MANILLA ROAD — Spiral Castle (review)

MANILLA ROAD — Spiral Castle album cover Album · 2002 · Heavy Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4.5/5 ·
Warthur
Rather than keeping going with business as usual for this second album of the Manilla Road return, Mark the Shark and his collaborators instead turn in one of the most unusual Manilla Road albums to date, with their traditional heavy metal style taking on a darker aesthetic and production reminiscent of more extreme metal styles and Mark offering up extensive guitar solos, touching on 1970s psychedelic and progressive stylings.

It isn't a full dive into heavy psych or prog metal, but it's at least more of a nod in that direction than Manilla Road have attempted at any time since their Mark of the Beast/Dreams of Eschaton demo, so it rather makes sense that the official release of that material happened in the same year as this came out. Even then, though, Spiral Castle sounds different from anything Manilla Road had done before, whilst still feeling distinctly like Manilla Road - a clever trick that demonstrates that their post-2001 resurrection was more than a simple nostalgia act.
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