Manilla Road is simply an anomaly in metal history. Without ever having a major record label, they have succeeded in developing a nearly cult following for their fiercely independent music. Formed loosely in 1979 by Mark Shelton, Manilla Road has as incredible history of producing metal that is entirely their own. At times it's straight forward heavy metal, and then it transforms into progressive realms and, sometimes, simply melodic hard rock. In the end it is always creative. With 'Voyager,' Manilla Road carries own their sacred tradition: doing metal their own way and keeping it true.
You will find 'Voyager' to be an incredibly pleasing mix of their historical style. Lots of interesting arrangements marked by melody and great guitar work. Surely and unfortunately, Manilla Road sometimes succumbs to current American metal trends by trying to add unnecessary 'dirty' vocals. This is tragic simply because they have the talent and creativity to rise above trends and produce their own music.
Great tracks include the impressive 'Tree Of Life' where metal rules in the premier vocals and an efficient guitar solo, 'Blood Eagle' with its mixture of classic keys and guitars which turns into a steady romp of prog and progressive; excuse the dirty vocals because the music is so very good, and 'Voyager,' the title track, which reveals all the promise of Manilla Road: creative metal that leaves you guessing and pleased. These are only highlights. Overall, the entire album is quite impressive; it is much more than one could expect.
Manilla Road proves once again that the great ones rely on an independent spirit that desires to create great metal. Age has nothing to do with character or quality. Manilla Road is a class act from the first album to the latest. If you wish to know the true heart of metal, I strongly encourage you to buy 'Voyager,' and almost everything in the Manilla Road catalog. Very recommended.
- Craig Hartranft
Do you know Manilla Road? Do you know the metal band from Kansas, the heart of middle America? If you do, then you are a true fan and student of heavy metal, and you will love their new release 'Voyager.' If you don't, then now is the time to catch up. 'Voyager' is classic Manilla Road metal: metal their way without compromise: great vocals, melody, guitars and composition.