Review Summary: “Crystal Logic” is Manilla Road’s magnum opus. An absolute metal classic from start to finish.
It’s been quite some time since I’ve been so transfixed with a metal album. Released in 1983, Manilla Road’s Crystal Logic
is, quite simply, one of the most addicting and captivating metal albums I’ve ever had the pleasure of hearing. Backed by the distinct vocals of Mark Shelton, the album is an epic and even mesmerizing listen from start to finish. Although the band has released a handful of great albums since their inception in the late 70‘s, none of them have been able to match the originality or consistency of Crystal Logic
. It’s the band’s true masterpiece and an essential album for anybody who calls themselves a fan of metal.
The obvious star of the group is vocalist and founding member Mark Shelton. Not only is he the singer, but he’s also responsible for all the band’s impressive lead guitar work. Thankfully, his original yet nasally vocals sound better than ever on this release as he injects each song with attitude and energy. Songs like the title track or the addicting ‘Necropolis’ are perfect examples of his ability as a vocalist and he completely steals the show with some of his most distinct vocals on the entire album. At times they sound slightly reminiscent of Iron Maiden, but they are highly original in their own right and never grow dull throughout the beast that is Crystal Logic.
Thankfully the band wasn't afraid to experiment on this release and the album manages to show off many different sounds without ever truly losing its focus. The band embraces their fun side with the rock ‘n roll feel of ‘Feeling Free Again’, while other songs are much more eerie such as ‘The Veils of Negative Existence’ which starts with some demented laughs by Shelton alongside some ridiculously heavy guitar riffs. However, one of the most dynamic songs on the album is the epic 10 minute ‘Dreams of Eschaton’ which is packed with insane solos and shows off some of Shelton’s gruffer vocals. Although the song is followed by a piano-laden epilogue, it’s the last full track on the album and it ends it with one hell of a bang.
With original sounding guitar work that has influences ranging from Black Sabbath to Iron Maiden and a vocal performance that can only be matched by a select few, Crystal Logic
is an album that shouldn’t be overlooked. It's like pure candy for the ears and as pleasing as the album is to the senses, it’s also not overproduced so it’s able to retain a highly original sound making it an undeniable classic that’s sure to please fans of all things metal. A true classic.