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Mekong Delta - The Music Of Erich Zann CD (album) cover


Mekong Delta

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

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3 stars Classic thrash, with a concept!

This is the best of the original Mekong Delta albums. The guitar work is nothing short of spectacular with brilliant playing that reaches a depth few thrash bands ever came close to (Laaz Rockit is a critically underrated thrash band for you thrash fans out there).

The album centers itself around sounding like a modern thrash version of classical music themes. Tracks like Interludium are mysterious and moving with classical lines spread throughout and a real treat not only for fans of metal but fans of classical as well. The first half of the record is better than the 2nd in my opinion, but throughout the technical playing is excellent. This, along with Watchtower's two releases, are key to the early development of progressive metal, specifically progressive thrash. The tone on this album is of note, both the bass and the guitars have some rich tones to them to complement the intensity of certain "classics" sections.

If you liked Metallica but always hoped for something more, I'd suggest looking at this record, as it's some of Mekong Delta's best work and has a certain depth that more famous thrash bands never reached.

Report this review (#101025)
Posted Wednesday, November 29, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars Some great technical thrash metal here, unfortunately lacking cohesion and retreading old ground.

'The music of Erich Zann' is a decent follow up to MEKONG DELTA's self titled debut and shows a few more glimpses of the brilliance that was to come. The production on this album is unfortunately a lot poorer than on the previous one though, a lot thinner and grittier and not in the good thrash way. There are some great songs on here though which makes up for that, opener 'Age of Agony' is a great technical thrash song with some of the best riffs on the album. 'Memories of tomorrow' is indicative of the style of progressive thrash that would be evident on their masterpiece 'Vision's Fugitives', with more thrashy atonal riffs for the verse and a triumphant and melodic chorus, the sheer pacing of the song is great, there is some furious double kick work here driving it along too. 'The Gnom' is my favourite classical-thrash hybrid song to date from the band with some compelling guitar work featuring some interesting harmonisation and some brooding beastly mid paced double kick.

The instrumentation on this album is superb, the guitars provide some great thrashin' riffage and the solos are fairly musical for thrash. The drums are particularly good, great syncopation and technicality, they really add a lot to the music and make the songs a lot more interesting and along with the bass they make for a formidable rhythm section. The vocals don't seem to fit very well with the music in my opinion, they are quite high pitched heavy metal/power metal type vocals except a lot more aggressive, they don't detract from the music too much though.

MEKONG DELTA had failed to reach their full potential at this point but better things were certainly to come, they had shown great promise and churned out some great thrash songs but it hadn't quite gelled and they had a few shortcomings, for example on this album they reworked and redid one of the classical-thrash hybrid songs from their debut completely unnecessarily and didn't add anything new to it which is a disappointing recurring theme throughout their career unfortunately. A worthwhile album for curious thrash fans none the less.

Report this review (#145523)
Posted Thursday, October 18, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars Out of left field...

This came out in 1988 and almost defined technical thrash (along with Watchtower perhaps). Virtuouso progressive riffs that just didn't sound like they belonged in a thrash metal song, complex fast drumming that was ahead of its time and a dischordant, wierd-ass, manic feel to it all. I remember my ideas of what to expect from music being challenged listening to this for the first time.

Age of Agony is a reasonably straight forward (relatively speaking) fast thrash, True Lies has one of the most interesting riffs I've heard along with some challenging chromatics and fast drumming with many time changes. Confessions of Madness is more stright ahead medium pacer with a cracking thrash section with solos at the end. Hatred is a difficult one, absolutely manic and hard to listen to. Interludium is a masterpiece incorporating a real quartet or orchestra with crunchy guitars (interesting idea back in 1988!). Prophecy is another fast one which cracks from the start but sorta loses its way (only a bit). Memories of Tomorrow is one of my faves, pretty much perfect melodic techno mid pacer. I King Will Come is sloooow, i remember thinking it must have been slowed down in the studio when I first heard it, but it's not, it's deliberately played slower for effect, brilliant. The Final Deluge finished with a flurry of solos from both guitars and bass, it cranks. The last two songs are exactly what they say, epilogues of the quiter atmospheric type.

The things that let this album down are some strained off-key vocals, a good sound, but without the decent bottom end the first album had, and a couple of moments that don't work. But if you wanna hear some riffs that you may never have heard before, some great technical thrashy solos, bass solos and some really challenging music then check it out.

Report this review (#173888)
Posted Saturday, June 14, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars Just take a look at this cover isn't it creepy? Music Of Erich Zann is secend Mekong Delta album and we can easily hear the band was very consequent in their style. Weird technical thrash metal. Not really far from what Living Death (other band of Mekong Delta guitarists) shown. Most of the material in here is fast and furious and really extremely weird. With first sounds of Age Of Agony we sneak into the twisted world of gnoms and creepy illusions. All upside down. True Lies is very interesting piece because similar ideas guys used for their epic concept Dances Of Death. Hatred is very aggressive track mostly due to crazy vocals of Keil. Interludium is instrumental piece filled with classical music elements. Memories Of Tomorrow is also very interesting track and again I can hear something that was later used on Dances Of Death. I, King, Will Come is the slowest song on this album and more simple than the rest. Some Black Sabbath-like riffs. Well not bad. Epilogue isn't metal song at all. We have mostly vocals here, lack of guitars and drums. Something good for the end. But the last on this release is instrumental creepy track The Gnom. It's fabulous adaptation of Mussorgsky's classical piece. To sum it all up. Music Of Erich Zann is good album. Maybe it isn't must-have release but still recommended for fans of thrash metal. And this one I have in that remastered and new mixed version. It isn't far from original sound. It's just a bit louder and clearer. I rate this by 3.5 stars.
Report this review (#212374)
Posted Saturday, April 25, 2009 | Review Permalink
2 stars When I was in the army twenty-one years ago, I bought a magazine which featured an advert for this album. It intrigued me, but it took me twenty-one years before I purchased this album.

Back then, thrash metal was the big thing and Mekong Delta was a pretty radical German band in a scene which spawned a lot of bands. Most of them are forgotten today, although German thrash metal are back in fashion again. I do not think Mekong Delta and this album will ever be fashionable though. The quality of the music on The Music Of Erich Zann is simply not good enough.

The Music Of Erich Zann starts out as a pretty standard German thrash metal album. Not as brutal as Kreator, but a lot more technical than this band. The vocals are also an acquired taste. It is a bland of youthful shouted singing and almost yodeling like songs. An acquired taste, indeed. The music is more fast than heavy. Halfway through the album, the music both takes a turn towards melodic and then a slightly more avant-garde territory. The album closes with two minutes of ELP's The Gnome.

The quality is not that great and I am not a fan of thrash metal either. The sound is not that good either. This is a typical German thrash metal album and that is a turn off for me. This album is not as good as I imagined twenty-one years ago. But then again, I may have liked it back then. Life moves on and personal preferences changes. This album is well worth checking out if thrash metal is your personal preference though. The art work is excellent though.

2 stars

Report this review (#320586)
Posted Monday, November 15, 2010 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
3 stars 'The Music Of Erich Zann' - Mekong Delta (6/10)

After a positive experience with Mekong Delta's debut, I was hungry for more of their material. Taking the name of one of H.P Lovecraft's better known tales, 'The Music Of Erich Zann' is the second album by these German thrashers, and despite a short time between the release of the two albums, there has been some significant development regarding the sound of the band. While the overall style of the band has improved however, it lacks the same naive charm that first attracted me to the debut. This has resulted in a sophomore that I more or less regard on equal grounds with the first.

From the first minute of music here onward, Mekong Delta are certainly not the band that was making straightforward, slightly offbeat thrash on their self-titled. Here, they have evolved into a much more technical and classically-leaning act. The improvements are most noticeable in the guitar riffs here. Instead of an early Voivod-esque style of slightly dissonant riffing, Mekong Delta turn their sights on neoclassical leads, harmonies, and complex instrumental passages. Also notable to the second wave of Mekong Delta is the most greater influence of classical music, particularly an instrumental segment here that contrasts guitars with eerie violins, creating a very modern piece of metal-fused classical music. The symphonic thing has been done countless times in metal, but its rare to hear it compliment the existing mood that the metal would have created on its own.

The downside of 'The Music Of Erich Zann' are the vocals. On the self-titled debut, I loved Wolfgang Borgmann's really energetic delivery. It felt really unpredictable, with him sometimes going for a melodic approach, or a thrashy rasp, or even a falsetto wail that would send chills down my spine. This time around, these things are still there, but they feel arranged in a much less effective way. Borgmann's voice also feels much weaker, especially with the falsettos, which come off as flat and borderline irritating. The rest of the music here is generally more intelligent and stronger than what Mekong Delta was doing on the debut, but this drags the band back down a bit. Largely due to the vocals as well, there aren't any songs that got into my head here, whereas on the debut, I found myself remembering some of the best moments of that album for days to come.

'The Music Of Erich Zann' is certainly an improvement overall for Mekong Delta, although I cannot call it a resounding success in every respect. In their transit to a more serious, and progressive style of thrash music, they seem to have lost some of their raw magic. However, this band's sophomore is a much more promising work, and hopefully on subsequent albums, they will take these intriguing new developments and refine them.

Report this review (#552051)
Posted Monday, October 17, 2011 | Review Permalink

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