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The Riddle Masters - A Tribute To Manilla Road (CD)

The Riddle Masters
A Tribute To Manilla Road
by Grigoris Chronis at 12 May 2007, 11:31 AM

Up The Hammers - Down The Nails… no. it's not a West Ham United soccer compilation here; hold your horses. The occult (even if not performing some Black Metal mass) spirit of this love-it-or-hate-it Kansas, USA Metal trio tries to be 'transformed' in this double-CD combo via the passion and devotion of Epic Metal bands from all around the globe. The vast majority of readers may not be familiar with most (or all) of them - few are the chances young (in specific) metallers being familiar with the mystique Metal music of MANILLA ROAD. But, on the contrary, here lays something (maybe) serious enough for sinking your teeth into…by the sword!
The first album of MANILLA ROAD - the infamous call of Invasion - counts (as we speak) the same years as the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal stream itself. The other way round: when MANOWAR released their Battle Hymns debut back in 1982, Mark Shelton and Co. were writing songs for their third - and, for many, best - opus entitled Crystal Logic. The remaining way round: there are three categories of Metal fans standing ahead of the MANILLA ROAD name: i) those who love the band's music, ii) those who hate the band's music, iii) those who have not heard a single not of MANILLLA ROAD music. This way - especially - can count for all things meaning 'personality' in a Metal band (just like fellow 80s US Metal warriors CIRITH UNGOL, now that I recall…).
With MANILLA ROAD still producing albums (was happy enough to see their latest Gates Of Fire effort being released in vinyl format, too), this tribute double-album marks a operation destined to be made at high level. The faithful clan of MANILLA ROAD fans in today's Heavy Metal bands is not as petite as you'd think (or wish…). It is not an exaggeration to mention that, by omitting the MANILLA ROAD mark to the new generation, few the chances would be for the 'current' Epic Metal sound to exist. Thus, many of the names featured in this compilation are included in the elite of the Epic Metal scene of today worldwide. The legacy is set straight.
There's was no logical motive, from the beginning, to 'review' this compilation. And the proof did came up rather instantly: all of the MANILLA ROAD tunes are covered 100% by heart; no 'advertisement' motive, no 'wannabe' attitude. This way, it is not weird each and every tune bears the MANILLA ROAD 'flame' added to the act's own blend. Different productions, different voices, different eras of the originals…and the aim is pure and 'uncut'. With almost all of the tunes coming from the classic 1982-1989 period of Mark Shelton's kinfolk, let's only mention - in a set of equally greatly-performed songs - that SOLEMNITY's take on Mystification,VIRON's unexpectedly high cover of  The Dreams Of Eschaton and DANTESCO's performance on Queen Of The Black Coast stand slightly up in relation to a remaining (all of 'em being great, I repeat!) set of…
…eighteen Metal cuts, serving - by all means - a further scope: by the (advanced, now) instrumentation in Metal bands plus the helping hand (where needed) of 'neat' production, the vision of MANILLA ROAD shines more visible in our days. Few had witnessed this 'rusty' sign back in those days. Let's hope more faithful will be stepping in the MANILLA ROAD kingdom year after year.  Bands from Italy, USA, Poland, Portugal, Brazil, Greece, Germany, Switzerland, Chile, Puerto Rico and Holland have sneaked in, already. Up The Hammers - Down The Nails - Forever!.
P.S.: What if your favorite MANILLA ROAD 'classic' is missing? The collection is limited to (only) two dics, not four…

4 Star Rating

Disc 1

The Fires Of Mars (by ROSAE CRUCIS)
Flaming Metal Systems (by CRYSTAL VIPER)
In The Veils Of Negative Existence (by IRONSWORD)
Crystal Logic (by AGAINST NATURE)
Dig Me No Grave (by LORD HAUNTED)
Morbid Tabernacle/Isle Of  The Dead (by BATTLEROAR)
Mystification (by SOLEMNITY)
The Dreams Of Eschaton (by VIRON)

Disc 2

Divine Victim (by EMERALD)
Death By The Hammer (by DOWNCAST)
Necropolis (by BATTLERAGE)
Masque Of The Red Death (by DANTESCO)
Queen Of The Black Coast (by JOTENHEIM)
Slaughterhouse (by ROTTEN)
Open The Gates (by DENIM & LEATHER)
Dragon Star (by HOLY MARTYR)
The Prophecy (by TEMPUS FUGIT)
Record Label: Solemnity Music


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