Review Summary: A painfully average album by a great band.
Boring, derivative, uninspired, average. None of these words describe Manilla Road. However, they do describe this album. It is a fairly common thrash album. And unfortunately, a lot of thrash albums are pretty damn average.
While Manilla Road nailed the thrash sound on Mystification
, here they don’t seem to know what to do with it. Mark Shelton’s frenzied riffing and tortured vocals were excellent, but here they fall short of all expectations. His riffs, instead of being the superbly crafted ones from all the previous albums, are derivative, unexciting, and and worst, undistinguishable. Shelton’s previous genius does surface at times, such as one the album highlights Return of the Old Ones
and the title track, Out of the Abyss
. Every other riff just seems average or reminiscent of ones we have heard before.
However, Shelton has vastly improved his harsh vocals. He truly sounds evil at times on this album, far more so than any other previous album. Whitechapel
, the albums bloated and overblown epic, while almost painful to listen to, has extraordinary harsh vocals.
This album also brings back a dreaded part of Manilla Road’s early career. Dragging songs. Whitechapel
, despite being very fast paced, begins to drag at the halfway mark and never picks up steam again. The album’s closer, Helicon
suffers the same fate.
Scott Park’s bass is more prominent on this album than previous albums, but even his fantastic talent isn’t enough to save this mess of an album. It feels like Manilla Road was trying to culminate everything they’ve done on this album, and as a result if feels messy and unfocused at times. The two standouts, Return of the Old Ones
and Out of the Abyss
, feel very different from the rest of the album, which is perhaps why they actually are good. The whole album tries for a thrash metal feel, but it fails.
While this album is not bad by any stretch of the imagination, it is a massive disappointment when you compare it to the band’s back catalogue and the derivativeness of the whole thing.
-Great harsh vocals
-Nice bass lines
Out of the Abyss
Return of the Old Ones