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Mekong Delta - Dances of Death (and Other Walking Shadows) CD (album) cover

DANCES OF DEATH (AND OTHER WALKING SHADOWS)

Mekong Delta

 

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.74 | 36 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

CCVP
Prog Reviewer
5 stars It is technical thrash metal combined with classical music, how could this be any bad?

After having a very positive experience with Mekong Delta on their fifth album, Kaleidoscope, I have decided to increase the ammount of albums by them that I own, acquiring at one time Dances of Death, Vision Fugitives, Lurking Fear and Wanderer at the Edge of Time and I must say that, with the exception of Lurking Fear, all those releases were nearly incredable, quality-wise, but Dances of Death (and Other Walking Shadows) had a really special quality: in spite of still having separate instances where they played (progressive) thrash metal and then metal arrangements for classical pieces (the second half of the album), they were able to step-up their business and come up with an epic that managed to merge those two parts of their music.

There is no denying that the epic is the center piece of Dances of Death. It accounts for about half of the album's length, it showcases the band full potential al both players and composers, it is able to take you through all sorts of places without straying from the main lines or ideas of the song (the song is really varied and eclectic) and also manages to do all that without wasting your tame with unecessary or unwanted wankery. As I mentioned in my previous Meking Delta review, the band's vocalist isn't very much likeble, but in the suite he does not gets in the way too much, so I can say that he at least does not gets in your way when listening to the song.

The next songs, Transgressor and True Believers, are two thrash songs with an approach that, although more straighforward than that of the suite, don't lag behind regarding the progressive factor. Furthermore, they are so well written that not only the vocalist does not get in the way, but his awkward voice actually fits in these compositions, to my utter surprise.

The final two tracks are instrumental thrash metal adaptations or arrangements of classical compositions, both being originally written by Modest Mussorgsky during the mid 19th century. The first of them is Night on a Bald (or Bare) Mountain and the second is the bonus track The Gnome, part of Modest's piece Pictures at an Exihibition. The adaptations the band does of both songs is very convincing and solid, showing indeed how skilled are these guys.

A comparison that I believe is appropriate to be made here is between them and Emerson, Lake and Palmer. Despite the fact that one of them played rock and the other plays heavy metal, both have similar approaches to their respective style of music, infusing considerable amounts of classical music (with a particular, if not exclusive, preference to the romantic period) in each band's style.

So far in my exploration of Mekong Delta's discography, Dances of Death (and Other Walking Shadows) has proved to be the band's most accomplished album. The compositional habilities of the band are on the top and the pieces they have chosen to cover in the end of the album also prove to be among the highest degree of quality. That is the biggest quality of this album, the compositions: it has very intelligently written and diversed or varied songs. Besides not having a single bad part, the album present us the best moment of a band that pushed the boundaries of thrash metal music, inventing yet another path beyond that initiated by acts like Watchtower and Voivod, what makes them deserving of the best rating.

CCVP | 5/5 |

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