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Mekong Delta

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

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Mekong Delta Visions Fugitives album cover
4.25 | 81 ratings | 7 reviews | 38% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1994

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Them (5:05)
2. Imagination (4:47)
- Suite for Group and Orchestra:
3. Introduction (The Danger in Dreams) (2:11)
4. Preludium (Lord Kevin's Lament) (5:01)
5. Allegro (Mhorams Victory) (4:23)
6. Dance (The Corrupt) (2:33)
7. Fugue (Knowledge) (4:23)
8. Postludium (Lena's Daughter) (2:35)
9. The Healer (7:34)
10. Days of Sorrow (5:03)

Total Time: 43:48

Line-up / Musicians

- Doug Lee / vocals
- Uwe Baltrusch / guitar
- Ralph Hubert / bass, Classical guitar, composer & producer
- Peter Haas / drums

Releases information

Artwork: Peter Lohde

CD Bullet Proof Records ‎- IRS 986.993 (1994, Germany)
CD Zardoz Music - 2150058 (2002, Germany) Remastered/remixed by Erik Grösch, Ralph Hubert
CD SPV GmbH ‎- 265312 (2013, Germany) As above

Thanks to riversdancing for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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MEKONG DELTA Visions Fugitives ratings distribution

(81 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(38%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(35%)
Good, but non-essential (19%)
Collectors/fans only (7%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

MEKONG DELTA Visions Fugitives reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by FruMp
5 stars This album is a real unique gem that I recently had the luck of discovering, it combines, thrash, prog and classical music into a very interesting and fairly unexpected amalgam that is deserving of a listen by any prog or metal fan.

It starts off with the first 2 tracks being of a technical thrash nature, and are great within their own right but it really starts to get interesting at track 3 with an acoustic introduction to the classical part of the album (being tracks 4-8). I remember the first time I listened to the album and I was playing a video game and then I realised that the thrash I had been listening to had seemingly turned into classical music with metal in it. We're not talking yngwie malmsteem neo-classical kind of metal either, we're talking about classical music with conventional instruments being used as well, if you aren't paying attention sometimes you don't even notice the distorted guitars or the drum kit and it really does just seem like classical music.

Then the album ends with 2 prog thrash songs which are hard to describe but they have some of the catchiest melodies and riffs I have heard and they are just emotionally deep which is an amazing accomplishment for metal.

This is a highly reccomended album for those into true genre combining music and open minded prog and metal fans - not that prog doesn't require an open mind anyway.

Review by OpethGuitarist
4 stars Their finest release.

Visions Fugitives combines the styles we have come to know from Mekong Delta into an extraordinarily original and insightful release. The thrash styled originals are technical, but not over-teched to the point of any kind of wankery. They remain their integrity and you will find they are quite catchy. The best aspect is the bass line during the chorus of Imagination. This combined with the vocal effects makes for quite a good listening experience.

The middle of the album is composed of classical songs (a Mekong Delta tradition). Track 3 is especially unsettling as a solo piece with very dark themes. This album also deals heavily with war, as a very politically charged album (a la Megadeth) with lines liek "all of our leaders wage with war" and "destiny is knocking". Personally, I feel the message works much better with the vocal effects added because of the hypnotic state it brings you towards.

This has the band's finest original material, as well as great classical compositions. You don't have to be too open-minded to enjoy this one, as it's not near as "thrashy" as some of their earlier material, and combining this with classical renditions makes it one that most music listeners will enjoy.

Review by aapatsos
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Visions' creators

The 6th studio release of the pioneers of tech/prog-thrash metal has been acclaimed as their finest effort and been hailed by the metal world as one of the most innovative and influential albums in heavy music in general. Without a doubt, the questions set in Visions Fugitives seem like unsolvable math problems. Having this cd in my collection for approximately 10 years, I have never appreciated it as much as it deserves.

The album consists of roughly 2 aspects: the tech-thrash and the classical. Prog thrash can be found in the first 2 and last 2 compositions, while a 6-piece suite - of the most obscure classical music you have ever heard in metal - intervenes in the middle of the record.

The prog metal aspect: It does not take more than a few seconds for the listener to comprehend the musical approach followed here; acute and sophisticated power-thrash riffs fill the sound in the opening Them. The (virtually) metal fusion rhythm section completes the puzzle of brilliant musicianship and the 'ghostly', bizarre vocals (ala PSYCHOTIC WALTZ) provide the sense of the characteristic eccentricity of the band. Imagination just confirms the musical excellence with high tempos, constant rhythm bass and guitars in the vein of WATCHTOWER and breaks that resemble to early SIEGES EVEN. The Healer that follows the Suite is a more sophisticated version of the above, with slower tempos and slightly less weird vocals. More clean-guitar breaks and more melodic heavy/power riffs in the refrain show a different perspective of the band. Guitarwork constantly reminds of the Bay Area thrashers (Anthrax, Testament) rather than the German thrash scene. Similarly, Days of Sorrow show the more heavy/power aspect of the band with mid-tempo, ala 80's era FATES WARNING riffs and short acoustic guitar intervals, with all these built among various odd timings and frequent thrash passages.

The classical aspect: The 6-piece Suite for Group and Orchestra is one of the finest examples of classical music played by a metal band. After a beautiful short classical guitar piece, Preludium introduces dark, slow and torturous symphonic passages followed by agonising violin sounds in the background; almost a perfect soundtrack for a horror film. WATCHTOWER meets Mussorgsky in the heaviest track of the album Allegro; the result of mixing thrash metal with sheer classical music has to be heard to be believed... Throughout the whole Suite, the atmosphere and execution of classical passages is deliberately obscure and chaotic; Dance follows a 'creeping' avant-garde tempo that has certainly influenced ARCTURUS, ULVER, THE KOVENANT and other acts of the extreme sound. A - not so conventional - Fugue complies with the above, while (as implied by the track name) involving the most complex structures of the entire Suite. Postludium, contrary to the rest, ends the 6-piece in a relatively cheerful and optimistic manner, with classic guitars played slightly more joyfully this time...

Struggling to find words to describe this extravagant piece of music, I am obliged to recommend it to any fan of extreme prog and classical music. Apart from the eccentric and exceptionally-executed tech-metal tracks, the Suite for Group and Orchestra is just something unconceivable for a typical metal band. Visions Fugitives along with Pictures at an Exhibition have rightfully established MEKONG DELTA in the pioneers of the genre.

Review by Conor Fynes
5 stars 'Visions Fugitives' - Mekong Delta (9/10)

Prior to the release of 'Visions Fugitives', MEKONG DELTA had been no stranger to classical music. Their style of thrashy progressive metal exuded the influence of many a composer, particularly those with a darker sound to their orchestral observations. When it came to actually performing classical music however, the band up to this point had more or less limited themselves to using neoclassical tricks within their metal context, even doing a cover or two. With that in mind, 'Visions Fugitives' and its centerpiece 'Suite For Group And Orchestra' was quite a long time in the making. Although some may go to criticize the band for never going as far as to use a real-life orchestra in its recording, few albums within the 'thrash metal' umbrella have engaged me so much. Throw in a few pieces of cerebral prog metal to flesh things out, and you have a piece of work that would make the old giants of progressive rock proud.

Although 'Suite For Group And Orchestra' is planted right in the middle of the album, there is still a clear division here between the ornate classical 'epic', and the more traditional songs. Like RUSH's '2112', or FATES WARNING's 'No Exit', MEKONG DELTA follow prog metal canon by giving listeners a clear cut of both gears, although every track on 'Visions Fugitives' falls firmly within progressive metal territory. As they have in the past, MEKONG DELTA shares the neighborhood with VOIVOD and WATCHTOWER, in that their brand of thrash favours the cerebral over the speedy riffage of many of their contemporaries. Besides band founder Ralph Hubert, MEKONG DELTA has been a revolving door of musicians since their inception, and 'Visions Fugitives' is no exception. Mark Kaye brings a guitar performance to the band that fits their mission statement like a glove, fusing technicality with the sort of frantic atmosphere MEKONG DELTA had been capitalizing on with prior records. As far as MEKONG DELTA's metal edge is concerned, Douglas Lee's vocals may be the most controversial aspect of the sound. Although the complex vocalizations at the end of 'Them' declare that he is definitely has the ear for singing, his vocals have a tone to them that would fit much more comfortably in prog rock rather than thrash. Fortunately, MEKONG DELTA's metal side is never far ahead of the 'prog', and his performance here works just as well for the context as Wolfgang Borgmann's did on their debut.

The classical aspect of 'Visions Fugitives' is without a doubt the most important part of the album. Though the four progressive metal songs are too worthy of being deemed masterful in their composition, 'Suite For Group And Orchestra' takes up a damned half of the record, and a listener's appreciation of the record will brink largely on their openness to heavy metal being crossbred with classical music so openly. Although classical music has been going steady with metal since the days of YNGWIE MALMSTEEN and even long before, it rarely gets to the point where the two sounds are mixed to the extent where neither is the dominant force. This is the case with 'Suite For Group And Orchestra', an elaborately composed twenty minute piece worthy of the highest commendation. Here, MEKONG DELTA mimic the atmosphere of Romantic-era classical music rather than the erudite complexity of composers before, the result being a piece with plenty of epic melody and variety, not to mention a fair deal of room for the band to incorporate their rock instruments into the fray. The soothing acoustic 'Introduction' leads into an eerie 'Preludium', complete with low horns and eerie bells to make it sound like something out of the haunted mansion in Super Mario Brothers. 'Dance' and 'Fugue' bring the piece into less frightening and more proggy, technical realms, often letting the band play powerfully without getting in the way of the orchestration. As far as the composition itself goes, it's remarkable to hear how many places both emotionally and sonically MEKONG DELTA can take a listener within a twenty minute period.

In terms of flaws, the use of a computerized, or 'fake' orchestra may not hurt the compositions or music, but there is always the feeling throughout listening to 'Visions Fugitives' that things could be even more impressive, had the band had the resources to make a full orchestral rendition of their music a reality. A less-than-excellent production quality carries over to the prog metal songs as well, with the vocals sounding somewhat muffled and less mixed than they rightfully should have been. None of these studio issues are ever enough to take away from the excellence of the band's 'vision' however; it might even be said that the muffled sound and artificial instruments even add to the atmosphere. MEKONG DELTA have long been one of the most engaging acts to come out of German thrash metal, and 'Visions Fugitives' sees them finally realize their dream of bringing classical music to the thrash realm. Even still, it feels as if this project left open room for improvement, but if MEKONG DELTA never tops the majesty they have created here, I won't be one to complain.

Review by Warthur
3 stars Mekong Delta's Visions Fugitives suffers for being dominated by the Suite for Group and Orchestra. Mashing up metal and orchestral work isn't exactly new - Deep Purple Mark I tried it, for instance - and it's an exercise that's often full of pitfalls. Here, the effect is rather ruined by the cheap-sounding synthesised orchestra utilised, and by the fact that the band don't really blend their music and the orchestra's performance in an especially interesting or novel way. Although some may (unaccountably) find this tedious affair to their taste, I have to give the album a rating consistent with my own reaction to it - and keeping in mind the fact that there will be plenty of other listeners who, like me, find this epic to be downright boring.

Latest members reviews

4 stars For me, Them starts things off on the wrong foot, it feels like a song that doesn't know where it belongs, the production makes the voice sounds muffled and the thrash riffs do little for me. Imagination picks things up though offers some really amazing moments, especially around 1:20 which kicks th ... (read more)

Report this review (#1172708) | Posted by MJAben | Thursday, May 8, 2014 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Shame on me for initially giving this great album only four stars. It took me more than 10-15 times to get fully into its mood. Ok let me try one more time. The first two and the last two tracks have probably the most insane vocals ever in prog. The riffs emit a great mesmerizing sensation whi ... (read more)

Report this review (#59700) | Posted by | Thursday, December 8, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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