Holy fuck! Is this really the first time I’ve reviewed Manilla Road on this blog? It fucking can’t be.
It is. That’s fucking nuts.
Manilla Road, for those who don’t know, are kind of the perfect band for this blog. They have a legendary status but that status itself is sort of underground and obscure. And the band has been chugging along with their epic heavy metal, power metal-ish, sound for going on 37 years now. They just put out a new album this year (Mark Shelton also put out a side project album, the awesome Hellwell) and there doesn’t seem to be any signs of the band slowing down. Simply put, Manilla Road fucking rule. They’re entirely unique unto themselves and nobody sounds like Manilla Road without completely ripping them off.
Now, is their seventh studio album, Out of the Abyss, the album to introduce you to Manilla Road with? Maybe not. If you’re unacquainted with the band the classic Crystal Logic may be the place to start as it’s (debatably) their best album. Out of the Abyss is no fucking slouch though. Getting the remastered treatment from Shadow Kingdom Records in 2015 (which is the version I’m reviewing), Shadow Kingdom slapped a sticker on the front of the CD that proclaimed this album to be “the most thrash of their albums to date,” which is a curious statement in and of itself. I never really wanted a thrash album from Manilla Road. They dominate their sound so thoroughly that’s all I really want from them. Out of the Abyss may actually be their “heaviest” album, if that’s something your judging, and while it does have some thrash inspired riffing, I’d hardly say it was “their most” thrash album. That implies that they had other thrash inspired albums and I don’t think that’s the case. They’re just Manilla Road doing their thing.
This album is fucking full to the brim with killer riffing and soloing though. It’s a fucking riff factory, which Manilla Road typically are and Mark Shelton’s classic vocals are much rougher and more clenched teeth sounding on this album, but it’s still undoubtedly a Manilla Road album in all their mighty glory.
Get. On. Manilla Road. If. You. Haven’t. Up the hammers. Down the nails!