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Manilla Road - Out of The Abyss (Reissue)

Manilla Road
Out of The Abyss (Reissue)
by Matt "Wolverine" Johnson at 10 January 2015, 10:30 PM

As probably the biggest Metal act to come out of Wichita, Kansas, the Heavy Metal masters, MANILLA ROAD, have taken it upon themselves to bring about the destruction of eardrums far and wide with their new album "Out of the Abyss"! Like a Midwestern-US MANOWAR, they have the same resounding themes in their music and lyrics as some of the Heavy Metal greats before them, including some of the more recognizable names in the NWOBHM realm.

This album has all of the classic hallmarks of what Heavy Metal should be. MANILLA ROAD execute their skills so masterfully that they fit right in with the likes of IRON MAIDEN, as radical as that sounds and they can be classed right next to them in the NWOBHM genre, albeit they are distinctly American. If I can say, they are one of the only American Heavy Metal acts that get anywhere close to the style of the bands that influenced their music.

Each track on this album rings with its own blend of speed, theme, riffs, and octave range. Some are slower and mellower while others carry the intensity of a rhythm comparable (by rhythm alone) to PANTERA. That's a big statement but some songs don't have to be brutally fast to be heavy, and that is apparent in tracks such as "Rites of Blood" and "War in Heaven." The more up-tempo songs harken unto a more Thrash Metal style similar to a cross between early METALLICA (with the sound of the distortion and blistering solos, think "Kill 'Em All") and classic SLAYER.

Case in point, the title track of the album keeps a pretty fast pace, but cuts no corners in keeping with "the darkness" of the theme. It's especially apparent in the vocals, which protrudes in the form of “growliness” in conjunction with the cleans, and gives a major boost to the aggression and acrimonious design. I found it all to be quite appealing and it just has that old-school feel that reminds me of decades past.

The final track of the album "Helicon" uses a different rhythm technique, and the vocals seem to stand out over the instrumentation. However, when the break-beat occurs, the vocalist carries the note in standard vibrato fashion, so closely associated with Power and Heavy Metal. The synchronicity of the two elements of the music work together, though the rhythm is a tad unusual and asserts itself as different from the formula over the rest of the album.

The only downfall I could put a finger on and transcribe into words, is the fact that the recording quality seemed a bit subpar to me. It's hard to get past the lack of clarity present and maybe I was just hearing a version that wasn't meant to be the highest quality, but it still doesn't take away from the fantastic musicianship and songwriting exhibited in each track on the album.

If you're not yet convinced that "Out of the Abyss" belongs up in the ranks of some of the greats in the NWOBHM genre, then you have to go beyond my measly words and listen for yourself! So take the chance and make your own decision! MANILLA ROAD are a surprising band, that being from Kansas, you wouldn't think would fit into the mold of greats like JUDAS PRIEST and such similar bands but they do nicely. Now the time has come to take action, and your challenge is to prove me wrong! "Out of the Abyss" is one for the ages in the pages of MANILLA ROAD!

4 Star Rating

1. Whitechapel
2. Rites of Blood
3. Out of the Abyss
4. Return of the Old Ones
5. Black Cauldron
6. Midnight Meat Train
7. War in Heaven
8. Slaughterhouse
9. Helicon
Mark "The Shark" Shelton - Guitar, Vocals
Bryan "Hellroadie" Patrick - Vocals
Joshua Castillo - Bass
Neudi - Drums
Record Label: Shadow Kingdom Records


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