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Classic Review: Manilla Road - Open The Gates
Manilla Road
www.manillaroad.net
Open The Gates

Label: Dragonheart Records
Year released: 1985
Duration: 60:40
Tracks: 12
Genre: Heavy Metal

Rating: 4.25/5

Review online: February 23, 2004
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
Readers Rating
for:
Open The Gates

Rated 4.32/5 (86.38%) (47 Votes)
Review


This was the fourth album from Manilla Road, released in 1985 in the wake of the much-lauded "Crystal Logic", and was a breakthrough album for the band. Alongside "The Deluge" this CD is considered one of the 'Road's defining moments, and one of their best albums overall.

I think this one is better than "The Deluge", though I may be in the minority there. The songwriting is more consistent, and with winners like "The Ninth Wave" and "The Fires Of Mars" this album doesn't lack for high points either. It's harder to pick faves on this disc, because all the songs are so good, and there are no low points. That stated, this is one of the more inaccessible MR albums, and that is saying something. It took me several weeks to really get into this album, and I am a fan of this band. I have come to expect that albums by Manilla Road need time to set in your mind and get their hooks into you, but this one took longer than any of their other CDs. It's odd, because there are certainly no stylistic differences from other MR albums. You get the same direct yet strange riff-structures, the same gear-switching between pugilistic metal-hammer tunes and the longer, more moody epics. Mark Shelton sounds better to me here than on the next album, but he never really varies his style much, so if you never liked his vocals before, you won't like them here either. If you love them, as I do, this is not a problem.

Lyrically this is a concept album about Arthurian myth, despite the non-traditional song titles. The one exception is the 'radio-friendly' single "Heavy Metal To The World", which is still not a bad song.

To paraphrase Tony, what is cool about MR albums is not as much the music as it is the journey it takes you on and the places it goes. "Open The Gates" was the first Manilla Road album to keep such a consistent tone and really succeed at this. It may be hard to point to specific songs and say "This is why I love this album", but it takes you places. You either go, or you don't. But if you go, you will never really come back.

Additional Information

2002 re-issue reviewed here.


Track Listing:
  1. Metalstorm
  2. Open The Gates
  3. Astronomica
  4. Weavers Of The Web
  5. The Ninth Wave
  6. Heavy Metal To The World
  7. The Fires Of Mars
  8. Road Of Kings
  9. Hour Of The Dragon
  10. Witches Brew
  11. Open The Gates (live)
  12. Witches Brew (live)
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