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Mekong Delta - Tales of a Future Past Award winner

Mekong Delta
Tales of a Future Past
by Kevin Lewis at 07 July 2020, 3:02 PM

MEKONG DELTA is a Thrash Metal band formed in 1985 Germany. After a 12-year run which saw seven albums released, the band went on hiatus. Reformed in the early 2000’s, they have released five more albums, the latest being “Tales Of A Future Past”, issues May 8, 2020 on Butler Records.

Listening to this new beast of a record, I hear the Thrash, but there is also a very prominent Progressive Metal sound, with the signature tempo changes of some of the greats, such as DREAM THEATER, OPETH and AYREON. One of the first things I noticed when looking at the track listing is the name Landscape is there four times. Now I’m getting excited. I love albums that have a theme to them and I’m anticipating this one will be much the same. I love when I can get excited about something before the experience. It adds to the overall enjoyment, in my opinion.

The four parts of “Landscape” (Into The Void/Waste Land/Inharent/Pleasant Ground) Are not the same song over and over. Instead, you get four parts that start and wrap the disc beautifully with a theme throughout, and similarities, but not copies. “Landscape 1 – Into The Void” starts with some eerie keyboards and percussion, then lunges headlong into “Mental Entropy”, a song about how hope disappears when people forget how to think for themselves. If no one stands up for the truth, the truth dies. With an underlying theme of forgetting history, this album tells us what is going to happen when we let this occur. Exploiting the death of truth is “A Colony Of Liar Men”. With lyrics like “An idiot to the left of me/A moron to the right/Both they try convincing me”, it sounds exactly like the climate in much of the political world right now. Both sides are presenting you with pretty lies, but neither are telling the truth. Are they even capable of speaking without lying?

Starting with an ominous string arrangement prior to the main rhythm (which includes horns for a much bigger sound), :Landscape 2 – Waste Land” sets the stage for “Mindeater” and “The Hollow Men”, continuing the trend of songs with a veiled reference to the thoughtless people being duped into believing their side is right and they must fight for their right to be right and to impose their right onto the wrong side. No compromise for the betterment of all.

Landscape 3 - Inharent“ leads into the last section of this instructive disc. It serves as the prelude for “When All Hope Is Gone” and “A Farewell To Eternity”, tales of what we can expect if we do not get back onto the correct path. Without hope, desperate people will do desperate things, all in the name of what they are told is right, not what they grew up believing was right. We have been convinced the re is only one way and those who disagree must be crushed. After all this chaos runs us into the great void that is eternity, we find the final paradise, “Landscape 4 – Pleasant Ground”.

Musically, this is a fantastic album. I feel like the production value is just a little bit off, the sound could be a little crisper, but that is about the only thing I hear wrong with this album. After a week of listening to this almost constantly in different ways (full album, instrumentals only, lyric songs only), this is a clear top 10 album of 2020 for me. Alex Landenburg is a spectacular drummer. Whether he is lurking under the guitars with Ralph Hubert on bass, putting down a solid base for the vocals, or when he is pounding along, keeping up with the guitars as they fly along at warp speed, he is always present and right on time. Eric and Peter feed off each other like they can intuitively sense what the other is going to do next. Maybe it’s a lot of practice, maybe it’s a psychic connection… maybe it’s both. Either way, the music lays the foundation for the vocal prowess heard from Martin LeMar. This is a well-rounded band that shows they have 35 years of experience.

Songwriting:  10
Originality: 9
Memorability: 10
Production: 9

5 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Landscape 1 – Into the Void
2. Mental Entropy
3. A Colony Of Liar Men
4. Landscape 2 – Waste Land
5. Mindeater
6. The Hollow Men
7. Landscape 3 - Inharent
8. When All Hope Is Gone
9. A Farewell To Eternity
10. Landscape 4 – Pleasant Ground 
Lineup:
Martin LeMar - Vocals
Alex Landenburg - Drums
Ralph Hubert - Bass
Erik Adam H. Grösch - Guitars
Peter Lake - Guitars
Record Label: Butler Records
     


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