CD reissue 2002:
THE COURTS OF CHAOS
THE COURTS OF CHAOS was the last record of the band in the classic line up Mark Shelton, Scott Park and Randy Foxe. Even another CD came out later under the name MANILLA ROAD (The Circus Maximus was a project by Mark Shelton and two other musicians), the group split-up after this masterpiece.
Officially released in 1990 as a CD and cassette by Black Dragon Records the reissue once again has a more brilliant sound even the original version had a good production too. Unlike the other rereleases THE COURTS OF CHAOS has no crystal tray or many pictures of the band, also some informations are missing this time (credits, homepage etc.). On the other hand you have that song that was a bonus track on the old version (The Books of Skelos) and one additional livetrack, the classic tune from the first two albums "Far Side Of The Sun". Lyrics are included too.
Lyrically this CD deals with a lot of movie stuff like Vlad The Impaler (Dracula) and From Beyond (a really cool movie by the way!), while Dig Me No Grave seems to be more autobiographic ("I was a rocker from birth - a rocker I´ll be till I die").
This record contains the only cover version MR ever did on a release. It is D.O.A. by the band BLOODROCK and it is about someone who is dying after a plane accident ("I try to move my arm but there´s no feeling, and when I look I see there´s nothing there...").
New for the band was the use of keyboards. In 1990 keyboards still were not often used in (real) Heavy Metal (while today you often here more keyboards than guitars in those so-called True Metal Bands...) so this was a very unusual thing, especially for MANILLA ROAD. Surprisingly the keyboard work, done by Randy Foxe, fits well to the music and can be seen as a positive aspect. Randy was experimenting with synthetic drumsounds for the first (and last) time on this album (read more about the recording process of this album the next days in a interview I just made with Randy!).
While OUT OF THE ABYSS, the record previous to COURTS, was a Thrash Metal album (with some exceptions) THE COURTS is a mix between the classic and epic MANILLA ROAD with the thrashy style of OUT OF... - a mix that fits well and leads to the ATLANTIS RISING CD many years later.
All in all COURTS OF CHAOS is an album which should be a real killer for every MANILLA ROAD fan but I think it could be one of the best MR-records for someone who doesn´t know the band yet due to its variety.
So why was this album no huge succes for the band? You have the great songs, a good sound, a unique style-mix, 52 minutes of music (the original version), so what´s the problem? The problem sat in Paris: Black Dragon Records. Even they gave us tons of great music in the eighties they never were able to push their bands. Additionally the company was in the process of a slow death in the early nineties so even less as usual was done for THE COURTS OF CHAOS.
Here are the informations that are missing on the CD:
Recorded and mixed at Miller (The Cave) Studios - N. Newton, Kansas.
Frontcover-art by Aaron Brown
THE COURTS OF CHAOS can be discribed as another "lost" record due to the low promotio activities and the worse distribution by BLACK DRAGON RECORDS back in 1990 and you should thank the band and Iron Glory for giving this masterpiece a second chance twelve years later.
Again I made a little mp3-medley of a few highlights of this album. Please note that the mp3-format has not the sound quality of the original CD and also this medley is not too representative of course: http://truemetal.org/courts.mp3 .
The CD is released by the German company Iron Glory Records and should be available in nearly all countries now . The German distributor is Zomba. The order number is RTD 314.7022.2. If you have problems getting the CD in your local shop (then change your favorite shop!!) go to www.ironglory.de .
(Neudi, May 2002)