Mephisto Walz – All These Winding Roads

I first heard Mephisto Walz from the Mick Mercer compilations before finding a copy of their “Early Recordings” album and playing the CD repeatedly until it failed me. Returning with “All These Winding Roads”, the band’s description for this album is “New vocalists, New songs, Unreleased tracks, Old vocalists merged into a New Release.”
The album leads in with a catchy guitar hook for the song “The Lost and Haunted,” a perfect gem of gothic rock that seems over far too soon despite being over four minutes. Ah well, that’s how the best of them areā€¦..seriouly though, I can’t get enough of this one! The next track, “They’ll Never Find You” continues with the gorgeous vocals we’ve come to expect from the band who brought us such beauty as “Alle In Asche” and “No Way Out”.
Fans of the band are no doubt familiar with the lush sound Bari-Bari and cohorts have cultivated over years of releases, and it’s strong here. Perhaps this is best illustrated on the sumptuous “Firefly”, which langours beautifully amidst more rock-oriented sibling tracks. The tracks “Suntanned Satans” and the cover of “Stop In The Name Of Love” add male vocals (backing ones on top in the latter) for an interesting exchange.
One aspect I find endlessly enjoyable is how the songs shift from agressive and driving parts to dramatic pauses with no warning, then delve headlong back into the swirling rush. Witness the interplay in “When no One’s Left To Hear”. It’s another tool in the arsenal, which Mephisto Walz wields expertlyto build tension before letting slip the reins for another verse, rather than keep to the same tempo throughout.
In equal measure, vocal melodies are a strong point across each release in their catalog. The chorus of “Like The Wind” provides the perfect example, immediately becoming an earworm. Combined with drums which go from tribal rhythms to straight-forward rock patterns, the whole album delivers from beginning to end.

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