Magma - Retrospectiw Vol 1 & 2 & 3 album review
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 KohnzertZund 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 DestructiwKommandoh. 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.