is an American heavy metal
band from Wichita, Kansas
, forming around its master of lead guitar Mark 'the Shark' Shelton
Manilla Road was created by Shelton in 1977 with high school friends Benny Munkirs, Rick Fisher
and brothers Robert and Scott Park
. After playing in local bars, the group first gained attention with their song "Herman Hill," inspired by the Herman Hill riot
. Their first album Invasion
was released in 1980 on the band's own label, Roadster Records
. Between this time and their next release the band recorded material for an album to be titled The Dreams Of Eschaton
, however this was not released until 2002 (under the name Mark of the Beast
) as they were not happy with the sound. Shelton has been quoted as saying the music was "not metal enough" and "sounded like shit." Despite this Mark of the Beast
was critically well received when it was eventually released. These early albums have more in common with progressive rock
and proto-heavy metal than the band's later epic metal sound.
The next record was Metal, which began to define the future musical direction of Manilla Road. Their "classic" sound was solidified with the epic release of Crystal Logic in 1983.
The next five Manilla Road albums (along with a live release, "Roadkill") featured new drummer Randy Foxe, who had more of a thrash-oriented style than original drummer Rick Fisher. Along with Crystal Logic
, the new lineup's first two albums, Open the Gates
and The Deluge
, are generally considered to be classics in the field of epic heavy metal. It was on these three albums that Manilla Road's style became fully formed. Lyrics typically feature fantastic elements from Norse mythology, Arthurian legend or other literary sources. These are often combined in one setting, the concept album Atlantis Rising
, for example, features a war between the Æsir
, centered around the city of Atlantis
Mystification suffered from exceptionally poor production resulting, ironically, from the substandard equipment at a new studio the band hoped would improve their sound. The recent re-release has fixed this problem to a large extent. After Mystification came Out of the Abyss, widely criticised at the time for its thrash metal influences. The band released one more album, The Courts of Chaos (described by Shelton as "the first true Manilla Road masterpiece") before splitting up.
Circus Maximus and hiatus
In 1992 Mark Shelton recorded The Circus Maximus
with Aaron Brown and Andrew Coss. Despite having never been intended as a Manilla Road project, the album was released under this name at the record company's insistence. After this incident, Mark Shelton went on hiatus for nearly a decade.
Manilla Road re-formed and released Atlantis Rising
in 2001, again with Mark Shelton as the only original member. On this occasion, however, the sound was much more consistent with the Manilla Road of old and it was the band who decided to continue using the name. Their latest albums are Spiral Castle
published in 2002, Gates Of Fire
, in 2005, and Voyager
Original rhythm guitarists Robert Park's son started an alternative rock band in 2002, The Canadian Lawyers. The Canadian Lawyers
rhythm guitarist is also Scott Park's nephew.
Up the Hammer and Down the Nails
In 2007 Manilla Road was honored by Solemnity-Music in Germany with the release of The Riddle Masters (album) A Tribute to Manilla Road
This double disc release contains songs from 18 bands from all over the world playing their versions of Manilla Road's Classic's.
Norwegian Black Metal band Darkthrone mentioned the band in the song Raised On Rock on the 2007 album, F.O.A.D.