aren't a fan of the genre, this album wouldn't really change your mind, despite its beauty.

Best songs: Witchcraft, Untitled, Enemy Within

Weakest songs: Lufthan

Verdict: This is a wonderful sounding album all around, with great melodic and rhythmic components that sound simply divine. Definitely an album I strongly recommend to anyone who enjoys post rock.

 Random Avenger by MAGYAR POSSE album cover Studio Album, 2006
4.33 | 81 ratings

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Random Avenger
Magyar Posse Post Rock/Math rock

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

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

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

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

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

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

 Kings Of Time by MAGYAR POSSE album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.84 | 40 ratings

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Kings Of Time
Magyar Posse Post Rock/Math rock

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

4 stars MAGYAR POSSE released their second album KINGS OF TIME to remarkable success in their native Finland. This Pori based quintet was treated to several awards and even touted as having created one of the finest albums in all of Finnish history with this 2004 sophomore recording KINGS OF TIME. Unlike the debut "We Will Carry You Over The Mountains," which pretty much matched the overall album sound to the title, KINGS OF TIME remains a mysterious number with a menacing scary red cover that evokes a nostalgia for the communist era of the Soviet Union along with seven anonymous titles that seamlessly flow together to create a greater sum of the parts as the moods shift from placid pleasantries to the more upbeat torrid tumultuous torrents.

KINGS OF TIME pretty much picks up where the debut left off. Many similarities are stark such as the general Mogwai meets Godspeed! You Black Emperor post-rock paradigm of ratcheting up cyclical grooves, soft guitar riff laden passages, synthesizer drenched atmospheres and the expected ratcheting up effect finding climactic crescendoes laced with pleasant Ennio Morricone styled melancholic melodies. However there are many differences as well. Firstly, there are a few more guest musicians providing more instrumentation including the sax, a violin and extra vocals and percussion. The inclusion of the violin makes KINGS OF TIME have a much more dramatic effect than the debut and brings it closer to times to Godspeed's classic sound than the more laid back Mogwai blueprint of the debut.

This album has a more varied feel not only in its instrumentation but moods expressed and it's virtually impossible to distinguish tracks as they are true shapeshifters. The first track throws you completely off guard since it doesn't sound like a post-rock album at all but rather an experimental space noise effect that finds you free floating in the vacuous orbit of some planet but the post-rock elements quickly step into line on the second track which finds vocals leading the guitar, violin and drums in an almost Magma zeuhl styled operatic manner. Yet another feature of this second album is that more wordless vocals find their supporting the otherwise instrumental album's mood setting flow. The third track introduces another distinguishing feature of KINGS OF TIME and that is the piano. Graced with more piano runs and organ sounds, this album finds a more symphonic prog vibe usurping the lysergic Krautrock of the debut however the atmospheric touches do nurture psychedelic leanings.

Despite the menacing album cover, this one really comes off as mostly warm and inviting because of the keyboards but not always. Track five is acoustic guitar based and as the tracks continue, they offer wealth of diversity that includes the "classic" Mogwai simplicity as well as the Godspeed! thunderous cacophony but always graced by beautiful melodies that range from peaceful to utterly frightening. The comparisons of MAGYAR POSSE's music to that of soundtrack's is quite apparent as a series of wordless melodies evoke different emotional responses much the way the composers of film often do. Overall, KINGS OF TIME delivers the goods on an epic style of post rock fortified with darkened Gothic overtones, interesting deviations from the expected march through the motifs and murky ever changing atmospheric cloud covers changing the degree of how much sunlight reaches the ground at any given moment. With haunting vocal accompaniments finding their way in between the guitar attacks, violin sweeps and cyclical rhythmic grooves, MAGYAR POSSE deliver a competent and entertaining second offering.

 We Will Carry You Over The Mountains by MAGYAR POSSE album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.81 | 34 ratings

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We Will Carry You Over The Mountains
Magyar Posse Post Rock/Math rock

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

4 stars While Finland is more known for extreme metal and dark folk in the 21st century, the country has produced other surprises. One of those comes from the coastal city of Pori where the post-rock band MAGYAR POSSE developed their own unique take on the genre. Although established in 2002 many of the members had been playing together in one form or another for many years prior. With the success of bands like Sigur Ros and Godspeed! You Black Emperor taking the 90s by storm, it was a matter of time before the post-rock style would spread far and wide across the globe and since Finland is a land not overly different from the cold frigid of Siguar Ros' native Iceland, it is not too surprising that this band shares many similarities.

This debut album WE WILL CARRY YOU OVER THE MOUNTAINS is almost entirely instrumental with only a couple tracks finding wordless vocals. "Single Sparks Are Spectral Fires" finds the female vocal charm of Laura Sorvala whereas "Witchcraft," the male counterpart version. The album is unique in that it takes the production sensibilities of Godspeed! and Sigur Ros but marries the post-rock paradigm with more German based Krautrock elements that steer the mid-tempo hypnotic rhythmics which segue into cyclical grooves that are multi-layered with guitar reverb, volatile atmospheric overcast by two keyboardists and lugubrious melodic developments. Comparisons to Neu! are common since the band often utilizes the motorik style of progression that evokes the classic albums of the 70s.

Like most post-rock, MAGYAR POSSE nonchalantly ratchets its way up the intensity scale as it creeps along with the cyclical grooves along with a steady beat, subtle guitar riffing and bass grooves but finds its way to more energetic crescendoes. The album comes off as a really long melancholic arch that's larger than life, sometimes bringing the simplicity of Mogwai to mind and at other times the mood drenched magnanimity of both Godspeed! and Sigur Ros with more varying elements scattered about. The title does indeed sound like zephyr winds carrying you gently over a mountain range with gently atmospheric breezes and rhythmic progressions in no hurry to get you there. While the rock elements are subdued there are ample outbursts into heavier distortion, more energized percussion and overall bombast but for the most part this is a calming journey.

The soundtrack inspired melodies have been compared to those of Ennio Morricone as they create epic tones and timbres that convey a mental portrait of the images they convey. Some tracks evoke a touch a lounge jazz, others fuzzed out Krautrock and at times more hypnotic droning but the main gist is that a rhythmic drive provides the stability and the double pronged keyboard approach delivers a formless synthesized haze. Even a music box is implemented on "The Endless Cycle Of Violence" which ensures a continuous diversity of the otherwise monotonous grooves and unhurried processions. While MAGYAR POSSE would become even more experimental over the years before their ultimate disbanding in 2012, WE WILL CARRY YOU OVER THE MOUNTAINS is quite the accomplishment for sounding utterly unique yet clearly existing within the confines of the post-rock paradigm.

 Kings Of Time by MAGYAR POSSE album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.84 | 40 ratings

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Kings Of Time
Magyar Posse Post Rock/Math rock

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Post-rock hasn't been very crowded subgenre in Finland. There's still no serious competitor -- perhaps apart from Plain Fade -- for Magyar Posse to be remembered as the best Finnish post-rock group ever. The Pori-based band recorded just three albums before calling it a day in 2012, but each of them is an excellent and, in a good way, representative item of the subgenre. Recorded in 2003 and released two years after the debut We Will Carry You Over The Mountains, Kings of Time contains seven untitled tracks. According to guitarist Harri Sippola, they simply didn't invent any names good enough. Whatever the reason is, the namelessness functions well as it gives the listener total freedom to form his/her own unique inner visions from the lyricless and very cinematic music. Instead of a regular cover leaflet/booklet, there are four two-sided cards featuring graphic art by Herra Ylppö (in a Soviet-like style; see the album cover here).

Maiju Peltomäki and Finnish-American experimental artist Vuk add some human voices to the album, but Magyar Posse's music is instrumental all the way. The opening part is the second longest at 7:31. For the first half it just paints an abstract and spacey soundscape, almost like early Tangerine Dream, until the entry of softly played acoustic guitar and hazy female voice. On the more intense 2nd part violin and female voice colour the typically gritty post-rock sound. Both the sonic details and the sorrowful melodies bring Ennio Morricone's film music in mind. This association lingers nearby throughout the 48-minute suite, which is not a bad thing in my opinion.

The dynamics are wide along the album that uses dramatic percussion, strong piano clusters and desperately wailing voices, and very delicate and dreamy nuances as well, but the melancholic atmosphere is never broken by an irritating sense of edginess just for the sake of it. The compositions also rely sincerely on the melodies that are full of emotion. All in all, Kings of Time is relatively accessible as a post-rock album, never losing the listener's attention with directionless sonic mess. For a good reason the Finnish rock critics named it as one of the year's finest domestic albums, and after 14 years it still sounds timeless.

 Random Avenger by MAGYAR POSSE album cover Studio Album, 2006
4.33 | 81 ratings

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Random Avenger
Magyar Posse Post Rock/Math rock

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

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

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

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

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

 Random Avenger by MAGYAR POSSE album cover Studio Album, 2006
4.33 | 81 ratings

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Random Avenger
Magyar Posse Post Rock/Math rock

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 We Will Carry You Over The Mountains by MAGYAR POSSE album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.81 | 34 ratings

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We Will Carry You Over The Mountains
Magyar Posse Post Rock/Math rock

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

3 stars The first album by Finland's Magyar Posse (named after a cheap local wine, or so I'm told) announced the arrival of a promising new band: yet another gem from northern latitudes. Their style was always a little too unique for the Post Rock pigeonhole, resembling instead a series of atmospheric, ersatz film score instrumentals, but with a melancholy Krautrock vibe.

The group was still a quartet at the time, and hadn't yet patented the edgy, angular rhythms that would later define their 2006 studio swan song "Random Avenger", arguably the peak effort of a sadly abbreviated career. Missing too was the evocative violin of Sandra Mahlamäki, not yet drafted into the posse, although the musical saw wielded by producer Sami Sänpäkkilä added an appropriate spell to the song "Witchcraft".

The sound of the album is simplicity itself, but with a gray sub-arctic moodiness, like a children's fairy tale gone awry. The bittersweet chords and haunting, hypnotic melodies (with colorful titles like "Singlesparks are Spectral Fires") are equally introspective and aggressive, if sometimes a little too homogenous. Brian Eno may believe that "repetition is a form of change" (quoting from his deck of Oblique Strategies), but the lockstep unison of a song like "The Endless Cycle of Violence" needed a better payoff after six long minutes of escalating monochrome tension.

The intermittent motorik beat recalls the momentum of classic NEU! (more accurately, the secondhand facsimile of bands like Stereolab), almost verbatim in the album closer "Lufthan". Magyar Posse may have been driving a similar highway, but the detours they took were more intuitive, and no less inviting despite the occasional cul-de-sac. Like the road films of kindred Finn Aki Kaurismäki, it's more about the journey than the ultimate destination.

 Random Avenger by MAGYAR POSSE album cover Studio Album, 2006
4.33 | 81 ratings

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Random Avenger
Magyar Posse Post Rock/Math rock

Review by zravkapt
Special Collaborator Post/Math Rock Team

5 stars Magyar Posse are a post-rock group from Finland who have yet to follow-up this amazing album. As more evidence that there is no justice in the world, this album is currently out-of- print and was never easy to find to begin with. Such a shame as this is an album that more people should hear and own. This is both the first post-rock album I have given 5 stars to and the most recent album I have given 5 stars to. Generally, no matter how great they are, a lot of the best post-rock albums still have a little bit of filler or parts that don't seem to go anywhere and add little. I do not give out any 'masterpiece' ratings until that release is a least 5 years old. Random Avenger has stood the test of time long enough to be considered a masterpiece in my opinion. Some think this band has a weird name for a Finnish group; 'Magyar' means 'Hungarian' but apparently the group named themselves after a brand of wine.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks to useful_idiot for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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