Feb 102013

This caught me by surprise.  I was taking one last, fast look around the internet before crawling into bed last night and happened to see a blurb that Manilla Road had released a new album for streaming and download on Bandcamp. Its name is Mysterium. The last I knew, it had been projected for release on February 19, but the debut clearly has been accelerated.

This is Manilla Road’s 16th full-length album in a career that goes back more than 30 years. But as someone who turned to metal relatively late in life, I missed most of that career, and really only started learning about them through my interest in Mark “The Shark” Shelton’s Hellwell project, which released an excellent debut album last year by the name of Beyond the Boundaries of Sin (featured here).

As I write this, I’ve only just begun listening to the album, but I sure am intrigued by what I’m hearing. This is, of course, a departure from the Rule around here — but even though the singing is clean, much of it still sounds evil. And the guitar performances are head-spinning (check out the fire-breathing solo on “Stand Your Ground”, for example). I’m digging the rough guitar tone, too. I’m even digging “The Battle of Bonchester Bridge”, which is pure old-school ballad, with another riveting guitar solo.

I’ll shut up now, schedule this post to appear on Sunday morning, and go back to listening to this album — which you can also do right after the jump. Continue reading »