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Mekong Delta - Kaleidoscope CD (album) cover

KALEIDOSCOPE

Mekong Delta

 

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.36 | 25 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

CCVP
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Unlock the Kaleidoscope in your mind, whatever that means

I must say that whne I first heard about Mekong Delta I was quite intrigued by their proposal of mixing thrash metal, progressive rock and classical music, and by the fact that they were one of the very firsts progressive metal bands out there, though I was also a bit aprehensive over my choise of where would be the right place to get started on them due to the somewhat big catalog the band has.

Mostly because if the unusual cover of Genesis' Dance on a Volcano, from the A Trick of the Tail album, I decided to pick up Kaleidoscope as my introduction to this German band and I must say that this was probably the best album I could get as a starter / introducer to Mekong Delta's sound. Frist off, this album holds all the band's main features; second, it has some great songs; and third, it is quite easy to get into, once you get past the vocals.

As it happens with other progressive metal bands out there, but most notably with Dream Theater, the vocalist has a particularty strange vocal timbre and is not as skilled as the other band members, plus his style of singing isn't anywhere near what you would usually expect for a thrash metal band, so I would say that the vocal department is, at the very least, an acquired taste.

In the instrumental section, however, I can't find many flaws like that. The drums sound great and are played in a technical yet vaired way by Pete Hass and Ralph Hubert's blasting bass lines complement both the drum beats and the guitar rifs, melodies and solos. The only considerable improvement I could think of here would be improving the guitar work a bit during the solos, because they at times sound a bit muddy, but that could be a result of the raw (but not so much) production, which gives the band an even aggressiver sound. Still on the guitars, they don't behave like the usual thrash maiming devices throwing millions of riffs in your face, but actually develop some really interesting melodies.

As I mentioned before, Kaleidoscope showcases all sides of the band's style. We have their traditional progressive thrash through most of the album, which sounds like Coroner and Voivod meet Yes and Genesis, and the also traditional thrash metal version on a classical piece, which in this case is Aram Khachaturian's Saber Dance, the closing piece from the Gayane ballet. Despite their technically complex presentation, the album is overall simpler than both the previous and next album by Mekong Delta, which feature a central concept piece together with other songs somewhat similar to it, almost as a concerto, wile this is simply a collection of songs. The best songs here are Innocent?, Sphere Eclipse, Dance on a Volcano, Dreaming, Saber Dancing and About Science.

CCVP | 4/5 |

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