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Mekong Delta - Kaleidoscope CD (album) cover

KALEIDOSCOPE

Mekong Delta

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal


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OpethGuitarist
PROG REVIEWER
1 stars Can't say that you will find much on this album. What we basically have here is a thrash metal album not unlike Megadeth but with perhaps more varied effects, with use of flamenco styled guitars here and there.

The riffing is poor here. My favorite track is probably Dreaming, a nice instrumental effort that moves away from the thrash riffing. Unfortunately, most of the other songs follow a similar thrashing pattern and leaves me with really nothing memorable like I might get from an early Metallica album. Other Mekong Delta efforts have done better.

Overall, this album will leave a bland feeling in your mouth. The best place to start with this band would probably be the boxset Classics, an album featuring classical songs in metal fasion. This is essentially why this band is on the archives in the first place.

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Send comments to OpethGuitarist (BETA) | Report this review (#94733)
Posted Monday, October 16, 2006 | Review Permalink
FruMp
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars MEKONG DELTA move further down the progressive thrash trail.

The progressiveness of MEKONG DELTA's music had steadily increased up to this point reaching the climax on their previous album 'Dances of Death' with a 19 minute tech thrash epic and a 10 minute long arrangement of Mussorgsky's 'Night on Bare Mountain', on Kaleidoscope we see another extrapolation of the progressive thrash sound that the band is renowned for.

The instrumentation is a lot more furious on this album and it seems to have a lot more cohesion instrumentally than previous efforts with Uwe Baltrusch busting out some schizophrenic technical riffs and some shredding solos. Peter Haas' drums are the best that the band has ever had, very technical and syncopated, there is never a dull moment or the opportunity for variations or a fill that passes by. Mysteriously though the leader of the band Ralph Hubert who plays bass and produces the band's records is at times noticeably absent from the mixing which is especially odd considering he was the one who probably mixed it, but he does come to the fore with his concert guitar playing which contributes some of the best moments on the album. The vocals don't really impact on the music too much they actually remind me a lot of Geddy Lee now that I think about it and they play more of a supportive role in the music.

Sphere Eclipse is an early highlight on the album, it's a great mid paced technical thrash song with paranoid technological lyrics a la VOIVOD. Dance on a Volcano (yes you read that right, a GENESIS cover from a technical thrash band) came as a great surprise to me, it's a very interesting translation into the thrash metal format and the results are outstanding (although I'm sure a lot of GENESIS fans would be far from impressed), easily one of the best songs on the album. Dreaming is a fantastic classical composition for the acoustic guitar with some great supportive work from the drums. Heartbeat sees us going back to the mid-paced brooding techno-thrash format in fine fashion with a great moody bass intro (one of the few times you really hear it). Shadow walker is another fantastic techno-trhash highlight with a great extended solos, and some blistering drum work, it shares a lot of similarities to early VOIVOD. Sabre-Dance is a translation of Armenian composer Aram Khachaturian's work with some great harmonised guitars, it's not as dynamic or emotive as many of their other classical-thrash hybrids but it's a fantastic rendition none the less.

Kaleidoscope is another gem from MEKONG DELTA's golden period although maybe not as fast and furious as the bands previous outputs the creativity and progressiveness is very strong. Highly recommended to fans of technical thrash like VOIVOD, WATCHTOWER and CORONER.

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Send comments to FruMp (BETA) | Report this review (#145902)
Posted Friday, October 19, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Kaleidoscope sounds better than previous Mekong Delta albums but I don't think I could say it's the best band's release. It will be always after Dances Of Death. Of course it's still excellent music. Innocent proves that Mekong Delta were one of the most original metal bands. It's hard to describe that music. We can say it's techno-thrash, extreme avant-grade metal... but it's still not enough to describe what they play. It's not simple music but still very melodic. Sphere Eclipse has definitely something to do with Yes Heart Of Sunrise but it's still thrash metal piece. Complicated and extremely great;). Dance On A Volcano is Genesis cover and it's played with so much precision that sounds almost the same as original version. Heartbeat, Shadow Walker and Misunderstaning keep the high standards of this release. Sabre Dance is adaptation of famous Armenian 'war dance' classical piece. A little nice tune. I don't really get final song About Science. I'm not saying it's bad. The idea is quite in vein of whole album but not so memorable unfortunatelly. I think that little demonic technical thrash metal presented by the band is totally satisfying to any prog metal fan. This album like previous ones was remixed and remastered but I won't tell you what's the change cos I got first pressing of this record. Solid 4 stars.

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Send comments to LSDisease (BETA) | Report this review (#212291)
Posted Friday, April 24, 2009 | Review Permalink
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.

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Send comments to CCVP (BETA) | Report this review (#334396)
Posted Thursday, November 25, 2010 | Review Permalink

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