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Mekong Delta - Dances Of Death (And Other Walking Shadows) CD (album) cover


Mekong Delta

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

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4 stars Finally Mekong Delta entered the Archives!I've been waiting for this soooo long!This is my first review i'm sorry if it is plenty of errors but i had to write it! In my country this band is not so popular because everyone thinks it is a bad copy of Metallica, but it isn't. Mekong Delta are the masters of German prog-trash, i'd like to suggest them as a valid alternative to bands like Megadeth and Metallica but with a solid prog base. The rhythm part is carried superbly by Jorg Michael and Ralph Hubert, providing to Uwe Baltrusch a solid base on which he builds some of the most interesting riffs of the whole metal movement.Doug Lee sings in this wonderful record, his high screaming voice goes well with the music with some very well written lyrics about science fiction and the end of the world as we know it. The first track is a well built and organized madness of nearly 20 minutes, full of riffs and constantly changing his face to the listener.But this album worths its price for the last song....Modest Mussorgski 's Night on a bare mountain revisited in prog metal vein!Very very good.Unfortunately Mekong Delta's recods are not easily avaiable but this band is really worth!Go buy this!If u like prog metal and its origins this will be perfect....sorry again for the errors.

"All i hear is lies but they're true lies"

Report this review (#43460)
Posted Friday, August 19, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars What you know about that German prog thrash? Mekong Delta are more or less the equivalent of a Megadeth style band with lots of riff thrashing if you enjoy that. This is what I would call "beer-drinkers" prog, as this would be great prog to drink beer to you, if you enjoy the brew. Dances of Death and the adaptation of Night on a Bare Mountain are the tracks to listen to here.

We have here more or less thrash music with a few dynamics to keep the listener from being bored, however, one can clearly sense that the best song is Night on a Bare Mountain by Mussorgski, as the songwriting from the band is not nearly as refined. The vocals are typical 80's metal vocals, and I can't say that this is a good thing, as it makes some of the tunes cringe worthy.

Normally I am not a big fan of adaptations of original works, however, for some strange reason, the adaptation of Mussorgsky's work is well done and the highlight of the album. I would say get the album for this one song, for it is really entertaining and gets you moving and grooving and what not. Other than that, there isn't much here besides fairly standard thrash.

Report this review (#89315)
Posted Saturday, September 9, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars MEKONG DELTA's most fully realised progressive thrash effort to date.

The early releases from MEKONG DELTA were quite enigmatic, the identities of the band members were kept secret and they played a very mysterious dark kind of technical thrash metal unlike much else that was around at the time and on top of that they adapted works from Russian composer Modest Mussorgski with thrash instrumentation creating a unique brand of music that has yet to be paralleled although their albums left a lot to be desired and reeked of potential that was yet to be fully realised. Here on Dances of Death we see in part a realisation of that potential with some cohesive and varied songwriting.

Things start off on a real high with one of the first and only tech-thrash epics, the title track clocks in at nearly 20 minutes and is a very challenging yet rewarding listen, packed full of great riffs and intensity, it doesn't let up until the end with angular riffs, double kick and syncopation pummeling the listener. 'Transgressor' and 'True Believer' are more standard tunes from the band (if there is such a thing) but both exude an almost psychedelic quality very rare in metal. The real gem on the crown of this album is the arrangement of Mussorgski's 'Night on Bear Mountain' which is an amazing adaptation into the thrash metal format with surprising dynamics and amazing instrumentation featuring a completely bitchin' solo and a soothing a fitting acoustic guitar outro.

This is fairly essential listening for any thrash fan particularly given the rarity of thrash epics (off hand I can't even think of one besides Dances of Death let alone one of such quality). Fans of CORONER, WATCHTOWER and early VOIVOD will certainly find something to enjoy here.

Report this review (#145689)
Posted Thursday, October 18, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Mekong Delta OMG yeah I was pretty shocked first time I listened to this album. I was in high school and it was my first approach with this band. I didn't understand this music back then. I mean I listened to Voivod but to their least complex albums (War And Pain, Angel Rat). Later of course I discovered their techno-thrash released and loved it. But with Mekong Delta it wasn't so keen. Mekong Delta is German band but they have never sounded like Kreator or ever more progressive Vendetta. Mekong Delta took a lot from prog rock bands of 70's like Yes and Emerson Lake and Plamer. So this album starts with 19 minutes long suite called Dances Of Death. The structure is very similar to ELP's Tarkus and we can find even same progressions here. But the music isn't filled with keyboard passages. There are no keys on this album at all. Instead of that we have thrashy guitar riffs played very fast. True virtuosity. Vocals rather 'demonic' high pitched but intriguing. Music bizarre and complex. Yes. Mekong Delta. Beyond The Gates and Days Of Betrayal two main parts of epic title suite are based on the same motive which is driving force of Dances. The whole stuff doesn't bore me at all. I listen to it and enjoy every minute. Side B of this album includes 3 separate songs. Mussorgksi's Night On A Bare Mountain in Mekong Delta's adaptation is one of the weirdest tracks I've ever heard in my life. I can enjoy it from time to time. I have to be in mood for that kind of stuff. Anyway Dances Of Death is my favorite Mekong Delta album. In its genere is excellent.
Report this review (#198513)
Posted Monday, January 12, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars Thrash Metal is not my favorite music style. Playing thrash metal is pretty low in my estimation of human activities. But I have a lot of respect and affection for this German band.

The basis here is thrash metal, also called speed metal. The tempo is breakneck fast. But there is also a lot of melody and intelligent hooks too. The vocals is typical speed metal. The sound is pretty good too, but still pretty muddy like in a typical speed/thrash metal album. The guitar solos is good too. The best song here though is their adoptation of Night on a Bare Mountain though and that pushes the album up one notch in my estimation. So I award this album a weak three stars with the health warning that this is a thrash metal album. No less, no more.

3 stars

Report this review (#483358)
Posted Saturday, July 16, 2011 | Review Permalink
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.

Report this review (#514005)
Posted Saturday, September 3, 2011 | Review Permalink

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