MANILLA ROAD changed label. OK, now that we have the changes out of the way, I have to say, unfortunately, that the new album has quite some lengths, especially the in itself great opener “Butchers Of The Sea“ suffers greatly from the annoying guitar solo and the uninspired chorus, they could have done a lot more with this. Overall I miss an emotional high with this album, which the old albums have had in abundance.
Yes, you can have a lot of fun with dark songs, but the new MANILLA ROAD compositions somehow drag me down. Maybe because I am missing something really catchy such as the ultra hymn “Necropolis”, I am not sure. OK, with the ballad “Tree Of Life“ they have a little hymn on offer, which you will be able to relax to nicely and with “Blood Eagle“ they revive “Out Of The Abyss”’ Thrash phase, which I really enjoy, but the progressive title track lacks tension and excitement with the exception of the really great chorus.
With “Eye Of The Storm“ then follows another ballad, which is very convincing with its light influences of Blues and Spanish Folk, but on the other hand your nerves are put on edge again with “Return Of The Serpent King” and its almost Death Metal-like vocals and nervous drum performance. Following “Conquest” unleashes the Thrash club, but not all that convincing, and closing “Totentanz (The Dance Of Death)” also starts out well, but then flatlines, too. The cover artwork is weak and as usual the production is an almost complete write-off.
So as a conclusion – as old fanatic I of course bought the CD, but when I feel like MANILLA ROAD, I will stick to the old classics.
(Online December 24, 2011)