Review Summary: With a concept and story as amazingly metal as Atlantis Rising's, and such good songwriting and instrumentation, this is a hard album to pass up. Some people will be turned off by the different direction this takes as opposed to other Manilla Road albums,
I find it surprising that Manilla Road is a band which has never received much attention here in the US, considering all the diehard metal heads we have all over the place. but then again Diehard metal heads typically don't have a big motivation to listen to anything other than Judas Priest, Def Leppard, AC/DC, and Motley Crue. Manilla Road has somehow found a way to stand the test of time, thanks to dedicated frontman Mark Shelton, surviving since the late 70s on nothing but determination, a cult European Fanbase, and being so intense that they must eat Nails for breakfast. METAL NAILS!!!
at anyrate, Atlantis Rising, the first album after the reformation of the band with a new line-up after its long hiatus, shouldn't dissapoint any fan of metal. Despite being off the radar for most of the 90s when Grunge and Alt Rock ruled the charts, Manilla Road burst forth from whatever cave they were hibernating in with a Jawdroppingly metal concept for a metal concept album. Basically, what happens is that thanks to some spell or another, Atlantis has risen from the sea and is on top of the world until some witch kills the king and summons Cthulhu. Then all hell breaks loose as his dreaded star spawn break free from R'yleh and generally mess things up for everyone. Now, here is where it gets awesome because The NORSE GODS, yes you read correctly: Odin, Thor, Baldr, Freya, Tyr, etc etc etc hear about all the crazy *** going on down on Midgard and they're like "Ahhh Hell no!" so basically, the norse gods go and lay siege to Atlantis which is controlled by Cthulhu's Minions and then they fight through the city and then have an epic battle with Cthulhu, after which he and his minions are all banished back to the darkness from which they came. INTENSE!
thankfully, the instruments accompanying the recitation of this grand epic are played quite well and the actual songs are pretty awesome for the most part. some people will be turned off by how long some of the songs are as well, breaking the 8 minute mark twice on the album.
Some fans were undoubtedly dissapointed with this album because it sounds very different from Manilla Roads earlier stuff. I personally love the change of direction, as it goes for a more modern and heavier sound; this should be understandable to people considering that a period of time has in fact passed since the late 70s, something which metal heads often fail to realize. At anyrate, Manilla road can certainly throw down with the best of them, with excellent drumming, bass playing, and of course Riffage and guitar pyrotechnics from Mark Shelton. Mark's guitar style on this album is something of an experiment in appropriate dissonance, his solos on songs like Megalodon and Decimation are somehow chaotic, yet planned out, but shredded so fast you don't know how he could have any idea what he's doing. This album does have it's fallbacks. The two quiet songs that come near the beginning and near the end seem like an unecessary addition just to fit them in in order to keep the concept going, and they come at inopportune times to sap some of the momentum thats been gathering.
March of the Gods
War of the Gods