MEKONG DELTA – Lurking Fear

MEKONG DELTA - Lurking Fear
  • 9/10
    MEKONG DELTA - Lurking Fear - 9/10


Release date: August 31, 2007

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

A new Mekong Delta album has been released. What induces tears of joy in one person may give another goose bumps, because this is the Extreme Progressive Technical Neo-Thrash band that has always divided Metalheads into lovers and haters -– you cannot view the band’s sound with indifference. Extremely technical, bordering on the brink of losing structure and coherence, Mekong Delta’s tracks have always confused fans and critics alike.

Their trademarks include two different kinds of tracks: Thrash songs with a melodic singer who often just seemed to have forgotten how the melody goes to the song he was currently singing, or maybe he had to concentrate too much on the intellectual lyrics; and Metal interpretations of classical pieces, which culminated into the compilation Mekong Delta Classics, featuring well-known compositions like “Sabre Dance“ (taken from Kaleidoscope, 1992), “El Colibri“ (from The Principle Of Doubt, 1989), or “Night On A Bare Mountain“ (taken from Dances Of Death (and Other Walking Stories), 1990), and nothing less than the brilliant complete recording of Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky’s Pictures At An Exhibition — a Metal version.

The Classical side of Mekong Delta is also apparent on Lurking Fear, with three instrumentals called “Allegro Furioso,“ “Allegro,“ and “Moderato.“ The musical abilities of the band and especially main man Ralph Hubert, who is the last remaining member of the original Mekong Delta, are beyond doubt, but these tracks fail to make a big impression as they are nice, but not essential. Uh, although … listen to “Moderato“ and have fun with the musical citations.

The real songs tell a different story, though. First of all, with singer Leo Szpigiel, they have the best vocalist to date, and that means a lot after Doug Lee (Siren), who is one of the most underrated singers in Thrash. But, also the compositions do not stray too far from the original path, and somehow incorporate a bit more of a Ariadne’s thread and make it easier for the listener to follow the band through their journey into sound. And, this journey takes you to an almost unclimbable wall of sound, a mountain of incomprehensibility, where crazy guitar solos embedded in a layer of fast background riffing occur at the most unusual times, and the verse-chorus-verse structure, occasionally audible, is a relief, while the rhythm section stampedes through songs that still reveal new details after dozens of spins. The music opens a door into a new dimension of Metal music, at least to those who don’t know any older Mekong Delta albums — which would be the majority.

Lurking Fear will again divide all of you out there into those who can follow Ralph into his universe of Thrash of the Free Jazzy type, just without the Jazz, and the other half who will probably think that the band will never again be able to recreate the songs recorded on stage.

So, how can this album be reviewed at all? Or even more, how can it be given a score? Right -– it normally cannot: The score is based on the general principle that this is an unscorable masterpiece, and, as all other Mekong Delta albums, deserving nothing less but a 10.0, with the plus of the best singer, and the minus that the compositions on Dances Of Death and Kaleidoscope seem just a tiny little bit superior -– even in the light of the unusually straight and melodic “Ratters,“ but those albums also have a few years’ head start. Then again, would the interpretation of Pictures At An Exhibition then be worthy of a score of 12.0?

Well, whatever… this is either the best album of 2007, or your greatest waste of time, and only you can predict to which group of people you may belong. Go to the Myspace site or the AFM records homepage and listen to a track or two… and then, congratulate MER for making you encounter this extreme Thrash-Prog-Intellectual Classic/Metal hybrid, or curse us for making you listen to this cacophony…


  • Frank Jaeger

    Frank was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio, based out of Bavaria, Germany. He has worked in the games industry for more than 20 years, now on the manufacturing side, before on the publishing end. Before this, he edited and handled the layout for a city mag in northern Germany ... maybe that is why he love being part of anything published. Frank got hooked on Metal at the age of 14 when a friend introduced him to AC/DC. They were listening to The Beatles, Madness, and The Police, and he decided they should move on. Well, they did, Back in Black became Frank's first Metal album, and since Germany is reasonably close to England, they had some small New Waves Of British Heavy Metal washing up on their shores: Tygers Of Pan Tang, Samson, Gillan, Iron Maiden, Saxon, Sweet Savage, Diamond Head, etc. If he had to pick his favorite styles, Prog and Power Metal would be at the top of the list.

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