Metal Review – Manilla Road – Mysterium (2013)

Manilla Road - Mysterium (2013)Let me put this out there first. I never understood most of the love for Manilla Road. They are an average band that has put out average material for a while. For some reason, people started to think that it was cool to call Manilla Road pioneers of metal and they became marginally popular. I have no issues with a band’s fan-base increasing. In fact, more eyes on any metal band is only better for the genre in total. My issue is mostly that people are calling their previous albums classics without knowing anything about the band, and worse yet, without listening to the albums. Let’s face it, Manilla Road is into their fourth decade of putting out solid music. I like most of their stuff, but do not find it revolutionary in any way. This is not me hating on the band at all. It is just a rant.

With 2013 comes a new album from Wichita, Kansas-based heavy metal band often called a power metal band, but that that seems like a bit of a misnomer to me. Listening to “Mysterium,” we are seeing the band in a little edgier format. Check out songs like Only the Brave. It is highly riff-driven and I would be remiss if I did not mention that it had shades of Black Label Society to it. The vocals are very reminiscent of Zakk Wylde. That is not saying that BLS is copying Manilla Road. It is just an observation.

There is an edge to a lot of the tracks on this album, but there are some duds as well. The duds pretty much follow the format of the songs that are trying to be far too melodic for the band. Standouts are the aforementioned Only the Brave, Hallowed Be Thy Grave and The Grey God Passes. Overall, I am a fan of “Mysterium,” and hope that even more people get into them. People’s eyes are on them more now than ever, so it hopefully works out well for this release.

Mysterium Track Listing:
1. The Grey God Passes
2. Stand Your Ground
3. The Battle of Bonchester Bridge
4. Hermitage
5. Do What Thou Will
6. Only The Brave
7. Hallowed Be Thy Grave
8. The Fountain
9. The Calling
10. Mysterium:
I. Sea of Dreams
II. The Quest
III. Into the Unknown

Special Appearance by E.C. Hellwell – Synthesizers on The Calling & Bass Guitar on the song Mysterium

Mysterium Line-up:
Mark “The Shark” Shelton – 12 string Acoustic Guitar, 6 string Electric Guitar, Lead & Backing Vocals
Bryan “Hellroadie” Patrick – Lead & Backing Vocals
Joshua Castillo – Electric Bass Guitar
Neudi – Drums