Mezzamorphis, Delirious?' 1999 release, is their third studio album and second offering on the Sparrow label (a division of Virgin records). Like all Delirious? albums, this one is overtly religious, but it deviates from the well-mined praise and worship formula in favor of more subtle, concept-oriented arrangements.

Delirious?' music has often been compared to U2's, due to its soaring vocals, ever-present hooks, and chiming guitars. If Delirious? is indeed Christian rock's answer to U2, then Mezzamorphis is their Achtung Baby. Its electronic textures, abrasive chord structures, and thematic storytelling contrast greatly with their previous albums. It is also largely ignored (both by longtime Delirious? fans and by D? themselves on their Deeper: The D:finitive Worship Experience compilation) because it feels less genuine and more like a rock album (perish the thought).

This sort of closed-mindedness is irritating, not only because it places the artist in a box and possibly deprives the listener of some truly great music, but also because Delirious? have not allowed success and ambition to drown out their spirituality as some would claim. True, Mezzamorphis is a concept album, but the concept is that of seeking Heaven wherever it may be found, whether you have to fight for it (as on "Heaven" and "Bliss"), defend it to someone who's given up on it (as on "It's OK"), or simply worship its King and be willing to follow Him (as on "Follow" and "Kiss Your Feet"). It's the sound of a believer whose idealism has grown a little less bright during his contact with the murkier side of our world, the sound of desperation clinging to hope by its bitten, ragged fingernails.

As such, it's not that far removed from U2's masterpiece, Achtung Baby. The primary difference between the two is that Achtung Baby explores more of the seamy underbelly of things, while Mezzamorphis deals with those who have been scarred by such forays into Nighttown.

How well you appreciate this theme depends on which version of the album you have. At the present time, there are three different releases, each with slightly different running orders. There is the original UK release, the first North American release on Sparrow records, and then the later Virgin label release. The Virgin release adds a remake of the biggest single from King of Fools to the album proper, bumps the standout track "Bliss" back four places for effect, and removes the flawless album closer "Kiss Your Feet" in an effort to make Mezzamorphis more appealing to the secular pop charts. This is unfortunate.

Still, it's a damn fine album (if they're allowed one swear word on this album, as on "Its OK", I'm allowed one in the review, at least), and worthy of a higher place in the D? canon than it usually receives.


    UK-only Furious? Records release tracklist:
    1. Mezzanine Floor
    2. Heaven
    3. Follow
    4. Bliss
    5. Its OK
    6. Metamorphis
    7. See The Star
    8. Gravity
    9. Beautiful Sun
    10. Love Falls Down
    11. Blindfold
    12. Kiss Your Feet

    Sparrow Records release tracklist:
    1. Mezzanine Floor
    2. Heaven
    3. Follow
    4. Bliss
    5. Its OK
    6. Metamorphis
    7. See The Star
    8. Gravity
    9. Beautiful Sun
    10. Love Falls Down
    11. Blindfold
    12. Kiss Your Feet
    13. Jesus Blood*
    14. Deeper 99*
      * bonus tracks

    Virgin Records release tracklist:
    1. Mezzanine Floor
    2. Deeper 99
    3. Heaven
    4. Follow
    5. Its OK
    6. Metamorphis
    7. See The Star
    8. Gravity
    9. Bliss
    10. Beautiful Sun
    11. Love Falls Down
    12. Blindfold

SOURCES:
http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:dmd0yl42xpzb
http://www.delirious.org.uk/discog/usalbums/mezzamorphis.html
http://www.delirious.org.uk/discog/ukalbums/mezzamorphis.html

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