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progVisions

progVisions is a progressive rock e-zine, published in English and made by an international group of members. Our objective is to become a centre of information that contributes to the knowledge, growth and development of progressive rock.

album reviews

album review

Magma - Theusz hamtaahk trilogie - 2001

1970-2000: 30 years of existence for Kobaia and its people. 30 years of zeuhl music and stories about a mythical planet. 30 years of France's most original band. Indeed, Christian Vander and Magma celebrated the 30th anniversary of this musical adventure in May 2000 with three concerts at the Théâtre du Trianon in Paris.

Unlike the 10th anniversary (available on CD as "Retrospektiw") in which some ancient members of the band performed live, this time the current line-up appeared on stage, only including some special guests and not a reunion of former Magma musicians. The show meant for the first time ever the entire "Theusz Hamttahk trilogy" and an encore chosen by the public: "Hhaï" (unfortunately this piece is not on the album).

The release of this triple live album with the complete trilogy was a major event for all Magma fans. However, the 30th birthday was not the only reason for buying this album: the existing band is one of the most impressive incarnations ever and the live performances of "Theusz Hamtaahk", "Würdah Ïtah" and "Mëkanïk Dëstruktïw Kömmandöh" are not less than excellent. Nothing to envy to the great line-ups from the seventies. ¿Current members? Philippe Bussonnet (bass), James McGaw (guitar), Emmanuel Borghi (Fender Rhodes Piano), Isabelle Feuillebois (vocals), Jean Christophe Gamet (vocals), Antoine Paganotti (vocals) and of course Stella Vander (vocals) and Christian Vander (drums).

Each record includes one part of the trilogy and the first one is "Theusz Hamttahk". A powerful performance, all the members of the band are impressive. Still, I would give a special mention to Paganotti's voice: pure energy. On "Würdah Ïtah" (second CD), two more singers were included: Julie Vander and Claude Lamamy. Here the choirs are one of the strongest points (no weak ones either), Christian has this French panache and energy at the drums and Borghi truly hypnotises the audience with the piano. But the climax arrives on the third CD with "MDK". Bussonnet's bass is more precise than ever and so are McGaw's guitar parts. Moreover, apart from the mentioned musicians, a brass section was also included in this part: Benoit Gaudiche and Yannick Neveu at the trumpets; Fred Burgazzi and Ronan Simon at the trombones. Even though I prefer Magma without that kind of instruments (apart from the first line-ups, maybe), I must admit that I was definitely impressed by the arrangements to this suite, their parts were right where they had to be and exact at every moment. Here we have another particular mention to the voices: Stella is more imposing than ever and there's nothing to say about Isabelle and Julie or about the boy's voices (I had seen Magma on stage without Gamet and Lamamy and I can only say that they also bring more force to the music).

In short, this album is a must. An excellent interpretation of three masterpieces of progressive music presented in a deluxe package with the lyrics, photos and a very nice booklet. This is not "another live album" made by a seventies band, but an impressing concert performed by a young and fresh group. Highly recommended.

Enrique Gomez Montiel - May 2001
rating - Seventh Records

 

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