Sunday, September 26, 2010

Mekong Delta - The music of Erich Zann

Steal the title from a book? Unimaginative!
"The Music of Erich Zann" is a short story by H. P. Lovecraft. Synopsis: A university student is forced, by his lack of funds, to take the only lodging he can afford. In a strange part of the city he had never seen before, on a street named "Rue d'Auseil", he finds an apartment in an almost empty building. One of the few other tenants is an old German man named Erich Zann. The old man is mute and plays the viol with a local orchestra. He lives on the top floor and when alone at night, plays strange melodies never heard before. Over time, the student gains Zann's trust, and eventually learns of his secret, that the old man has discovered melodies and rhythms of sound of an almost otherworldly nature. Zann plays these sounds to keep back unknown and unseen creatures from Zann's window, which is said to look out into a black abyss, most likely another dimension." (wikipedia)

Melodies and rhythms of sound of an almost otherworldly nature. This is the bar that the long self-obscuring Mekong delta set for themselves when writing their second album: The music of Erich Zann. To a great extent they have succeeded. There are quite a few progressive and strange rhythms scattered around the album. Some time signatures reach into the completely strange and inaccessible, such as the 11/8 part on "prophecy" (i think it is 11/8, feel free to correct me), and melodies of "extraordinary" qualities are present.

Most of the album is fast paced thrash, with exceptions, such as the heavy, chugging, and experimental "I, king will come", the orchestral "Interludium (begging for mercy)", the epilogue track, and various intros around the album.

The guitar-work is phenomenal, with intense thrashing riffs everywhere. I would guess that the 10 songs of this album have at least 75 unique riffs, of which barely any fails to inspire headbanging. That is not to say that they are simple, in fact the contrary is true. most of the riffs are technical and varied.
The leads are even better. while there are not lead melodies everywhere, the ones that are there are highly catchy, and memorable. Two of them strike me as highly modal, or even atonal, but this somehow suit the music. The sourness of certain leads are such a strong element of the moodscape of the songs, that you wonder how the hell you pull something like that off.
Solos here are generally of high quality, but they lack some of the direction and sense of purpose that i tend to to favor when analyzing solos. This is of course a matter of taste, and should not put anyone of from checking them out.

The vocal work is probably a deal breaker for quite a few out there. either you like it or you hate it. Objectively good things about it is the degree of variation. From a strangled rasp on parts of "I, King will come" to a falsetto like vail, to a more classical thrashy shout. Things that might offset a listener is how the vocal melodies counterpoint the guitars by being completely out of key, on purpose. The effect is a inaccessible sound, that takes some getting used to, but soon, in my ears make for a strong mood-shaper.

The bass work is quite good, and shines on a couple of tracks, like "Confession of Madness" where unique lines roll out with a punchy sound (boosted mids) with a very decent solo to top it off.

The drums are of excellent quality, and with intense markings and fills all over the place, and a varied approach to the lines, only good things can be said of the drummer on this album.

Standout tracks include the thrashers: True Lies, and Confession of madness, the catchy "memories of tomorrow" and the slow and heavy "I, King will come"

The highly technical riffing, great drumming, experimental vocals, decent bass lines, and the extremely intricate songwriting earn this album another 9/10.


The music of erich zann (4shared)
Buy it from Amazon

I decided to add 2 videos to every review from now on, as it gives a better understanding of what kind of music it is.


19 comments:

  1. It's not my type either, but it's okay :)

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  2. Wow, what a great idea for an album. Jesus.. So creative D:

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  3. Very interesting. Thanks for posting.

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  4. these are awesome dude.. seriously...

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  5. Now this is more like it. Awesome album art, too.

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  6. i like em gonna look for there stuff now , thanks

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  7. not really my cup of tea but i can listen to it. also love the album artwork

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