Album Review

With "Atlantis Rising" Manilla Road prooved that they are able to continue with their high-class epic metal in the new millenium. SPIRAL CASTLE is by far more than just the follow-up to ATLANTIS!

With the new line-up and in their own recording studio MANILLA ROAD produced SPIRAL CASTLE. No MR-album sounds the same and so is SPIRAL CASTLE again different from ATLANTIS RISING, their comeback CD, even all trademarks are included.

First the sound is much better on the new album than on ATLANTIS (even it had a good, but unique sound too). You can hear every instrument very clear, even the smallest splash-cymbal. You can hear how good the band is playing by every second. There seemed to be no time limit because some songs are 7, 8 or over 10 minutes which gives you an idea how much fun they had while recording these songs!

The songs are just killer. It is unbelievable how they manage to write so many good songs in such a short time since Atlantis was released. Most other metalbands would be happy to have half as many ideas and inspiration. The album starts with an instrumental intro called GATEWAY TO THE SPHERE. It prepares you on what will follow soon... The title track is the first song and it starts just furious, with double-bass and a pretty evil-sounding guitar-riff. And there it is again: The typical Manilla-verses and the refrain youīll never forget. This song is heavy but epic the same.

SHADOW is a dark sounding song with a little gothic-feeling (no, I donīt speak about this gothic metal trend stuff here!). This song needs a few times before you realize how great it is.

SEVEN TRUMPETS is in the old tradition of songs like "Dragon Star", very epic and strong. There is one thing for sure: No other band could write such a song!

MERCHANTS OF DEATH starts very evil. You could categorize it as "Doom Metal", slow and hard. The vocals are very rough in the first verses and also in the refrain. In the middle of the song they make a break and after a killer solo by Mark the song turns into an other direction. You have to hear the middle-part of this song to understand why I am so excited about it. I wonīt use the word "jazz" here because it wouldnīt discribe how it sounds, but it is something they never made before - a new form of bringing epic into metal? Well, this song is over 10 minutes and there is no second too much! Outstanding!

MANILLA ROAD goes oriental...these were my first thoughts after listening to BORN UPON THE SOUL. This mid-tempo killer contains some cool oriental sounding guitar riffs that fit well to the rest of the parts. These harmonies are a new aspect of the Manilla-style and I hope to hear more of it in the future. What can I say...another killer track.

SANDS OF TIME is more than just an outro. With over 7 minutes it is an instrumental encore to BORN UPON THE SOUL and for me it sounds like the songs belong together (the oriental touch is even more here!). "Sit back and relax" is what I can say about this track. And again they managed to do something they never did before: Percussions instead of drums and a solo-violin instead of lead-vocals. Unusual and great!

I listened to SPIRAL CASTLE a lot of times now and it is growing each time. The new band-members show how good they are and I am sure with the current line-up we have to expect even more in the future! I canīt compare SPIRAL CASTLE to any previous album but if I have to I would chose MYSTIFICATION (especially "Seven Trumpets"). Listening to SPIRAL CASTLE and knowing all records makes me know that MANILLA ROAD are the future and the past of Heavy Epic Metal!

Go to the mp3-Section to pre-listen the record and to download an exclusive track that doesnīt appear on the album:MP3īs

If you canīt find SPIRAL CASTLE at your local record shop then contact Iron Glory Records: www.ironglory.de

(Thanks to Mark and the band for this great piece of music!)