Manilla Road

Manilla Road – Playground of the Damned Review

Manilla Road – Playground of the Damned Review

Manilla Road, thy name is cult! These aged metallers from Kansas have been keeping it “true” since before the 80’s. Over their long existence they released no less than fourteen albums of old school, vintage metal to the acclaim of a small but loyal niche following. Led by guitarist/singer Mark “The Shark” Shelton, they’ve plumbed the depths of 70’s and early 80’s metal, some albums sounding like old Cirith Ungol, some moving closer to Manowar, Doomsword and Slough Feg. They’ve always lived in that realm between classic metal and doom and their discography has its great moments (and a few missteps as well). In some circles these guys have attained legendary status and while they clearly deserve it for dedication, I never thought their material was all that consistent. However, I always find myself rooting for them to succeed. I did so again with their fifteenth album Playground of the Damned, but I’m not too thrilled with the end product. Like some prior albums, there are great moments but some cringy ones as well. Definitely an acquired taste and not for everyone, this is one of those bands you really have to hear for yourself. However, I will endeavor to do my humble best to describe what lies within as only the Lord High Protector Steel Druhm can.

Therion – Sitra Ahra Review

Therion – Sitra Ahra Review

All aboard the Trans-Si-Therion Express! Conductor extraordinaire Christofer Johnsson will be along shortly to check your Avant-card to be sure you are worthy of the long, strange and bewildering musical odyssey he carefully prepared for you. And quite a journey it is through Therion’s fourteenth album Sitra Ahra (fourth in the quadrilogy made up of Deggial, Sirius B and Lemuria). Continuing along with his own unique vision of sympho-orchestro-gotho-metal, Johnsson may well have outdone himself here in scope and excess. If forced to describe Sitra Ahra in one word, that word would be bombastic. If granted another word, it would be pretentious. If given but three more, they would be over-the-top. How pretentious and over-the-top is Sitra Ahra you ask? So pretentious that it makes Nightwish and Epica sound like AC/DC. So over-the-top, it could only be equaled by a production of The Vagina Monologues staring both Gwar and Immortal. Now, clearly restraint was never the point here and Johnsson’s motto has always been a “more is more” and that’s great. But when is more TOO much?