Mekong Delta: In A Mirror Darkly

A prog metal masterpiece, with orchestral manoeuvres.

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Germany’s undervalued Mekong Delta have been making fascinating, intricate progressive metal for three decades. They’ve always been forced to live in the shadow of others, such as Cynic, but In A Mirror Darkly has the potential to change everything. This is a masterpiece, with a craving for extremity expressed through epic tonalities, as much as the more obvious riffs.

Ralf Hubert and Erik Adam H. Grosch’s guitar virtuosity provides the backbone for compositions such as The Silver In Gods Eye and Janus, allowing the four-piece as a whole to develop a sound that owes as much to classical giants such as Stravinsky and Holst as it does to Voivod, Meshuggah or Tool.

However, their brilliance lies not in the individual tracks – impressive as they are in isolation – but rather in the way everything is woven together into a full-blown symphony.

Whether you listen intently, or just allow the music to wash over you, there’s a magic here that comes from the fact that Mekong Delta have thought about In A Mirror Darkly as being an old school progressive album. It may not be conceptual, but recurring ideas flow through it, and in its vision it is simply breathtaking.

Malcolm Dome

Malcolm Dome had an illustrious and celebrated career which stretched back to working for Record Mirror magazine in the late 70s and Metal Fury in the early 80s before joining Kerrang! at its launch in 1981. His first book, Encyclopedia Metallica, published in 1981, may have been the inspiration for the name of a certain band formed that same year. Dome is also credited with inventing the term "thrash metal" while writing about the Anthrax song Metal Thrashing Mad in 1984. With the launch of Classic Rock magazine in 1998 he became involved with that title, sister magazine Metal Hammer, and was a contributor to Prog magazine since its inception in 2009. He died in 2021