This was  the big change album for Manilla Road. Rick Fisher had left the band and we found Randy Foxe. Rick wanted to play a more laid back style of Rock n Roll than either Scott or myself. So we decided to split from Rick and get a heavier drummer. Randy was just the shot of aggressiveness that we needed at the time. Good drummers were hard to come by in our part of the States for Metal music. There were a lot of good drummers around but none that were trying to play heavy stuff. Most of the music for Open The Gates was already written when Randy signed on with us but there are a couple of songs on the album that were written while Randy was with us. Heavy Metal To The World and The Ninth Wave for example. Most of the album is a concept based on the Arthurian legends with some Norse mythos thrown in as well. I think that my lyrics were getting better at this time and the direction of the music of MR in general was taking final turn towards Epic Metal. I was very sick when we were recording this album and I fried my voice singing all the tracks in one night because the studio was booked up solid for some time and we were on a schedule with Black Dragon so I chose to sing the whole thing in one night when I had as much voice as possible at the time. I learned my lesson. Never try and create art when you feel like your dying. I have always thought that the vocals could have been much better than they are on that album. This album did pretty well for us sales wise and if not for this album taking off like it did Manilla Road may not have gone much further. I thought the mix was a little lacking and the guitar sound was still a little immature but at the same time I know that this album has been received by many as our best effort. I personally always think that my best effort is the next effort. 

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