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  MEKONG DELTA
'Intersections'
(SPV/Steamhammer)
Release Date: 23rd April 2012


Phil Kane

phil kane

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mekong delta intersections


Being about as predictable as a lunatic on acid it could be easily argued that this band was one of, if not the original progressive thrash band. Germany's Mekong Delta seem to have been around since the ice age but is actually a product of the eighties, choosing to exist where the boundaries of Metal's sub-genres blur into insignificance.

Proving a bit of a springboard for Metal talent over the decades, the band has released a handful of albums that were not only critically acclaimed at the time but are now regarded as classics of the genre. Mekong Delta has always relished a challenge, pushing the envelope by not only reinterpreting Mussorgsky's Pictures At An Exhibition as a trio but basing an entire album on a short story by HP Lovecraft (The Music of Erich Zen).

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The present five man incarnation have taken ten tracks chosen by fans from Delta's back catalogue, redone them using up to date studio equipment and techniques and released the results as 'Intersections'. It is all categorized as progressive thrash but the tag does not really do the band, or this compilation justice being as it is heavy as fuck, clever and busy.

It is not a bad effort and is certainly excellent value for money because the effort required to listen must equal that of composing and performing it, giving us an absorbing fifty-three minute listen.

The complexity might prompt the more cynical amongst us to think the genre tag of prog thrash is used to avoid the band being labelled avant garde. The weight of variation can get a bit wearisome at times leaving you wishing that the band would just lighten up a little and sit in a groove, even for a short while. The compilation occasionally runs the risk of degenerating into Metallic jibber jabber but the boys manage to rein it back in when the need arises.

Mekong Delta's previous as a highly original progressive outfit raises a few questions about 'Intersections'. Are Mekong Delta and their fans telling us they possess brains the size of planets? Is theirs an exclusive club just for those who can nod their heads and tap their feet to complex time signatures whilst the rest of us mere mortals are totally flummoxed and therefore excluded?

'Intersections' is certainly cerebral and a bit too clever for its own good. It leaves you wondering if, whilst appearing to pander to the wishes of their fans, Delta have not built in a sly ironic dig at those who dared to ask for these revisions.

On balance, the tracks chosen for reinterpretation would have almost certainly been requested by Mekong Delta's uber-fans; therefore logic dictates that the importance and relevance of the collection to us mere farties must be questionable.

In the end, you'll just have to decide for yourself whether this album panders to or takes the piss out of their fans and as Mekong Delta albums go, 'Intersection' only just passes muster. Conversely, as an accomplished high end techno/prog/thrash album, it is really rather good.

9.4.12


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