09 Apr Episode 29 – Walking Shadows: Mekong Delta 1987-1994
Under the guidance of bassist Ralf Hubert, Mekong Delta’s initial phase featured a revolving door lineup of Euro-metal luminaries. Adopting pseudonyms and lurking unseen in shadows, Mekong plied a brand of progressive metal that drew inspiration from composers such as Modest Mussorgsky, Aram Khachaturian and Alberto Ginastera, to name just a few. Never lacking in speed and intensity, Mekong Delta were the technical, antithetical other side of the coin to Germany’s more caustic thrash blitzkrieg.
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MEKONG DELTA PSEUDONYMS/MEMBERS, 1987-1994:
Ralf Hubert aka Björn Eklund – bass. Leader/writer for all Mekong Delta albums.
Peter “Peavy” Wagner aka Jake Jenkins – vocals/bass. Didn’t play on an album, left early but remained as lyricist for first two albums. Best known for his role as leader of long-running German band Rage.
Jochen Schröder – guitar. Earliest lineup, left early, not on an album. Early member of Rage. No pseudonym.
Wolfgang Borgmann aka Keil – vocals, first three albums
Frank Fricke aka Rolf Stein – guitar, first three albums. Also member of Living Death.
Reiner Kelch aka Vincent St. John – guitar, first two albums. Also member of Living Death.
Jorg Michael aka Gordon Perkins – drums, first four albums. Also member of Rage, later Running Wild, Grave Digger and Stratovarius, among many others.
Uwe Baltrusch aka Marc Kaye – guitar, third album to Visions Fugitives. No other major credits, although he did sub for Frank Blackfire on Sodom’s Agent Orange era touring.
Doug Lee (no pseudonym) – vocals. American singer, comes in on 4th album, and on next two. From Florida band Siren, who were on Aaarg Records at some point, hence the connection.
Peter Haas (no pseudonym) – drums, Kaleidoscope and Visions Fugitives. Perhaps the most interesting resume of any Mekong member: he was also in Babylon Sad, Poltergeist, Calhoun Conquer, Clockwork (mid ‘90s band of Coroner’s Tommy T. Baron), the Buddy Lackey solo album, and Krokus.
honorary mention: Uli Kusch aka Patrick Duval. Drums on 1988 EP The Gnome (title track) and on 2007 album Lurking Fear. Best known for his work in Helloween, Gamma Ray, Masterplan and Holy Moses.
COMPOSERS and BANDS covered by MEKONG DELTA 1987-1994:
Modest Mussorgsky (19th Century Russian composer): “The Hut of Baba Yaga,” “Night on a Bare Mountain,” “Pictures at an Exhibition”
Marius Constant (20th Century Romanian/French composer/conductor): “Twilight Zone”
Julio Sagreras (late 19th Century, early 20th Century Argentinian guitarist/composer): “El Colibri”
Bernard Herrmann (20th Century American composer): “Interludium” (two versions/parts)
Lead Belly (20th Century American folk/blues musician): “Black Betty”
Alberto Ginastera (20th Century Argentinian composer): “Tocatta” (fourth movement of Piano Concerto No. 1, Op. 28)
Genesis (20th Century English progressive rock band): “Dance on a Volcano”
Aram Khachaturian (20th Century Soviet Armenian composer/conductor): “Sabre Dance”
Christopher Young (20th Century American Composer): “Dance” (part 4 of Hubert’s larger original piece, “Suite for Group & Orchestra”
Music cited, in order of appearance:
“The Hut of Baba Yaga” (Mekong Delta, 1987)
“Nightmare Patrol” (Mekong Delta, 1987)
“Shiva’s Return” (Mekong Delta, 1987)
“Age of Agony” (The Music of Erich Zann, 1988)
“Interludium (Begging for Mercy)” (The Music of Erich Zann, 1988)
“Ever Since Time Began” (The Principle of Doubt, 1989)
“Curse of Reality” (The Principle of Doubt, 1989)
“El Colibri” (The Principle of Doubt, 1989)
“Dances of Death” (two passages) (Dances of Death…and Other Walking Shadows, 1990)
“Night on a Bare Mountain” (Dances of Death…and Other Walking Shadows, 1990)
“Sphere Eclipse” (Kaleidoscope, 1992)
“Heartbeat” (Kaleidoscope, 1992)
“About Science” (Kaleidoscope, 1992)
“Suite For Group & Orchestra – Allegro” (Visions Fugitives, 1994)
“The Healer” (Visions Fugitives, 1994)
Episode 30 preview: Deathrow, “The Deathwish” (Deception Ignored, 1988)
We also inserted a morsel of “Black Sabbath,” from the 1987 debut
Radical Research is a conversation about the inner- and outer-reaches of rock and metal music. This podcast is conceived and conducted by Jeff Wagner and Hunter Ginn. Though we consume music in a variety of ways, we give particular privilege to the immersive, full-album listening experience. Likewise, we believe that tangible music formats help provide the richest, most rewarding immersions and that music, artwork, and song titles cooperate to produce a singular effect on the listener. Great music is worth more than we ever pay for it.
This is Radical Research Podcast episode 29