Manilla Road
Open the Gates


4.0
excellent

Review

by Gigglesdemon USER (31 Reviews)
April 17th, 2011 | 8 replies


Release Date: 1985 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A continuation of their more streamlined sound, Manilla Road releases another excellent metal album.

Manilla Road continues on their path of metal domination, further reducing their previous space rock and progressive influences, and adding some distinct thrash metal to the mix. This produces their fastest album yet. Just listen to the opening track, the appropriately titled Metalstorm. Fast paced guitar riffs and drumming drive the album at a breakneck pace, and all the songs, including the 9+ minute epic of the album, The Ninth Wave.

While I did say that the progressive element is reduced, Mark Shelton and Co. haven’t gotten rid of it entirely. The aforementioned The Ninth Wave and the two 6 minute tracks, The Fires of Mars and Witches Brew, show how that Manilla Road is still going to put forth some truly epic tracks. And these three are some of the best tracks of the album. However, I find myself missing the 13 minute epics like Dreams of Eschaton from Crystal Logic and The Empire from the debut album, Invasion. While the longer songs are great, I really wish that Manilla Road continued putting out the truly epic songs.

For this album, Manilla Road got a new drummer, Randy Foxe. He’s replacing Rick Fisher right when I though Rick was starting to come into his own. However, I was pleasantly surprised to hear a vast improvement in the drumming, it is far faster paced and technical, giving Manilla Road an element that they didn’t have before, and giving it the aggressive thrash metal feel.

While Shelton’s amazing riffing and Foxe’s take center stage, Scott Park’s bass is surprisingly robust, always keeping up with the lead two. The bass is very deep and thick, giving the album a great feel.

Unfortunately, Shelton’s vocals are a bit of a letdown. After the astounding showing he gave on Crystal Logic, here he’s a bit lacking. While not as bad as he has been previously, here he tries to be a thrash metal vocalist, something he was not meant to do. He is still his best at the higher, more nasally sound, instead of the gruff barks that he attempts here.

Another aspect that continuously annoys me is the production. As opposed to the crystal clear production on Crystal Logic, we get a more muddied one here. I feel like they were going for a raw feel that falls through. Instead of enhancing the aggressive feel, it is distracting.

In fact, I believe that is the major flaw of the album. In an attempt to get a thrashier feel, they get a mixed bag. The good is the fantastic guitars and drumming, but the downside is some weaker vocals and production. However, these flaws are relatively minor. There are some poor vocal spots, but for each one of those there is at least one good moment. And the production isn’t entirely awful, it’s a little distracting. Overall, though, it is a solid metal album worth any fan’s time.

Pros:
-Great guitar work
-Fantastic drumming
-Solid bass playing

Mehs:
-Some hit and miss vocal moments
-No true epics

Cons:
-Some distracting production

Recommended Tracks:
The Ninth Wave
Heavy Metal to the World
Metalstorm



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user ratings (48)
Chart.
4
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Gigglesdemon
April 17th 2011


187 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

My next entry in my discography review of Manilla Road. As always, CC welcome!

iFghtffyrdmns
April 17th 2011


7047 Comments


[b]The Ninth Wave[b]
missing a / in the second paragraph there, just a little typo worth fixing

Gigglesdemon
April 17th 2011


187 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks for the catch!


Crysis
Staff Reviewer
March 3rd 2012


16470 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The Ninth Wave m///////////////////

fulgrim
April 3rd 2012


1542 Comments


album rules m/

kount
April 3rd 2012


1279 Comments


fIGHT WELL

IN HEEELLLLL

Inveigh
April 7th 2012


25116 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

yea this is fucking badass

Digging: Hail Mary Mallon - Bestiary

warlordfun
August 13th 2013


398 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Manilla Road man, a cult band!

Digging: Acid Bath - When the Kite String Pops



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