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Manilla Road – The Courts Of Chaos Award winner

Manilla Road
The Courts Of Chaos
by Will Travers at 07 June 2021, 10:19 PM

MANILLA ROAD are undergoing the ‘ultimate reissue’ of some of their back catalogue, spanning 44 years of some excellent Power Metal. I have already had the delight of reviewing “Spiral Castle”, now it’s time to turn my attention to “The Courts Of Chaos” and instantly, I am drawn to the artwork, it seemed reminiscent to me of the castle/temple where Thulsa Doom resided in Conan The Barbarian, I’m not overly sure why but it just does.

Opening the album is “The Road To Chaos” and what an introduction. The instrumental track lays down a marker for the rest of the album to live up to, it’s almost like early Prog in its structure as it flits between busy and intense sections before stripping it straight t back again. “Dig Me No Grave” punches away with hard hitting riffs, pounding rhythms and an aggressive, yet delicate vocal line that just screams to be chanted in unison by a throng of fans all stamping their feet and punching their bunched fists in the air. “D.O.A” is something of a morbid affair of a track, as I would assume with what I understand the acronym to understand… But the synth heavy and melodic seven minute track has flurries throughout of energy, intensity to keep the listener satisfied.

As we reach the mid point, I feel the album being something more of a concept, and again the imagery of Conan The Barbarian comes back to me, with the idea of Conan making his journey to face Thulsa Doom. This becomes most prevalent in “Into The Courts Of Chaos” as I can just see the hero arriving to face his foe. For me this really brings the music to life and just gives it an extra dimension of enjoyment.  I want to focus on one more track, “The Prophecy” is just a light and airy mystical atmosphere that has this amazing air just surrounding it, but it takes the album out with a hell of a bang, really assaulting the listener with a barrage of delectable riffs, guitar breaks and just an overall fucking awesome structure.

Overall, this is a fantastic album, as I am sure the long standing fans will agree. But what really took it that next level for me was not just the music, but the imagery that it created in my mind, it took me beyond the plane of just musical enjoyment and created an experience for me that I will not soon forget.

Songwriting: 10
Originality: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

1. Road To Chaos
2. Dig Me No Grave
3. D.O.A
4. Into The Courts Of Chaos
5. From Beyond
6. A Touch Of Madness
7. (Vlad) The Impaler
8. The Prophecy
Mark Shelton – Guitar / Vocals
Scott Park – Bass
Randy Foxe – Drums / Keyboard
Record Label: High Roller Records


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