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How to write an classical inspired Thrash album - 85%

tomcat_ha, June 13th, 2010

Ahhh Mekong Delta,
Truly one of the greatest thrash metal bands of all time. Their ability to mix classical elements with metal has barely been equaled in any metal sub genre never mind Thrash.
Of course when someone thinks thrash + classical the first thing you should think off is Coroner. These 2 bands are not similar at all. Coroner is much more of a fast technical classical guitar playing inspired band.
While Mekong Delta is not nearly as technical and thus incorporates the entire classical elements much more in a compositional fashion opposed to Coroner where as i said earlier the classical influence is mainly obvious in the guitar playing itself. That said Mekong Delta is still fairly technical.

In my opinion this album is not one of Mekong Delta's Finest. Not because this album is bad, but because of the tremendous quality of the first 4 albums. This album is still very much an enjoyable listen but unlike the previous albums it does have a few rather noticeable issues.
This album consists out of 3 parts. The first a more straightforward in the Mekong Delta sense thrash part of 2 songs. Then a classical part which is divided into 6 parts and then another thrash part with 2 songs. The thrash parts are written in the same style and have the same issue namely: the mix is weird, the guitars are rather loud yet everything else is still clearly audible. This creates a weird unsettling atmosphere that at the same time has its merits as well as sounding uncomfortable at other times. Most likely this was intended to be, yet it for me at times still detracts from the experience. The thrash songs are still very well written and are quality Mekong Delta songs with excellent instrumentation and songwriting. There is not much else to say other than that. The songs flow well and are faster when they have to be and vice versa. It's hard to describe the actual tracks, they are not really fast and the riffs are not really like any other band. The thrash songs have a german thrash feel but that is about it. No breakneck thrashing, no loads of grooving. They are just typical Mekong Delta.

However the biggest issue of this album can be found in Suite for Group and Orchestra which is one larger composition 21 minutes long which consists of a couple shorter tracks. The synths just sound damn cheap in this part. If this was done with actual instrumentation instead of these synths then this problem would have been solved entirely. This is really the only issue of this classical part. It is well written and played in every other aspect. The difference between this part and the thrash songs are that these tracks are classical with some thrash opposed to the other tracks. The production and mix is different as well. The guitar has a different tone and the bass guitar is not as prominent. The Synths being the dominant part of this composition.

For the rest this album is pretty much flawless. Well written riffs, excellent bass guitar playing and good drumming. Well done vocals with interesting vocal melodies, especially on the track Imagination. The album never gets samey. The riffs just never bore, nothing really feels shitty and out of place. No disjointedness despite having an part which is rather different from the rest. This album would be an absolute classic if the quality of the synth, production and mix just were on the same level as the songs themselves. In short a very enjoyable albeit a bit jarring at times listen. No wanking, no redundancy and no sillyness. Just classical inspired prog thrash as it should be written. Now only if the issues could be fixed in a remaster or something and we would have one gargantuan classic.