Manilla Road
The Courts of Chaos


4.5
superb

Review

by Gigglesdemon USER (31 Reviews)
July 30th, 2011 | 13 replies


Release Date: 1990 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A marriage of Manilla Road's traditional metal sound with heavy doses of proggressive rock.

Manilla Road tried to simplify their formula for metal success with their last two outings, Mystification and Out of the Abyss, streamlining everything into a thrash metal sound. While well done, it wasn't really Manilla Road. People yearned for the days of epic heavy metal, especially after the debacle that was Out of the Abyss. And so Mark Shelton complied. But, as we all know, Mark refuses to just rehash old ideas. He insists on being new and different every album. So here, he takes a look at Manilla Road's fairly impressive discography and takes one element that was always fairly present on their albums and amplifies it to a new extreme. That element is progressive rock.

Atmospheric synths abound on this album, something never done before on a Manilla Road album. While I have never been a particular fan of synths (I was adamant that before I heard this album that the only non-progressive bands to pull off synths were Blue Ӧyster Cult and Iron Maiden), it was extremely well done here, used to create an effective spooky and bizarre atmosphere, something Manilla Road always had, but never in quite this way. Look no further than the instrumental opener The Road to Chaos for evidence of this. Also, there are some fairly complex song structures here, at least for a Manilla Road album.

But instead of completely forgetting the traditional heavy metal in favor of a more progressive sound, they manage to balance the two successfully. There is a good mix of both types of songs. While the prog songs are clearly the best tracks on the album, the more traditional bits are fun little bouts of headbanging. (Vlad) The Impaler is a very strong fast paced song that wouldn’t seem out of place on their previous classics Crystal Logic and The Deluge.

Instrumentally, Manilla Road is as strong as ever. Mark Shelton recovered from his previous lethargy, creating a large amount of great and memorable riffs, Scott Park’s bass rumbles along, adding a powerful undertone, and Randy Foxe’s drumming has slowed a bit, but it as technical as ever.

This is a strong showing of Manilla Road’s talent for change and ability to interchange a variety of influences while keeping their core identity intact. An excellent entry in their discography and a great pick up for either traditional metal or prog metal fans.

Pros:
-Great atmosphere
-Strong instrument talent
-Cool song structures

Cons:
-Rough production

Recommended Tracks:
Books of Skelos
A Touch of Madness
Into the Courts of Chaos



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user ratings (15)
Chart.
4.2
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Gigglesdemon
July 30th 2011


187 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

My next entry into Manilla Road's discog. I really dig the use of synths on this album. As always CC welcome!

Hyperbore
July 30th 2011


856 Comments


Really don't care for this album. It's not terrible but it's not that good either; just sounds messy and confused.

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
July 31st 2011


6289 Comments


well written, have a pos.

I don't really have an opinion for this, as all i have heard from this band is sparse songs.

Digging: Madred - Supersonic Brainfuck Overdrive

420yeah69RETURNS
July 31st 2011


138 Comments


yeah good job m/
| |

420yeah69RETURNS
July 31st 2011


138 Comments


have a pos

Gigglesdemon
July 31st 2011


187 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I never really thought it sounded confused. I actually thought it was pretty cohesive. Especially when compared to their next album (Don't look forward to writing that review).

Hyperbore
August 1st 2011


856 Comments


The Circus whatever is the only one I haven't listened to it yet, though I will this week. The cover alone, plus the fact it's really a solo work, has already given me a bad impression so yeah I doubt this one's as bad. It's also significantly better than the one before it(ugh...)

Killerhit
May 31st 2012


5254 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Hard ass m/

rockandmetaljunkie
May 31st 2012


3726 Comments


I need to get into this band.
Good review pos'd.

Killerhit
May 31st 2012


5254 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Get into it

you won't regret it. Use your money to buy their albums. Don't use it to buy pre worn jeans

rockandmetaljunkie
May 31st 2012


3726 Comments


Well basically that's the problem. I can't find any of their cds in the fucking shops.

Killerhit
May 31st 2012


5254 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I mean stuff like amazon and eGay

rockandmetaljunkie
May 31st 2012


3726 Comments


I prefer not to by music from the internet. I prefer the old traditional way.



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