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Zeuhl definition

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

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

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

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

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

Zeuhl Top Albums

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

4.28 | 1025 ratings
4.24 | 696 ratings
4.29 | 229 ratings
4.23 | 468 ratings
4.21 | 514 ratings
4.18 | 333 ratings
Vander, Christian
4.38 | 78 ratings
Thibault, Laurent
4.15 | 483 ratings
4.22 | 178 ratings
Universal Totem Orchestra
4.18 | 206 ratings
4.13 | 427 ratings
4.09 | 390 ratings
4.32 | 59 ratings
Bondage Fruit
4.04 | 467 ratings
4.69 | 21 ratings
200 000
4.10 | 130 ratings
4.08 | 140 ratings
Universal Totem Orchestra
4.46 | 29 ratings
Bringolf, Serge
4.08 | 132 ratings
Top, Jannick
4.06 | 107 ratings
Universal Totem Orchestra

Zeuhl overlooked and obscure gems albums new

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

Bondage Fruit
Koenji Hyakkei
Seffer, Yochk'o

Latest Zeuhl Music Reviews

 Dai Kaht II by DAI KAHT album cover Studio Album, 2020
4.55 | 10 ratings

Dai Kaht II
Dai Kaht Zeuhl

Review by bartymj

4 stars If most Zeuhl-style albums make you think of the Kobaians preparing to invade and conquer a planet, this one could maybe be a take on their post-invasion party celebrations. Jazzy and upbeat but still with Zeuhl vocals and other elements. Zeuhl was new to me this year, and having started with Magma's Mekan飇 Destrukt飛 Kommand鰄 thought it was all going to be a bit too bleak for my mainstream tastes.

Broadening horizons to albums like this that are more of a Zeuhl crossover really does work though.

As BrufordFreak writes, its almost as if the Allman Brothers were collaborating on this. The first two tracks, while having Zeuhl vocalisations, are fast paced, jazzy and upbeat. Helvet Sttro?II is just as fast paced to start but very chaotic and Zeuhl heavy before a brief spacey jam session. Willargh starts very gentle, almost giving time to reflect on the chaos of the previous track before the true roots of Zeuhl appear in a slow march/chant section, although still somehow, maybe through the key of the vocals, seeming to stay relatively upbeat despite the ominous guitar riff. The pace then picks up for another fast but gentle space jam interspersed with what I guess should be called 'Party Zeuhl' composed by the Allman Brothers Kobaian cousin.

Z鯾ehr-Da?for me seems to be taking time out from the party to reminisce highlights of the battle. Think of the big powerful men(?) inflating their egos over a trough of beer bragging about their kills. Wehr Mahr?is a real toe tapper to start, with a slightly more menacing feel, particularly in the midsection which quietens down and slowly builds back up again as more instruments are added. Now I've started to tell the story above I'm undecided what this track would signify. Either the group are now fighting among themselves, or planning their next attack.

Probably the latter, as in M'a Orgata things are a lot calmer and the vocals return to a lighter rather than the gruff, angry chanting of previous tracks, before finishing off with a slower but in parts just as chaotic track, particularly the vocals. The leader of the group is making a rousing speech, ready for the next one...

As someone who's struggled to get into Zeuhl I highly recommend this album as a gateway into it, as a more upbeat variant of a style that could move in all sorts of directions beyond Magma and the rest.

 K.A (K鰄ntark鰏z Anteria) by MAGMA album cover Studio Album, 2004
4.24 | 696 ratings

K.A (K鰄ntark鰏z Anteria)
Magma Zeuhl

Review by sgtpepper

4 stars I ignored Magma and Zeuhl in general for a couple of years due to the relative inaccessibility of their music and not always favourable description of the music genre.

This changed recently also thanks to a live concert at Night of the Prog 2013 that brought them closer into my attention and I realized that these lads have create quite some gems that sound like nothing else ever done before.

On this release, the first major one since the 70's, the band blew dust of their unreleased archives, added precise detailed sonic scenery with incredible vocal complexity, flavour of jazz and Canterbury, crisp sound and of course, their language that sounds soft and formidable. Jazz-fusion touches are delicate but this time, without brass instruments and keyboards take quite an instrumental role. The second track has a really complex but rewarding motive - verse and chorus. The instrumental section is quite accessible in the early 70's fusion and guitar takes the lead. Later on, you can hear classical music intermezzo on piano and with female vocal. The third track has a delicate synth/electric piano intro with Vander on drums providing Soft-Machine like busy drumming that matches the soloing synth well. It's not until the 9th minutes that vocals take a more prominent role. There is also a grooving somewhat dramatic dissonant experimental motive, really great exploration of increasing tones.

This is a strong release and certainly one of the best releases of 2004 on progarchives.

 Trilogy by MAGMA album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2012
2.60 | 15 ratings

Magma Zeuhl

Review by cmaluend

1 stars Magma trilogy is a bootleg. Charly records acquired "some" right of Magma Live, Attahk, and Udu Vudu, but they haven't paid any royalty to the band. They have edited those three albumens many times changing covers. Besides that, the album Magma Live is not complete. It misses two songs: "EMEHNTEHTT-RE" and "DA ZEUHL WORTZ MEKANIK".

About the art, I haven't seen this version in person, but for me, it is a crime to change the Attahk cover. There isn't any replacement for the art design by H.R. Giger.

Summary, this version does not support the band, it has an incomplete version of Magma Live, and it does not give a [&*!#] of the great art of H.R. Giger.

 Dai Kaht II by DAI KAHT album cover Studio Album, 2020
4.55 | 10 ratings

Dai Kaht II
Dai Kaht Zeuhl

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars What if SANTANA or THE ALLMAN BROTHERS played Zeuhl?!

1. "Hanshin" (4:17) a true Zeuhl intro--complete with vocal narration! But then we shift into drive and pick up an ALLMAN BROTHERS feel for the next wild minute. That bass is moving a million miles an hour--and in a Disco cadence! Choir enters over the next ALLMAN BROTHERS section giving it a kind of STYX feel. Heavily effected synth- guitar solos in the fourth minute before we return to the AB motif to finish. (8.75/10)

2. "Dai Kor'nenn" (7:57) again, what if THE ALLMAN BROTHERS played MAGMA Zeuhl? The band plays very tightly. In the fifth minute, it moves into more of MOTORPSYCHO territory before subtly flowing into KOENJI HYAKKEI. I love the Klaus Blasquiz imitation in the seventh minute! Then it just gets crazy. (13.25/15)

3. "Helvet Sttro' II" (4:31) moving more into true Zeuhl territory, (even using a language very close to Koba'an), the choir chants here are a little off but still have a very interesting echoed-staccato effect. (Intentional?) At the end of the third minute we move into a more spacious section that kind of lulls you into a safe place before wild, slashing synthesizer notes enter. (9/10)

4. "Willargh" (8:23) opening with a very pretty, slow, and pensive weave, the music gradually builds until at 1:40 we reach the transition point at which we move into a march-like cadence with male group chanting. This is followed by some rather sedate electric guitar riffing before we move back into the march-and-chant section again. After this the rhythm section moves almost into a Rasta beat while the fuzz guitar solos. A little interlude for a bass solo, and then we fly into the full-speed race to the end--with a slight delay and downshift before more ALLMAN BROTHERS influence begins to exert itself. Wow! (18/20)

5. "Z'behr-Da'" (11:44) MOTORPSYCHO! At the 3:20 mark the guitars go into a kind of "Schindleria Pr'maturus" riff while the rhythm section keeps up a jazzy foundation. A party-like cacophony enters during the sixth minute just to spice things up for a bit, but then we settle back into the Fish-like pattern until some voice samples throw everything off again. At 7:15 we shift into some Viking-like macho chanting before the music takes off at a sprint--as if running away from the Vikings. But, no! They're in pursuit, despite the laser shots from the soloing synth in the ninth minute and the loud power chord play from 8:45 to 9:15. A kind of JC Superstar lull precedes the blows of the start of the final battle at 10:00. (If that was a battle) it is quick and decisive as a heavenly choir of angelic voices seems to show the result before the brief high octane celebratory finish. (17.75/20)

6. "Wehr Mahr'" (5:37) captures amazingly well that menacing, frantic feel that underlies everything MAGMA seems to do. The slow build in the fourth minute is amazing! Hammond Organ solo before returning to the out of control pace and feel to finish. It's got me into a frenzy! Wow! What a ride! (10/10)

7. "M'a Orgata" (12:48) the CAMEL/SANTANA school of Zeuhl with the ZA! vocal choir! Awesome! Even throw in a little DICK DALE and ALLMAN BROTHERS sound/feel in the second half! (22.25/25)

8. "Hertz K'matt" (5:56) crazy and frenzied in a Zappa-Captain Beefheart kind of way--especially the vocals. Wild and theatric. Not unlike the Eastern European-influenced work of HUMBLE GRUMBLE or FARMERS MARKET. (9/10)

Total Time 61:13

A-/five stars; a minor masterpiece of upbeat and frenetic guitar-dominant Zeuhl. Great vocal performances and use of choir and chants.

 Bondage Fruit I by BONDAGE FRUIT album cover Studio Album, 1994
3.93 | 62 ratings

Bondage Fruit I
Bondage Fruit Zeuhl

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars The debut release from these high energy Japanese youth. Though this is definitely Zuehl (the vocals give it away), the tribal rhythms and prominent contributions of tuned percussives, violins, saxophone, strumming acoustic guitars, and really raunchy buzz-saw lead electric guitar give the music and sound an entirely different palette than Magma or the European Zeulers.

1. "Holy Roller" (3:54) tribalistic hand drums joined by scratchy electric rhythm guitar and then violin and voice. The vocals definitely have Zeuhlish feel to them, but the rest less so. (8.75/10)

2. "Arabia No Zou" (4:31) fairly simple, straightforward musical weave in which the wordless vocal weave switches from percussive "da-da"s to smooth "wee-ee"s and then to soul-operatic scatting of a solo woman. Interesting. (8.75/10)

3. "Kodomo No Torokko" (8:24) opens with fast driving, multiple layers of percussion and chunky bass which are soon joined by a choir of wordless vocalise establishing a very engaging series of melodies with harmonic support and counterpoint presenting in a verse and chorus format. Very cool! At 2:30 voices and bass take a break while violin takes the lead over cymbal play. Sounds like Charlie Daniels' "Devil Went to Georgia" or The Who's "Baba O'Riley" violin play over Laurie Anderson's "Blue Lagoon" tuned percussives. Voices join back in until the five minute mark when acoustic steel-string guitar takes a turn as the demon soloist. Voices join in during the seventh minute in a beautiful Paul Winter Consort kind of way. Simply an awesome, innovative song! (20/20)

4. "Rigo" (2:22) percussion and Bobby McFerrin-like voices create an odd, perky chordal weave before soprano female takes on the role as the breathy lead over the top. Halfway through the song stops and peeks through another door (vibes) before returning to the perky chords with horn added. (4.5/5)

5. "Octopus-Command" (7:16) opens with multi-voice vocal weave that sounds like something Bobby McFerrin might have constructed, but then full band bursts in with same bass, snarey-drums, vibes, edgy guitars, and multi- voiced choir, all scatting along at breakneck speed with each other, each following the same melody lines--until the third minute when everybody drops out except for the bass--who meanders slowly, snail-like, through a lonely murk of silence. He sounds a lot like Eberhard Weber or David Darling. At 4:30 everybody comes shrieking (on behalf of the guitar and high-speed vocalists--who alternate screaching at each other, this is literally true). At 6:00 everybody cuts out for a brief interlude of high end xylophone before the band members all rejoin--this time at normal speed. Not as melodic as I like, but very impressive performances. (13.25/15)

6. "Hiko Suru Ko" (6:45) opens with a weave, pace, structure, and vocalist and melody sounding very much like a song of theirs from the future. I love the hand drumming as the percussion/rhythmic foundation. Violin takes over the lead from the alto female voice in the second verse. Female voice rejoins in the third minute. both leads are smooth and fairly sedate. Acoustic guitars and bowed cello/bass become more prominent in the third section--and vocals get thicker with others joining alto. Next section has an Nassau N'dour-like African-sounding male singer. Very cool! Then other vocalists join in while song slowly fades. (13.5/15)

7. "Kaku No Sakana" (6:15) gentle, based upon a simple acoustic guitar arpeggio other instruments add gentle almost incidental sounds to it. Nice and interesting but a little long and drawn out. (8.5/10)

8. "Kinzoku No Taiji" (7:37) more full band frenzy on display, this time pursuing a more mid/alto range of pitches. Excellent drumming on display here as the chunky bass slides all over the fretboard, high and low ends. Violin, electric guitar, and single voice take the solos (and take their solos very seriously--and man do they cook!). (13.5/15)

9. "T-Rex" (6:01) from the first note this one definitely presents itself like some kind of wild orgy of soloists. The only thing keeping it all together is the tribalistic drum pattern. When things "calm cdown" and move into more vocal- centered deliveries, it reminds me of P-We Yoshimi's OOIOO project. I actually really like the second half of this song: it's much tamer and more melodic and cohesive than the initial food frenzy. (9.75/10)

Total Time: 53:05

A-/five stars; a minor masterpiece of progressive rock music and quite a debut of Japanified Zeuhl.

 Les morts vont vite by SHUB-NIGGURATH album cover Studio Album, 1986
4.10 | 130 ratings

Les morts vont vite
Shub-Niggurath Zeuhl

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Review N?339

Shub-Niggurath is a progressive avant-guard rock/zeuhl band from France founded in 1983 by Allan Baullaud. The band is named after one of the deities in Cthulhu Mythos created by the famous American horror writer H. P. Lovecraft.

Shub-Niggurath originated playing dark and intense expressionist music influenced by the legendary progressive French rock band Magma and the contemporary classical music. Aside from the members of the band being fans of the former, the pianist and later on also guitarist, Jean-Luc H'rve had studied composition with G'rard Grisey, a French composer of contemporary classical music. After the first album the band started developing towards structured improvisation and electro-acoustic experiments. The band was dissolved in 1995 following the death of cancer of their leader, the bassist Alain Ballaud. They released two proper albums in their lifetime, their debut 'Les Morts Vont Vite', in 1986 and their second 'C''taient De Tr's Grands Vents', in 1991, later followed by their third 'Testament', released in 1994, which is nothing more than a compilation of unreleased material from the 90's. Besides these, there exist two highly rare cassettes, only releases, a self-titled demo anteceding the first album and a live recording released in 1989 by Auricle. Plus later, in 2009, the band also released a fourth studio album named 'Introduction'. But 'Introduction' is in effect nothing more than their debut demo tracks of Shub-Niggurath cleaned up and released on the CD format.

Their debut studio album 'Les Morts Vont Vite', received critical acclaim for its innovative avant-garde inclinations, and major developments over the Magma's sound. The album is very dark and is very close to the RIO/Avant-Prog style.

The line up on the album is Ann Stewart (vocals), Franck W. Fromy (guitar and electric percussion), Jean-Luc Herv' (piano, church organ and harmonium), V'ronique Verdier (trombone), Alain Ballaud (bass) and Franck Coulaud (drums).

'Les Morts Vont Vite' has four tracks, plus two bonus tracks on the 1997 CD release. The main melodic thing is the harrowing soprano vocals of Ann Stewart. The music is developed in an expressionist landscape of ascending and descending chromatic chord progressions on electric guitar, piano and trombone. The music is channeled through the utter darkness and evil. The guitar solos here are more like tortured and primal sounds than anything from jazz or rock or fusion. The percussion owes more to the modern classical than jazz as well. The music here is generally dark and ugly. We can say that it has a deep darkness, and a very interesting ugliness. For the most part, 'Les Morts Vont Vite' is made of the band's improvisation and an overall mix of strange and varied sounds. 'Les Morts Vont Vite' is, in my humble opinion, an album representative of classic RIO/Avant, where its roots can be found in the early creations of Henry Cow, Univers Zero, and Magma. As for the latter band though, I've mentioned it especially because the amazing operatic vocals of Ann Stewart that remind me a bit of those of Stella Vander of Magma, while any other parallels between the music of Shub-Niggurath and that of Magma can't be clearly seen here. Another one of the most influential RIO/Avant bands that is often mentioned in the reviews of Shub-Niggurath is Art Zoyd. In my point of view however, any comparisons between these two bands can't be clearly seen too. Art-Zoyd's music has a very strong classical feel to it and it's light rather than dark, harmonious rather than dissonant. Quite the contrary, the creation of Shub-Niggurath is inspired by the Avant-garde Academic Music and has no much in common ground with the Classical Academic Music.

Returning to 'Les Morts Vont Vite', all the six compositions on 'Les Morts Vont Vite' are about the classic RIO/Avant with pronounced elements of Avant-garde Academic Music and Zeuhl, though the structures of 'Cabine 67' contains also quite a large quantity of very heavy musical elements. Of course, all the arrangements on the album are in the state of constant development and, thus, are completely unpredictable. Ann Stewart's vocals are dramatic in character and are very charming. They're present on all of the tracks on the album but the aforementioned 'Cabine 67'. By the way, this is also the only composition on the album, where all the arrangements on which are exclusively fast and intensive.

Conclusion: I'm deeply impressed with the music on 'Les Morts Vont Vite'. The music here is admirably dense with a kind of a method of madness as opposed to something more varied. Still, their persistence and talent for molding a small array of timbres into almost symphonic mass is really very impressive. But, its music isn't that too much like Magma, lacking to it the energy, repetition, and funk that suffuse Magma's work. Instead, this is music of brooding intensity punctuated by glorious frenzy. This is the best Shub Niggurath's albums and it's the most approachable too. But it's not exactly an easy listening album, though. I really hope you have already this album, otherwise, you are maybe simply too frightened to face this awesome nightmare. Still, I think you must have to listen to this album, and then, maybe you will like it too. Then, you will have found the dark heart of Shub-Niggurath, and Lovecraft will be proud.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Apsara / Altais by ALTA蟂 album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2015
3.55 | 4 ratings

Apsara / Altais
Alta飐 Zeuhl

Review by Sagichim
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars I was really excited when I heard this is going to be released since we don't get many Zehul albums coming out, I always loved Altais's EP and was sorry it was only about 12 minutes of music, but not only the music is what drew me to this, it's the historic value of it. So apparently Apsara when formed in 1981 was the early incarnation of Altais and Shub Niggurath. Ann Stewart, Franck Fromy and Veronique Verdier went on to form Shub Niggurath in 1983 and the rest continued as Apsara but later changed their name to Altais. So this album contains 5 tracks under Apsara and the EP released under Altais in 1986 which I already had. The first track is the only studio recording of the band, the other 4 tracks are from a live show in 1983 so the sound quality is not that good.

Apsara are a true Zehul band with all its characteristics, closer to bands like Eskaton, Archaia and naturally Shub Niggurath only a bit less noisier. Like Shub Niggurath and Univers Zero's concept Apsara's music is also very frightening and disturbing, creating heavy atmosphere with a lot of tension, containing freak outbursts of sheer madness. what you'll notice right away is the upfront fat and grainy deep throbbing bass sounds of Philippe Goudier and Jean-Marie Sadot, yes they had two bass players! the first is lower and deeper and the second is higher usually played with distortion, it's a real delight listening to those two interplay. Ann Stewart is resposible for the vocal chants and she is doing a great job, there's also a saxophone, keys and guitar involved. Enfer Mais is the only studio track and is the best composition here, I guess it's also the sound quality which makes it superior to the other tracks, guitar, keys and sax are more evident and as a result the music sounds richer. The song include a few parts, all with a repetitive kind of mantra and a natural flow, the music is dark and haunting with a propulsive rhythm, accompanied by sax and guitars, where the double bass attack is the main attraction. The arrangements are wonderful as the tension builds a few times, It gets more intense along the way with saxophones and guitar, fantastic piece. The next 4 live tracks are a bit inferior to the opener but are still definitely good, I think they would have been more effective if cut shorter a little bit. The second track Apsaras is more repetitive leaning on bass and vocals accompanied by quirky guitar playing. En D'Autres Lieux features an eerie violin, sounds like something out of Univers Zero's Hersie. Love those bass workouts half way through including some vocal grouling!! there's also some wild guitar playing later but it's a little bit hard to pick up on this because of the recording quality. The shorter 6 minutes O Rages is quite scary with a heavy atmosphere and frightening sounds by bass, guitar, violin and crazy screaming! it picks up later with a chaotic playing by everybody. Ici Et Maintenant is totally psychotic, bordering madness. As what appears to be another slow piece at first suddenly picks up aggressively with a pounding rhythm the closing part is really cool with children laughing and also screaming on top of a steady eerie beat, very nice.

This is a little hard to digest at first and even harder because of the sound quality, you have to really focus and give it your special attention to really understand what is going on. The next three tracks are the Altais EP I won't go over this again (check out reviews on the EP's page) I'll just say it's really good and along with this Apsara material makes it a very worthwhile addition to your collection. I'm sure if the sound was better it would have revealed as a better album too, 3 stars because it is what it is.

 Budo by VAK album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.98 | 65 ratings

Vak Zeuhl

Review by Rivertree
Special Collaborator PSIKE Team & Band Submissions

5 stars VAK are a really fantastic Zeuhl entity!? I'm not a big fan of this genre in general, often enough coming in touch with a very strange, overly complex approach. I mean experimental in a sense of mentality-wise tilt or so ... nearly :-) Okay, trying to be fair, let's start again, occasionally I just had problems to dig such stuff, to make friends with. This band is awfully good, so good! Man! More of an accessible example quite simply. Hence, is this Zeuhl really in the end? Who knows. Anyhow, the album is consisting of three tracks solely, two of them crossing the 20 minute border. That alone is revelation enough, isn't it? One hell of a musical experience, I can confirm. Just like it is with the All Traps On Earth debut from the same year maybe. I would also name Alco Frisbass when looking for another proper reference.

Of course they are from France, the birthplace of Zeuhl music. Tiny but important part of their DNA, one or two may argue. In the first instance, just to be on the safe side, you may check this on their bandcamp page. They are capable of transferring the listener into another dimension. Hey, running about 28 minutes or so, the title track is pure bliss! When you're in a good mood, take your headphones, and slowly, carefully dive into this sensation. Alternating groovy and highly melancholic parts. Fusion alike and spacey electric guitar contributions. Dramatic synths and sparkling Rhodes piano all over, contributed by Alexandre Michaan. And then Aur閘ie's vocal presence, not to believe! Who can make it better? What will follow after this? Time to let loose. 'Budo' is a masterpiece of progressive rock music, no doubt.

 Mosaismic by IKARUS album cover Studio Album, 2019
4.04 | 4 ratings

Ikarus Zeuhl

Review by Rivertree
Special Collaborator PSIKE Team & Band Submissions

4 stars IKARUS are a band from Switzerland, definitely unique and highly prolific. Their music is not easy to grasp, differing somehow, just because they are not a group of rock musicians in a common sense, in no way. Anna Hirsch and Andreas Lareida are delivering corresponding male and female vocals, which are very dominant, while having a strong zeuhl-ish expression here, just like exotic solo instruments one can say. Generally seen they are meandering through jazz and avantgarde meadows. Where there is no reason to miss the electric guitar really. Besides the extravagant vocals Lucca Fries' piano is the instrument which gives some other main points.

A typical trademark in their music is a somewhat staccato style. Furthermore vocals and instruments are interacting in quite an alternating manner, partially purely parallel, partially falling apart. Ikenophobia makes my day, every time I'm listening to this album. The wonderful vocal presence, a celestial piano, minmalistic drums and contrabass, the atmosphere is simply awesome. Ram髇 Oliveras should be mentioned of course, as he is responsible for this fine compositions. Bravo! 'Mosaismic' is a very pleasant alternative if you are longing for some variation here and there.

 K鰄ntark鰏z by MAGMA album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.15 | 483 ratings

Magma Zeuhl

Review by Kempokid
Collaborator Prog Metal Team

5 stars After the all out intensity present in Magma's previous album, MDK, Kohntarkosz definitely marked an interesting and somewhat unusual departure from what was expected. Rather than the bombastic, apocalyptic feel of MDK, bursting with blaring horns and operatic wails, this album goes for a very different approach, being far slower and more repetitive, focusing on a very long, drawn out buildup that sounds downright hellish by the end, which ends up working excteptionall well in the end, providing the listener with an atmosphere that is far more compelling than anything on MDK. With that said, I do find this to be an inferior album overall, as what MDK may lack in relative atmosphere, it makes up for it with the way it took all preconceived notions of what progressive music could sound like, and then absolutely smashed it in a burst of epic glory, creating one of the single most exhilirating albums out there. While in comparison, this may not quite measure up to the absolute greats, that's not really to diminish the quality of this album, more to just really highlight how great Magma is, as this album manages to evoke some amazing atmosphere and imagery.

The extremely long title track is the obvious highlight and immediately starts off strong, with long, droning organ notes as the drummer goes mad already setting a very different sort of precedent to the heavily rhythmic opening passages of MDK, with the intensity coming much more from the latent energy that's building up. While some may find the fact that this takes so long to really get going to be a bad thing, as I did at first, the extremely drawn out rising notes that are continuously repeated really effectively create a lot of tension, especially once the incredibly heavily distorted guitar is introduced to kick things up another notch, complemented by a gradually steadying beat. The tempo gradually increases as it goes on quite subtly, taking about 10 minutes of constant repetition over a variety of solos from a range of instruments to hit its peak before settling into a minimalistic piano melody that then continues into the next section, this time played on an organ however. The second half of the track is considerably more fast paced, carrying on from the lengthy escalation from the previous part, making it all the more satisfying. Once again, there's a long period of time where very little new happens, instead really immersing the listener in the atmosphere, all before rising again and falling into a groove that manages to simultaneously be steady and chaotic, erupting into an incredible guitar solo that unleashes the true power that the entire previous 20 minutes had been leading up to, further accentuated by the repetitive vocalisations making it feel as if I've just become witness to an occult ritual.

I find the thing most impressive about this track to be the fact that it doesn't even end there, but manages to become even more insane, bringing back the operatic screams so high pitched and dramatic that they cross over into the realms of absurdity, yet the overall chaos of literally every element of the song making it just add to the disorienting madness being put on display, all before settling down, low pitched throat singing making it all still maintain this very occult feel to it. Ork Alarm once again focuses on long periods of repetition, except within the length of a 5 and a half minute song instead of a 32 minute epic, but the effect ends up being favourable due to how great the motifs used within it are while still throwing in enough Zeuhl weirdness to keep it from being even close to generic, and ends up being one of my favourite short Magma songs. Coltrane sundia meanwhile fully embraces the jazzier aspects of the band's sound, taking a lot of clear influence from John Coltrane's work, particularly A Love Supreme. While this is not up the the same incredible standard as the previous tracks here, it's nonetheless a very nice jazz piece that ends the album off in a nice way.

On the whole, despite the fact that I personally don't think this is quite as good as MDK, the complete transformation of approach taken here is something that I find extremely cool, especially given how well it was done. I love the sound of this album revolving around repetitive buildups into occult sounding chaos, especially given how downright sinister it manages to sound. It's also definitely one of those albums that took a while to really grow on me, but ended up being quite a rewarding experience as a result once I really immersed myself in the weird, intense world that the album conjures. While MDK is still the Magma album I'd start with, the anazing atmosphere of this really makes it another absolute gem in my book.

Best tracks: Kohntarkohz, Ork Alarm

Weakest tracks: None

Verdict: This album focuses heavily around buildup and atmosphere, and definitely requires a lot of patience to really get into. With that said, I highly recommend it to those who do like very drawn out, weird and intense music like this, as this is what I consider some of the best music of this sort of description. While it takes a couple of listens for sure, I highly recommend it to those who are into the slightly slower side of Zeuhl, as I think that this will appeal greatly.

Data cached

Zeuhl bands/artists list

Bands/Artists Country
ALTA蟂 France
ANAID France
ARKHAM Belgium
CORIMA United States
DAI KAHT Finland
D躈 France
蒝OH?/a> France
FOEHN France
GA'AN United States
IKARUS Switzerland
MAGMA France
NEOM France
NOA France
PSEU France
RH貼 France
SETNA France
VAK France
VAULTS OF ZIN United States
XALPH France
XING SA France
ZAO France
ZIG ZAG France

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