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Manilla Road - Voyager (CD)

Manilla Road
Voyager
by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos at 04 March 2008, 10:40 AM

I don't think that I have to write an introduction about MANILLA ROAD or even give you some biography info since I believe that anyone metalhead who respects himself has at least one album of theirs in his collection.
So, Voyager is the band's next step after the very good and genuine epic  Gates Of Fire that saw the light of the day in 2005. To be honest the latter album gave me something from the band's prime days since I consider Spiral Castle and Atlantis Rising as two weak releases during MANILLA ROAD's second period.
MANILLA ROAD return the 14th album (The Circus Maximus included) and this time Vikings are their main lyrical subject. The album start with Tomb Of The Serpent King/Butchers Of The Sea that enters with a really atmospheric intro that brought to my mind the opening of The Courts Of Chaos album. The intro part is excellent and invites you to the epic world of MANILLA ROAD. The guitar comes with a raw sound that welcomes Mark's trademark vocals. The rhythm section features a slow and ton heavy tempo that excellently fits to the evilish backing vocals. Mark puts the finishing touch with a perfect guitar solo that is yet again reminding me of their prime days. Things get more solid and a little bit faster during the headbanging groove of Frost And Fire. I don't know why, but every time I listen to a MANILLA ROAD album  some creepy Lovecraftian landscapes fill my mind and Frost And Fire does an excellent job doing that! Tree Of Life come with a surprise; the song comprises clean guitar melodies (I think this is a 12 string) and a fitting bass guitar sound. Mark gives a deeply emotional performance and enhances the already thick and Epic atmosphere with another guitar solo.
A church organ intro opens for the Blood Eagle that turns into a barbaric invasion through Mark's harsh vocals while Voyager gets the listener upon a Drakkar (Viking warship) through rough seas and undiscovered landscapes. The song is mainly mid tempo and comprises some galloping outbreaks that could be resembled to the long lost IRON MAIDEN patterns. Eye Of The Storm will send some shivers down to your spine with the clean almost bluesy guitar sound while things get aggressive during the 8 minutes of the song Return Of The Serpent King. Some additional credit deserves Christner who is doing a fine job behind the drum kit by building a solid rhythm during the entire album. Conquest is the fast battle song that goes hand in hand with Mark's aggressive vocals and screams while Totentanz (The Dance Of Death) is the ideal album epic closer dealing with  Valhalla that is every Viking's final destination after a glorious death during battle.
In my ears this is a definite MANILLA ROAD album that is way better than the previous one and will definitely please all the die-hard fans. Let me close this review with the live recorded Dreams Of The Eschaton (from the Crystal Logic album) during their performance at the 'Keep It True' festival in 2004.

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
Tomb Of The Serpent King/Butchers Of The Sea
Frost And Fire
Tree Of Life
Blood Eagle
Voyager
Eye Of The Storm
Return To The Serpent King
Conquest
Totentanz (The Dance Of Death)
Lineup:
Mark Shark Shelton - Guitars, Lead and Back Vocals
Cory Hardcore Christner - Drums
Harvey Patrick - Bass
Record Label: My Graveyard Productions
     


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