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Mekong Delta - Toccata CD (album) cover


Mekong Delta

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

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4 stars Headphones on!

Normally I don't review singles/EP's, but in the case of Mekong Delta's "Toccata" I'm more than willing to make an exception. Firstly because it's still not rated on PA and secondly because especially the title track surely deserves more attention.
The single contains three previously unreleased tracks. Two of them are covers and the other one is an adaptation of the track "Interludium (Begging For Mercy)" on Mekong Delta's album "The Music Of Erich Zann".

1) Toccata [8/10]
2) Black Betty [5/10]
3) Interludium (2nd version) [7/10]

What I like so much about Mekong Delta is their almost unique ability to successfully blend classical music with eruptions of ultra heavy thrash metal. On this single it did work out remarkebly well for the title track. IMO it is at least as good as ELP's version. Some of the lead guitar parts remind me of Voivod's "Dimension Hatröss" (and that is not a bad thing!).
However with the second track, the Ram Jam cover "Black Betty", I do have a problem. Musically it's quite good, but the vocals aren't up to par. Probably it was meant as a joke but I still don't like it.
The third and final track is still a decent track but is lacking something in comparison to the original. The new version has been shortened (why?) and some of the fantastic lead guitar sections have been omitted.
All in all I consider this album as an excellent addition to any prog music collection. The way Mekong Delta succeeds in incorporating classical music and metal with the single "Toccata" should appeal to a lot of prog (metal) fans. Tip-off: Listen to the title track with headphones!

Album rating: 66% = 4 stars

Report this review (#115454)
Posted Saturday, March 17, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars A great little snippet of the MEKONG DELTA sound

For those who don't know (which I'm sure most of you don't) Mekong Delta were a German studio project comprised of musicians who's identities generally remained secret due to legal and contractual obligations with other bands and records who's musical output was homogeneous fusion of 80's thrash metal and classical music - and not in the cheesy neoclassical power metal sense either.

Toccata is a great song truly a perfect thrash synthesis of classical music with great use of dynamics, the guitar is very distorted but still doesn't detract from the musicality of the piece and the drums add a real fury and drive with an exceptional performance in every regard. Black Betty is a fairly uninteresting cover and is worth skipping altogether, the vocals are good for a bit of a laugh though and I guess it's interesting to see how technical they made it complete with harmonised tapping. Interludium is another fantastic classical piece, this time relying more on the violin recordings and less on the metal instrumentation, the drums again shine here though, the double kick sections are so well placed it's genius that people thought to do this with classical music.

Toccata is pitifully short but it's still well worth while and gives a great indication of what the band are like (excluding the cover song). Recommended to fans of thrash metal and curious prog metal fans in general who don't mind the more extreme side of the spectrum, better off going straight to one of their albums though (I highly recommend Visions Fugitives).

Report this review (#145300)
Posted Wednesday, October 17, 2007 | Review Permalink

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