Sunday, November 16, 2014
Manilla Road-"Out of the Abyss"
The sky outside is dark and gloomy. A chill runs up my spin as I begin to write this review. All I need to make this moment even more haunting is a cauldron, ritual candles, Gilbert Gottfried dressed as a vampire, the Necronomicon, and of course, Manilla Road’s “Out of the Abyss.”
Yes everyone, the time has come for yet another reissue of one Manilla Road’s many horror themed metal albums. Shadow Kingdom Records is teaming up with the classic metal band from Kansas once again and will be re-releasing the band’s seventh full-length album, “Out of the Abyss.” A release date is set for next year, January 13th. Originally recorded in 1988, the album comes from a time when Manilla Road’s desired to play fast and had a more thrash metal sound. Eventually, this band would return to the classic more doom metal style, but “Out of the Abyss,” features some intense jams and aggressive compositions.
Compared to, “Mystification,” the album just before “Out of the Abyss,” the music on this release is definitely a bit darker. Also, the band writes more lyrics about H.P. Lovecraft stories, so the haunting occult themed lyrics definitely make for some very dark and heavy sounding songs. I even felt the vocals on this album were darker and the overall screams used during some of the songs sent chills down my spine. The guitar playing on this album is solid and maintains a ripping thrash metal tone. However, there are moments where the riffs slow down to create short spooky doom like atmospheres. The dynamics between the slow haunting riffs and fast aggressive riffs definitely creates a unique and distinctive sound. For example, the opening song, “Whitechapel,” begins with a sinister sounding furious thrash riff while the song, “Return of the Old Ones,” is slower and more classic metal sounding. The main bulk of the songs on this album are your semi-thrash type tracks with some galloping riffs and rapid fire drum rhythms.
Manilla Road really enjoys writing lyrics based of off horror books and this can be found on all their albums. Also, the band becomes very descriptive with their lyrics and on certain songs it sounds like they are trying to narrate a book rather than sing a song. The song, “Black Cauldron,” describes a ritual sacrifice to Cthulhu and the sinister sounding thrash sound really compliments the lyrical content. Personally, I find the gimmicky horror imagery to get old after about five or six songs, but don’t get me wrong, I think Manilla Road does a great job describing their lyrics and matching the lyrics with the instrumental compositions. “Return of the Old Ones,” “Midnight Meat Train,” and “Helicon,” are creative metal pieces with plenty of heavy head banging riffs and lyrics that will make some people piss their pants.
I think, “Out of the Abyss,” is well worth checking out if you are into classic horror themed heavy metal with a slight thrash metal edge. I am really glad that Shadow Kingdom Records is helping spread the word about Manilla Road amongst the metal community. Maybe this reissue will help pull Manilla Road out of the abyss of other old less acknowledged metal bands who deserve more recognition for their contributions. Just have to keep spreading the word, or reissuing albums each year...