Two years shy of their 50th anniversary, French uber-proggers Magma are enjoying considerable late-life appreciation from metal fans drawn to their immense heavyweight power and multi-headed epics and the world’s coolest logo.
Since 2015’s exhaustive remastering binge, Magma and leader/drummer Christian Vander have been celebrated in their first film while still riding a lava-flow of reissues. This latest finds the band celebrating their 10th anniversary at Paris Olympia in June 1980. Originally released in 1981, the sets reappeared in 2015’s colossal softwareuiphraseguid=“084e6e73-7ded-438e-aca0-1c8b6dcc7820”>Kohnzertsoftwareuiphraseguid=“084e6e73-7ded-438e-aca0-1c8b6dcc7820”>Zund box set and now get another lease of life on vinyl.
Volumes 1 and 2 are constructed around Theus Hamtaahk, Vander’s space opera about a doomed planet, Kobaia, sung in his self-invented language and consisting of three epic movements, including 1973’s breakthrough Mekanik softwareuiphraseguid=“54a1f205-e8d0-4a89-b356-9c27b0d05230”>Destructiwsoftwareuiphraseguid=“54a1f205-e8d0-4a89-b356-9c27b0d05230”>Kommandoh. That’s here in truncated form, joined by concert-only first movement Theus Hamtaahk (Time Of Hatred). This could be the definitive version, its spectral chorales and keyboard meteor showers swarming around Vander’s metronomicpolyrhythms. Volume 3 eases the intensity with jazz-funk Retrovision and Vander’s spirited vocal on Hhai.
Such a lavish package might not be the best way to enter Vander’s idiosyncratic universe, but diehards will be delighted.