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Review: Manilla Road - To Kill a King
Manilla Road
www.manillaroad.net
To Kill a King

Label: Golden Core Records
Year released: 2017
Duration: 1:01:34
Tracks: 10
Genre: Heavy Metal

Rating: 4/5

Review online: July 20, 2017
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
Readers Rating
for:
To Kill a King

Rated 3.7/5 (74%) (10 Votes)
Review


After the masterful The Blessed Curse from a few years ago, I was keen to see where Mark intended to take the band. After all, that album was perhaps the most epic album they have ever done, even bigger than the massive Gates of Fire. I expected, as in the wake of that one, that he might want to scale back and do something a bit more stripped-down, as Playground of the Damned was a kind of respite after the huge Voyager.

Well, this is not that big a change. With a solid lineup in place – and especially with a superlative drummer in Neudi – Mark can get exactly the sound he wants. The production on this is pretty much just like the sound on Blessed Curse – crunchy and clear, not too dirty, not too clean. It's a good balance between the massive guitar sounds of Atlantis Rising or Gates of Fire and the more old-school vibe of the classic albums. This has never been a band that was propped up with studio tricks anyway, we come to hear the songs and Mark Shelton's unbeatable guitar playing.

The album opens with the 10-minute epic title cut, but then settles in for a long ride of solid riffs and awesome lead work. The songwriting here is good, if a bit rote – all of these sound like characteristic Manilla Road songs, with very few surprises. The riffs are good, and the leads are fantastic, but there are no real classic songs on here. This is the Road in their more straight-ahead, pugilistic mode, when what I really love are their long, weird epics. This album is solidly enjoyable, but it's not on a par with their best.

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Interview with guitarist/vocalist Mark "The Shark" Shelton on June 22, 2013 (Interviewed by MetalMike)
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