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Manilla Road -Spiral Castle lp


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SKU: LP 533fe Categories: , ,


2023 press on black vinyl with insert. Limited 250 copies

After snapping a decade-long silence with 2001’s stunning return to form, Atlantis Rising, Wichita, KS lords of majestic metal Manilla Road wasted little time preparing their next studio album Spiral Castle (amazingly, their tenth, give or take a few). Introduced by a regal, Brian May-like mini-guitar symphony titled, histrionically enough, “Gateway to the Sphere” the vintage metal title cut weaves a typically fantasy-laced tale (Ragnarok, Bifrost, and the rest of the Norse mythology crew are all here) of the sort Manilla Road have somehow managed to keep sounding fresh for nigh on twenty years. In fact, the only entirely novel artifice on hand is the addition of one Bryan “Hellroadie” Patrick, who contributes very sporadic bursts of death metal style grunting to counter main man Mark Shelton’s familiar nasal tenor — but nothing approaching the co-vocalist set-up some sources suggested. Getting back to the songs, the evocatively foreboding, almost grunge-flavored, “Shadow” (complete with shred-tastic Shelton guitar solo) and the grandly melodic “Seven Trumpets” are both timeless tracks that could very well slot into such seminal Manilla Road albums past as Crystal Logic and The Deluge. Despite its terrifying title, the 11-minute Goliath called “Merchants of Death” has a mellow, almost jam-loose mid-section which harks back to the group’s progressive late-’70s days; and the placid instrumental closer “Sands of Time” (featuring the unlikely combo of violins and bongos!) comprises the second half of a striking, Eastern flavored tandem good enough to open most any other metal album. The excellent “Born Upon the Soul” represents the first half, and, as well as conjuring up an Egyptian-sounding riff that Iron Maiden would have gone to town with, the lyrics of its third and final stanza provide a virtual mission statement for Manilla Road’s entire fantasy metal career: “Through the mountains I have searched; For the place of Magik’s birth; It is not a shrine of old; Magik’s born upon the soul.” Corny as it may sound, all aging metal heads should be so lucky as Manilla Road’s creative mastermind when it comes to tapping into such unselfconscious, Peter Pan-like imagination; Spiral Castle offers another unlocked door to that state of mind.

Track list:
1. Gateway To The Sphere
2. Spiral Castle
3. Shadow
4. Seven Trumpets
5. Throne Of Lies
6. Merchants Of Death
7. Born Upon The Soul
8. Sands Of Time

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