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Manilla Road - Invasion & Metal (CD)

Manilla Road
Invasion & Metal
by Grigoris Chronis at 28 December 2004, 4:14 PM

The case of Manilla Road, the love-it-or-hate-it US Metal band with the so distinctive and individual style, can easily bring on a great deal of wonder for its oddity. A band being 'round since the late 70s (to relate: parallel - or even earlier - to the N.W.O.B.H.M. explosion in England), with a rather steady rate of releasing full-length albums and with a music style that is of cult status for some, completely boring for others, but with a trademark recognized by the vast majority of Metal fans. And, as I remember, the wide spread of Manilla Road's name (in both directions) occurred in the mid 90s - a full 15 year period, in a time where the band was in its most inactive status. It doesn't make any sense to me.
So what? Wichita's, KA Manilla Road throughout their career expanded the sense of Epic Heavy Metal to a direction that none could go to. Amongst the genre's fans, releases like Crystal Logic (1983), Open The Gates (1985) or Mystyfication (1987) present a band that lives the sense of Epic in a both raw and mystique way, rather rummy at first but enduringly winning your ears (always, if you're 'into' that style). Inspired and driven by the unique spirit of Mark Shelton - one of the few artists whose music CV equals the meaning of the word true - may have not scored that huge numbers of sales, probably will never sign a major contract with a premier record label, but still carry the spark of this untamed fire of pureness, restlessness and allegiance to their own ideals.
If you're the kind of metalhead that is not that familiar with the band's releases, better checkout the aforementioned cult albums. If you're a devoted follower of the band then you probably already have these two early recordings (even in copies). Still, this fine move by Greece's defender of pure Heavy Metal recordings, Cult Metal Classics/Sonic Age Records, to release the band's first two albums, Invasion & Metal (originally released in 1980 and 1982, respectively, through their own Roadster Records), can only be described as eminent - especially since the original vinyl releases deal for extraordinary amounts of money in second-hand dealers' hands. Hence, a brief description of each album will be displayed:
Invasion: 6 tracks, different when compared to the band's mid-80s releases, full of a guitar-psychedelic vibe (see the tracks' durations) and rather raw, with a Rock-based feeling in the player's performance. Still, after a few shots some elements get slightly visible to see, elements that contributed to the famous Manilla Road style. A rather confused recording, still not bad.
Metal: Being more Metal-ish, the band seems to start building more its Epic elements. Note: only building, since the production is once again underground Rock-orientated. Queen Of The black Coast is my favorite outta here, and the band seems to be a little bit more conscious regarding what they wanna play. Happily, they found their way in their following legendary release and we were glad to enjoy a unique Metal band.
Concluding, Invasion and Metal are definitely not Manilla Road's anthems. Still, they are the initial samples of where the band started from 25 years ago. And this praiseworthy Cult Metal Classics/Sonic Age Records re-release (judging from the promo pack) is giving a great deal of help, with its numerous assets: re-mastered from the original vinyl albums, original covers, 12-page booklet with rare photos/drawings and liner notes about the band's early years etc. It's pretty convincing!
Speakin' of music, just to end with the rating…

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
Disc 1

The Dream Goes On
Cat And Mouse
Far Side Of The Sun
Street Jammer
Centurian War Games
The Empire

Disc 2

Enter The Warrior
Defender
Queen Of The Black Coast
Metal
Out Of Control With Rock & Roll
Cage Of Mirrors
Far Side Of The Sun
Lineup:
Mark Shelton - Vocals & Guitars
Scott Park - Bass
Rick Fisher - Drums
Record Label: Cult Metal Classics / Sonic Age Records
     


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