A good thirty years since their inception, and German Prog Thrashers Mekong Delta continue to be an unknown entity for quite a few Metalheads out there – a state of affairs that surprises and annoys me in equal terms.
While fans like myself are left annoyed by this inconceivable injustice, mastermind and founding member Ralph Hubert continues undeterred to bridge the gap between the two styles of music he loves best: classical and Metal, and in the process has created another album of outstanding vision and immense quality, entitled “In A Mirror Darkly” – the band’s tenth to date.
This historic band has been the breeding ground of many outstanding musicians over the years, however I am sure that many fans will agree with me in saying that it’s since 2008, the year that saw Martin LeMar (vocals), Erik Adam H.Grosch (guitars) and Benedikt Zimniak (guitars) together, that the quintet began to truly flourish.
Consisting of seven compositions which combine top class melodies with highly intricate rhythmical passages, “In A Mirror Darkly” is testament not only to the individual skills of each of the band’s members involved, but also of the great chemistry and collective spirit which characterises Mekong Delta era 2014.
Opening track “Introduction + Ouverture” combines acoustic guitar harmonies with highly intricate Metal riffs and prepares the ground perfectly for the musical onslaught that’s to take place in the remaining thirty seven minutes of the album.
Martin LeMar leads the proceedings almost instantaneously in “The Armageddon Machine” – a composition filled with intelligent lead guitar melodies, which shows how gelled the band’s rhythm section of Hubert/Landenburg really is.
The atmospheric follow up “The Silver In Gods Eye” slows the album’s pace significantly, leaving enough space for LeMar to prove his musical pedigree, while “Janus” offers a truly bombastic riff and harmonic/melodic guitar passages of sheer theatrical value, reminiscent of those employed by the mighty Savatage during their prime.
The six minute instrumental “Inside The Outside Of The Inside” catches the band’s rhythm section at their absolute best, while the Jazz infused Thrash monster “Hindsight Bias” ought to inspire scores of young musicians to practice harder their respective instruments.
How does one conclude an album as impressive as this one? With another seven minutes of flamboyant solos, technically demanding passages and dynamic vocals – the very formula responsible behind the creation of the glorious “Mutant Messiah”.
Thirty years ago bands like Mekong Delta did not stand any chance of making their music available to the masses as the music industry was controlled by a handful of enterprising individuals whose wallets were the driving force behind all decisions.
Now that the power is finally in the hands of music fans rather than PR departments of multinational companies, now it is finally time to address the previously mentioned injustice and embrace a band whose quality and vision are second to none.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Mekong Delta – a band which just happened to release one of the best albums so far! *****