It's the solo album that isn't a solo album. At least that's what Manilla Road founder, vocalist, and guitarist Mark Shelton would have you believe. He should know, he's been down this road before. Remember Circus Maximus? That was supposed to be his first solo album, but the label begged to differ. Hellwell began as a solo project but is now emerging as a band. A band named after it's keyboard player and lyricist E.C. Hellwell. Huh? Explain to us again how this is Shelton solo album.
To add more confusion to the matter, Shelton has described Beyond the Boundaries of Sin as 'Manilla Road but with keyboards'. But, don't be frightened as the keyboards aren't that overbearing. He also describes Hellwell this way, ' ... killer heavy doom like thrashy bombastic epic progressive mayhem.' Awesome. Sure sounds like Manilla Road to me. That's cool. While you wait for the next Manilla Road album, in September '12 I believe, dig Beyond the Boundaries of Sin.
Hellwell, ia a lyricist steeped deep in the early mysteryand horror of Poe and Lovecraft, and the sword and sorcery of Robert E. Howard, another perfect for match for Shelton. He comments: 'Hellwell is like Manilla Road's evil twin. The concepts ... are all truly dark stuff and some of it downright evil ... Songs of cannibalism, serial killers and monsters from the abyss.' And the music is rather impressive as well; it's all that Shelton described above. The wild card is the lengthy last piece End of Days, which is definitely dark, more creepy. Some of this comes from vocals that near the death style. Nevertheless, everything here is pure Shelton-esque Manilla Road style heavy metal. Easily recommended.