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Mekong Delta - Mekong Delta CD (album) cover


Mekong Delta


Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.03 | 46 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer
3 stars 'Mekong Delta' - Mekong Delta (6/10)

Germany has been a hub for metal since shortly after its inception, but it may be perhaps best known in the context of heavy metal of a very prolific thrash metal scene that dominated the 1980's. Bands like Sodom and Kreator come first to mind, and somewhere amidst this sea of Teutonic fury was Mekong Delta. Taking after the more inventive thrash acts- most notably Voivod and Watchtower- Mekong Delta plays a dissonant and quirky style of thrash on their debut. Although the grand classical fusion they would accomplish in later albums is only hinted at here, 'Mekong Delta' is a remarkably fun album to listen to, with a few songs standing out in particular.

In general, I have rarely ever found myself attracted to the style of thrash metal. The excessive speed and lacking sense of dynamic or variety is usually enough to turn me off to many of the bands, although the more inventive bands have made some very powerful stuff. Voivod was one of those bands, and their influence is evident in Mekong Delta, another thrash band that has really impressed me. The music here upholds the tenants of thrash metal; speed, over-the-top attitude, and aggressive riffs that would get a mosh pit fueled up in any live venue. What tends to put Mekong Delta's debut a step above the legions of other debuts that emerged from this period is simply its willingness to do something a little less predictable and different. There is a quick tease at classical music to introduce the second song 'The Cure', but the majority of the quirkiness comes from the dissonant guitar riffs, and Wolfgang Borgmann's all-over-the-place vocal sensibility. The songs here rarely let up their speed or traverse much of an emotional range, but the album is smart enough to end before the music stops being fun and starts getting tiresome.

'Without Honour' opens this album very nicely, with an intensity that most resembles Metallica's 'Fight Fire With Fire'. 'The Cure' is a standout track defined by Borgmann's wailing falsetto. 'The Hut Of Baba Yaga' is a more irregular track, an eerie and atmospheric cover of the Russian composer Mussorgsky. There are quite a few more straightforward tracks on the album that don't do much for me, but 'Kill The Enemy' takes the unrelenting energy and channels it into something erratic, with the falsettos chiming in and guitars hinting at avant- classical chord structures. The high points on this album are some of the strongest German thrash metal numbers of the time, but 'Mekong Delta' is dragged down by songs like 'Nightmare Patrol' or 'Shiva's Return'; songs that while enjoyable and fun to listen to, don't offer much lasting impact or impression.

Mekong Delta may have been young and naive at this point, but they created a very good album on their first try. Things would get better still with their second album, where they would go on to address some of the problematic variety issues that this album suffers from. 'Mekong Delta' does not see this band meeting the level of the heavyweights, but the potential is here.

Conor Fynes | 3/5 |


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