Monday, July 18

Manilla Road ~ Playground of the Damned

Manilla Road
Playground of the Damned


The more things change, the more they stay the same. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. I have a love/hate relationship with clichés, and I'd like to someday coin my own, but I digress. Redundant though they may be, these clichés are appropriate for Manilla Road and their latest release "Playground Of The Damned". This band has been around forever, not necessarily since the discovery of fire, but close. Manilla Road helped create and define the metal genre in its infancy and they are still around kicking arse and taking names. If you are not familiar with them, but are a fan of Black Sabbath, early 80s Judas Priest and Metallica, and late 80s Iron Maiden, I think you might find Manilla Road to your liking. They are heavy on the metal with decent touches of prog and doom. If I dare say, the doom elements have a taste of grunge à la early Soundgarden and Alice In Chains. Now, you might get the impression that the band is a bunch of old fuddy-duddies, but they are not, the drums have a very modern feel about them, but more on the drums will be said later.

Playground of the Damned is riff-tastic. Every song is a conglomeration of great guitar riffs, punctuated with decent guitar solos. The drumming is excellent, lots of double bass and excellent fills, and because of the drumming, it really brings the band and their songs into the modern era. Song highlights for me are "Jackhammer", Abattoir De La Mort" and "Art of War". My general concern about the band, their songs, and their sound, is that the production is weak. It actually lacks so much polish that it almost sounds as if these are demo recordings. The drums sound a little thin and the guitars are tinny. I would like the CD more if the overall sound was more beefy.

Barring the poor production, "Playground Of The Damned" is a decent release. The songs are strong and the playing is excellent. Manilla Road has been around for a while and if they continue to release good songs, they will be around for a long time to come.

Live Long and Rock Hard,

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SpaceKev's Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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