MEKONG DELTA
Progressive Metal / Thrash Metal • Germany

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Mekong Delta is a thrash metal band from Germany. Taking their name from the geographic location of a massive massacre that took place during the Vietnam war, when about 4 million civilians were killed by US military forces. The band pioneered the genre that is known as progressive thrash metal today, implementing strong melodic elements and classical concepts (usually based on Modest Mussorgsky's pieces) into their speed thrash metal sound, which became most prominent on their "Kaleidoscope" album. It is clear that the band is the key influence on modern technical progressive metal bands like Spiral Architect. Their newest album, titled "Lurking Fear", was released on 24.08.2007 after ten years of silence.

When the band first started, they were surrounded by a cloud of mystery, as all of the band members were under contracts with other bands, and thus had to use pseudonyms to avoid any legal problems.

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Principle of DoubtPrinciple of Doubt
Import
Membran/Ambitions 2006
Audio CD$6.66
$21.99 (used)
Principle of DoubtPrinciple of Doubt
Import
Steamhammer Europe 2013
Audio CD$14.90
$56.60 (used)
In A Mirror DarklyIn A Mirror Darkly
Steamhammer / SPV 2014
Audio CD$15.98
Dances of Death ( And Other Walking Shadows )Dances of Death ( And Other Walking Shadows )
Zardoz Media UGh 2012
Audio CD$10.98
Lurking Fear [Vinyl]Lurking Fear [Vinyl]
Import
Afm Records Germany 2009
Vinyl$21.15
IntersectionsIntersections
Steamhammer Us 2012
Audio CD$7.68
$5.97 (used)
Pictures At an Exhibition / Group & OrchestraPictures At an Exhibition / Group & Orchestra
Import
Zardoz Media UGh 2012
Audio CD$10.98
$55.99 (used)
The Music of Erich ZannThe Music of Erich Zann
Zardoz Media UGh 2009
Audio CD$12.98
Wanderer At the Edge of TimeWanderer At the Edge of Time
Zardoz Media UGh / Aaarrg Records 2010_1D 2012
Audio CD$10.98
Live at an ExhibitionLive at an Exhibition
Import
Import [Generic] 2004
Audio CD$2.99
$2.89 (used)
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MEKONG DELTA Discography

MEKONG DELTA albums / top albums

.. Album Cover 3.27 | 4 ratings
Mekong Delta
Thrash Metal 1987
.. Album Cover 3.04 | 4 ratings
The Music of Erich Zann
Progressive Metal 1988
.. Album Cover 4.27 | 5 ratings
The Principle of Doubt
Progressive Metal 1989
.. Album Cover 4.41 | 4 ratings
Dances of Death (And Other Walking Shadows)
Progressive Metal 1990
.. Album Cover 3.75 | 2 ratings
Kaleidoscope
Progressive Metal 1992
.. Album Cover 3.51 | 8 ratings
Visions Fugitives
Progressive Metal 1994
.. Album Cover 3.75 | 2 ratings
Pictures at an Exhibition
Progressive Metal 1996
.. Album Cover 4.41 | 4 ratings
Lurking Fear
Progressive Metal 2007
.. Album Cover 3.94 | 8 ratings
Wanderer on the Edge of Time
Progressive Metal 2010
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
In a Mirror Darkly
Progressive Metal 2014

MEKONG DELTA EPs & splits

.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Gnome
Thrash Metal 1988
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Dance On A Volcano
Progressive Metal 1993

MEKONG DELTA live albums

.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Live at an Exhibition
Progressive Metal 1991

MEKONG DELTA demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

MEKONG DELTA boxset & compilations

.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Classics
Progressive Metal 1993
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Principle of Doubt: Ambitions
Progressive Metal 2005
.. Album Cover 4.50 | 1 ratings
Intersections
Progressive Metal 2012

MEKONG DELTA singles (1)

.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Toccata
Progressive Metal 1989

MEKONG DELTA movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Live in Frankfurt 1991
Progressive Metal 2007

MEKONG DELTA Reviews

MEKONG DELTA Visions Fugitives

Album · 1994 · Progressive Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Warthur
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.

MEKONG DELTA Visions Fugitives

Album · 1994 · Progressive Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Conor Fynes
'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.

MEKONG DELTA Mekong Delta

Album · 1987 · Thrash Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
UMUR
"Mekong Delta" is the self-titled debut full-length studio album by German thrash/progressive metal act Mekong Delta. My introduction to Mekong Delta was through their 2nd album "The Music of Erich Zann (1988)" which is an album I´ve owned for many years. It´s been a dust collector though and it´s only recently that I´ve gotten the curiosity back to seek out the rest of Mekong Delta´s discography.

This debut album by the band has a rather funny history as all musicians have other more international and not German sounding names even though they are all German citizens. This was alledgedly an attempt to disguise the true identities of the musicians involved. The album features many great musicians from the German metal scene though and Mekong Delta have nothing to be ashamed of with this release.

Behind some of the international sounding names we find musicians like drummer Jörg Michael (ex-Rage and later of Stratovarius fame), bassist and main-man behind the band Ralph Hubert (owner of record label Aaarrg and sound engineer for bands such as Warlock, Steeler and Living Death), and a couple of other ex-Rage musicians.

The music is a mix of traditional heavy metal and thrash metal all played in (for the time) great technical style. Strongly accented singing mared many German metal albums in the period but lead vocalist Wolfgang Borgmann does not contribute to that statistic. He is an excellent vocalist with no accents at all. Imagine Chris Cornell (Soundgarden) singing in more traditional heavy metal style and you´re just about there. A great asset to the band. The original LP version included a track called "Black Sabbath" which is a tribute to that band and features Black Sabbath song titles as lyrics. Unfortunately that song is for unknown reasons not included on the remastered Zardoz music CD version which includes the three songs "Toccata", "Black Betty" and "Interludium II" from the "Toccata (1989)" single instead. There are some great metal tracks on the album and I can´t help to bang my head whenever I listen to songs like "Back Home (in Hell)" and "The Cure". Progressive rock fans might find it interesting that Mekong Delta covers Mussorgsky´s "The Hut of Baba Yaga" which another famous progressive band also had tried their luck with about sixteen years earlier (that would of course be Emerson, Lake and Palmer).

The musicianship is excellent and in addition to the powerful vocal performance by Wolfgang Borgmann I also have to mention Jörg Michael´s drumming. He is such a precise and powerful drummer and already back then he sounded so much better than most other drummers on the scene.

The production is pretty good considering that most metal productions from 1987 sounded hollow and thin.

I´m really happy about this album but it has aged a bit and remains firmly stuck in the eighties. For fans of eighties heavy metal/ thrash metal this is a very worthy effort though and it fully deserves 3.5 stars from me.

MEKONG DELTA Mekong Delta

Album · 1987 · Thrash Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Conor Fynes
'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 a band called 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.

MEKONG DELTA The Music of Erich Zann

Album · 1988 · Progressive Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Conor Fynes
'The Music Of Erich Zann' - Mekong Delta (6/10)

After a positive experience with Mekong Delta's debut, I was hungry for more of their material. Taking the name of one of H.P Lovecraft's better known tales, 'The Music Of Erich Zann' is the second album by these German thrashers, and despite a short time between the release of the two albums, there has been some significant development regarding the sound of the band. While the overall style of the band has improved however, it lacks the same naive charm that first attracted me to the debut. This has resulted in a sophomore that I more or less regard on equal grounds with the first.

From the first minute of music here onward, Mekong Delta are certainly not the band that was making straightforward, slightly offbeat thrash on their self-titled. Here, they have evolved into a much more technical and classically-leaning act. The improvements are most noticeable in the guitar riffs here. Instead of an early Voivod-esque style of slightly dissonant riffing, Mekong Delta turn their sights on neoclassical leads, harmonies, and complex instrumental passages. Also notable to the second wave of Mekong Delta is the most greater influence of classical music, particularly an instrumental segment here that contrasts guitars with eerie violins, creating a very modern piece of metal-fused classical music. The symphonic thing has been done countless times in metal, but its rare to hear it compliment the existing mood that the metal would have created on its own.

The downside of 'The Music Of Erich Zann' are the vocals. On the self-titled debut, I loved Wolfgang Borgmann's really energetic delivery. It felt really unpredictable, with him sometimes going for a melodic approach, or a thrashy rasp, or even a falsetto wail that would send chills down my spine. This time around, these things are still there, but they feel arranged in a much less effective way. Borgmann's voice also feels much weaker, especially with the falsettos, which come off as flat and borderline irritating. The rest of the music here is generally more intelligent and stronger than what Mekong Delta was doing on the debut, but this drags the band back down a bit. Largely due to the vocals as well, there aren't any songs that got into my head here, whereas on the debut, I found myself remembering some of the best moments of that album for days to come.

'The Music Of Erich Zann' is certainly an improvement overall for Mekong Delta, although I cannot call it a resounding success in every respect. In their transit to a more serious, and progressive style of thrash music, they seem to have lost some of their raw magic. However, this band's sophomore is a much more promising work, and hopefully on subsequent albums, they will take these intriguing new developments and refine them.

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Colt wrote:
1 year ago
Line up updated in Bio.
qlacs wrote:
1438 days ago
Hey, this is not the current line-up that is mentioned above! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mekong_Delta_%28band%29

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