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 Review archive:  # a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

Manilla Road - Out of the Abyss [Shadow Kingdom Records - 2015]

Manilla Road is a band with a long past.  Beginning in 1977 in Kansas the band has been releasing classic heavy metal/power metal consistently for the last 28 years. Out of the Abyss is a re-release of their thrash heavy 1988 album.  Long under appreciated by fans and reviewers alike, it is probably one of Manilla Roads heaviest and darker releases.

Although Manilla Road may be most known for playing classic heavy metal with soaring vocals and fantasy based lyrics, Out of the Abyss brought a slightly different sound for the band.   Vocals still soared but a King Diamond/Mercyful Fate tinge can be heard, with vocals ranging from shrill screams to what sounds like a raspy Bruce Dickinson.  The lineup contains Mark Shelton (guitars, vocals), Randy Foxe (drums, keyboards, vocals) and Scott Park (bass).  The nine songs here are a good representation of early 80’s thrash metal.  Quick paced, galloping drums, intricate time changes and explosive guitars solos abound. “Whitechapel”, the opening track and “Rites of Blood” are excellent examples of this; the lyrics here (and on the rest of the album) also contain dark lyrics, adding to the eerie atmospheres therein (Jack the Ripper, Cthulhu mythos, dark arts, murder and human sacrifice).  “Whitechapel has an awesome segue mid way through that adds an otherworldly mood to the track.  “Return of the Old Ones” also shines; the slow beginning masks the thrashy power mental onslaught, controlled yet expressive (it also reminded me quite a lot of 'Glos Z Ciemnosci' by Kat).  From here on out thought things pretty much stay the same “Out of the Abyss”, Black Cauldron”, “Midnight Meat Train( quite possibly the best heavy metal song title ever, you almost have to wonder if this was an influence on Cannibal Corpse)”, “War in Heaven”, “Slaughterhouse” and Helicon” are all decent songs, but they are just not that memorable. 

For a band to have been around as long as Manilla Road it’s interesting to see the subtle and not so subtle changes throught the years.  For me personally, even though I began listening to metal in 1984 I have to admit I never listened to Manilla Roads output (which is odd because I distinctly remember their ads in metal magazines from back then). This is a great release (or re-release as the case may be) for a fan of 80’s thrash metal or Manilla Road in general.  It definitely gives a different glimpse of the band.

Rating: 2 out of 5Rating: 2 out of 5Rating: 2 out of 5Rating: 2 out of 5Rating: 2 out of 5

Viktorya Kaufholz
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