Twisty and Turny

How can a band like this have been around since 1985 and I've never heard of them? More to the point how come I've had two cd's this week featuring the most technical, unrelenting, riff torturing metal I've heard for years. The first one was 'Winds' there's a review on the site somewhere if you look.

From reading the press release Mekong have gone through a fair few line up changes over the years, they disappeared altogether for a while and have now re emerged with a whole new line up to put together the most thrilling and interesting album any technical prog metal fan could wish for.

If you're really old like me you may remember 'Yes' from the seventies, they're still around now but it's the seventies I'm interested in here because every now and again Yes would have a manic moment during a long song like 'Gates of delirium' off the 'Relayer' album. Well this is like one of those manic moments but stretched out for fifty minutes.

The drummer is Uli Kusch who did such sterling work for Helloween, however listening to this he was held back a bit with Helloween as he can play the most complicated stuff you've ever heard, all the musicianship is on another level and like the afore mentioned 'Winds' is best appreciated through headphones with your eyes shut, preferably whilst lying on the floor.

It's a charging, twisting affair, full of stabs and musical trickery to the point of wearing you out. I can imagine some people giving up after a few tracks, leaving it for a while and then carrying on when they've had a rest, it can be sensory overload trying to take it all in and it requires several listens to pick up on the various nuances.

The only sad thing about this opus is the recording; the production has left the sound levels quite low for some obscure reason, I find it odd that musicians of this calibre would let anything out that was less than perfect when they've obviously sweat blood to record the thing in the first place. Luckily it all seems to be there you just have to compensate by turning it up higher than you normally would. Play it on eleven and it comes good.

So, for the second time in as many days I can recommend an album that will twist your brain out through your ears by the sheer power of its complexity so long as you are willing to put in some effort to listen to the thing properly, if you do you will be amply rewarded.