There was a discussion at MetalTalk Towers recently about the lack of bands who include instrumentals on albums these days. What once was prevelant now seems to be redundant.
Then lo and behold, when I listened to this new album from German progressive/thrash Metal band Mekong Delta, there where are not one but three instrumentals on it and these couldn't be any more different from each other.
'Introduction' is the first of the instrumentals, and it's a really well performed track with some classical acoustic number from bass player Ralf Hubert and coming in just over two minutes but this really shouldn't be described as an introduction per se, because it's far more than that – it's a fantastic solo performance and a real indicator of Hubert's talent.
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'Overture' is the second instrumental in succession and reminds me of Rush where their similarly named track heralds the beginning of the classic '2112'. What differs between this track and 'Introduction' is simply that 'Overture' has an electric guitar track from Adam H Grösch along with some light drum work supplied by Alexander Landenburg which adds a little extra sparkle to the track.
The final instrumental track on the album is 'Inside The Outside Of The Inside', and to my mind, this is the best of the instrumentals here because it's the most inventive of the three. A solid guitar riff and militaristic drumming drives the song onwards as it builds and builds with Gröschs' guitar track taking centre stage before the symphonic gong signals its completion. I thought that this track was so good, in fact, that it's become the current ring tone on my mobile phone.
The band have another five tracks with vocals on them and amongst the best here is 'Janus' – named after the god of beginnings and transitions in ancient Roman religion and myth, just to save you looking that up – which is a fast track with Landenburg using his double bass drums to great effect on the intro.
As with many tracks on the album, the band don't just dive straight in - you have to negotiate the intro before the full power of the track becomes apparent. This may not be the fastest Thrash song perhaps but it still chugs along at a fair pace. The guitar solo is slow and measured which gives you time to actually appreciate what Grösch is actually doing as opposed to a flurry of notes passing you by at speed.
Coming in at just over six and a half minutes this is certainly one of the highlights of the album and the band make sure that every second counts.
Closing track 'Mutant Messiah' is another great song too. It's a tour de force and one that I really hope the band adds into their live set. Vocalist Martin LeMar sounds not unlike ex-Iron Maiden/Wolfsbane singer Blaze Bayley at times in this unashamedly Heavy Metal track as he puts on one his best vocal performances of the whole album.
If I was going to recommend a Mekong Delta track to someone who hasn't heard them before then this would certainly be the one and it's an ideal finish to a great album.
'In A Mirror Darkly' Track list:
The Armageddon Machine
The Sliver In God's Eye
Inside The Outside Of The Inside
Mekong Delta are:
Martin LeMar – Vocals
Erik Adam H. Grösch – Guitars
Ralf Hubert – Bass Guitar
Alexander Landenburg – Drums
Mekong Delta Online:
Official Website: http://www.mekongdelta.eu