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Mekong Delta

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

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Mekong Delta Dances Of Death (And Other Walking Shadows) album cover
3.78 | 59 ratings | 6 reviews | 39% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1990

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Dances of Death - Introduction (1:11)
2. Dances of Death - Eruption (1:34)
3. Dances of Death - Beyond the Gates (4:52)
4. Dances of Death - Outburst (1:19)
5. Dances of Death - Days of Betrayal (4:14)
6. Dances of Death - Restless (0:53)
7. Dances of Death - Sanctuary (3:00)
8. Dances of Death - Finale (2:06)
9. Transgressor (3:17)
10. True Believers (5:25)
11. Night on a Bare Mountain (10:23)

Total Time: 38:20

Line-up / Musicians

- Doug Lee / vocals
- Uwe Baltrusch (Mark Kaye) / guitar
- Ralph Hubert (aka Björn Eklund) / bass, Classical guitar, composer & producer
- Jörg Michael (Gordon Perkins) / drums

Releases information

Artwork: Joachim Luetke

LP Aaarrg Records ‎- ARG 23/034-1 (1990, Germany)
LP Aaarrg Records ‎- 2017 - 02V (2017, Germany)

CD Aaarrg Records ‎- ARG 23/034-2 (1990, Germany)
CD Zardoz Music ‎- 2150054 (2002, Germany) Remastered/remixed
CD Steamhammer ‎- 265292 CD (2013, Germany) As above

Thanks to riversdancing for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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MEKONG DELTA Dances Of Death (And Other Walking Shadows) ratings distribution

(59 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(39%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(31%)
Good, but non-essential (20%)
Collectors/fans only (7%)
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)

MEKONG DELTA Dances Of Death (And Other Walking Shadows) reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by OpethGuitarist
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.

Review by FruMp
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.

Review by CCVP
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.

Latest members reviews

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#483358) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Saturday, July 16, 2011 | Review Permanlink

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 d ... (read more)

Report this review (#198513) | Posted by LSDisease | Monday, January 12, 2009 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#43460) | Posted by Aqobh | Friday, August 19, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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