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LegendMaker
Metalhead

Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2010 11:24 am
Posts: 1609
Location: France
PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2013 12:25 pm 
 

Mysticaloldbard wrote:
SKR is streaming a song from Mysterium! Check it out! The CD is up for pre-order, too.

http://shadowkingdomrecords.bandcamp.com/album/mysterium

Pros: The return to somewhat reasonable track lengths is a good thing. Since 'Atlantis Rising', anything shorter than 7-8 minutes was either an interlude or apparently to be considered a "short" number, whereas in the godly years (83-89), even the "epics" often clocked in at under 6 minutes, and that was more than sufficient. This here song is no "epic", it's just a standard song and 2'45" would have been an even better length for its contents, but 4'05" might mean Mark finally noticed longer and more repetitive is not better.

Cons: Others have mentioned the main issues already, notably failsafe and MARSDUDE, but I'll be a bit more blunt.

The riffing is generic. 2 riffs, one of which barely even qualifies as a riff (the 2-chords,-a-bar-each passage used as chorus, interlude and bridge); the main riff is a pedestrian collage from the exact same "brooding" building blocks Mark's been limiting himself to for almost every post-2000 riff, especially on 'Atantlis Rising', 'Spiral Castle' and 'Voyager'. Meh. Whatever happened to constantly evolving and growing riffs that tell a poignant, unique story as they roll?

HellRoadie disappoints. Yeah, of course this is entirely sung by HellRoadie, and he sounds farther removed from Shelton than ever. Completely lost the nasal quality to his clean vocals, but forgot to replace it with anything special. He sounds okay, but not on par with the unique, awesome and highly emotional vocals MR has used us to. Also, every vocal line finishes flat as fuck.

Nice drumming, Phil Rudd. So, they said this new German drummer had accepted the challenge of bringing back Randy Foxe's magic, overwhelmingly awesome and busy drumming style. Well, he failed very, very hard. This song's drumming is every bit as unsuitable for Manilla Road as that of every post-reunion album, unfortunately. Basic beats that merely follow the riffs while being as discreet and economical as possible, and little to no rolls or fills, let alone vibrant and powerful ones like Foxe's.

The production is both modern-cold and demo-noisy. Fuzzy and overcompressed guitar tone, overmixed vocals with far too much reverb (especially considering they're nothing spectacular), overmixed bass (by the way, the bass lines match the drums, I'm afraid: not only do they fail to match 'Mystification', they're leagues behind 'Spiral Castle' as well), papier-mâché snare, tom and bass drums with digital-effect sounding cymbals... And the overall result doesn't sound cohesive, organic or warm at all.

Had this been a Manilla Road worship band, I would have thought "Yeah, that's not too bad, kids". Considering this is sold as the actual Manilla Road, and somewhat presented as a back-to-the-roots effort, I say "Sorry, guys, I'll spin 'Mystification' again now, thank you very much for trying, though. Lotsa love, Legend."
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Thiestru
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Joined: Thu Oct 09, 2008 9:18 am
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Location: United States
PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2013 1:03 pm 
 

MARSDUDE wrote:
Were the vocals that you hated on Playground Hellroadie's or Mark's? Because Mark is quite old now and can't sing like he used to, so his voice sounds old, wise, and weary. Hellroadie, however, does seem to be trying to attain his own vocal identity, and doesn't seem quite as content imitating Mark from 20 years ago. I know, however, that some MR fans don't like his voice.

I've read that Mark and Hellroadie pretty much share the vocals 50/50 on Mysterium.


It's been so long since I listened to it that I'm not really sure, but I'm going to have to assume both. And see, I thought that maybe Mark was just past his prime too, until I heard the Hellwell album, where he sounds great. I was also fine with Hellroadie on earlier MR albums. *shrug*

Anyway, I'm deliberately not going to listen to this new song until the album comes out. I've jumped the gun enough times in the past, so I know what will happen: I'll listen to it a lot, then when I hear it in the context of the album, I think, 'Oh, this is that one song I've already heard a bunch of times,' so I either want to skip it, or just pay less attention to it. Really hurts the experience.

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MARSDUDE
Metalhead

Joined: Fri Apr 29, 2005 8:17 pm
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Location: Canada
PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2013 1:04 pm 
 

Based off this one song, I prefer Jonny Thumper Benson, from Hellwell, over Neudi. We'll see how I feel once I hear the whole album.

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failsafeman
Digital Dictator

Joined: Wed Sep 01, 2004 8:45 am
Posts: 9725
Location: United States
PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2013 1:50 pm 
 

LegendMaker wrote:
Mysticaloldbard wrote:
SKR is streaming a song from Mysterium! Check it out! The CD is up for pre-order, too.

http://shadowkingdomrecords.bandcamp.com/album/mysterium

Pros: The return to somewhat reasonable track lengths is a good thing. Since 'Atlantis Rising', anything shorter than 7-8 minutes was either an interlude or apparently to be considered a "short" number, whereas in the godly years (83-89), even the "epics" often clocked in at under 6 minutes, and that was more than sufficient. This here song is no "epic", it's just a standard song and 2'45" would have been an even better length for its contents, but 4'05" might mean Mark finally noticed longer and more repetitive is not better.

Cons: Others have mentioned the main issues already, notably failsafe and MARSDUDE, but I'll be a bit more blunt.

The riffing is generic. 2 riffs, one of which barely even qualifies as a riff (the 2-chords,-a-bar-each passage used as chorus, interlude and bridge); the main riff is a pedestrian collage from the exact same "brooding" building blocks Mark's been limiting himself to for almost every post-2000 riff, especially on 'Atantlis Rising', 'Spiral Castle' and 'Voyager'. Meh. Whatever happened to constantly evolving and growing riffs that tell a poignant, unique story as they roll?

HellRoadie disappoints. Yeah, of course this is entirely sung by HellRoadie, and he sounds farther removed from Shelton than ever. Completely lost the nasal quality to his clean vocals, but forgot to replace it with anything special. He sounds okay, but not on par with the unique, awesome and highly emotional vocals MR has used us to. Also, every vocal line finishes flat as fuck.

Nice drumming, Phil Rudd. So, they said this new German drummer had accepted the challenge of bringing back Randy Foxe's magic, overwhelmingly awesome and busy drumming style. Well, he failed very, very hard. This song's drumming is every bit as unsuitable for Manilla Road as that of every post-reunion album, unfortunately. Basic beats that merely follow the riffs while being as discreet and economical as possible, and little to no rolls or fills, let alone vibrant and powerful ones like Foxe's.

The production is both modern-cold and demo-noisy. Fuzzy and overcompressed guitar tone, overmixed vocals with far too much reverb (especially considering they're nothing spectacular), overmixed bass (by the way, the bass lines match the drums, I'm afraid: not only do they fail to match 'Mystification', they're leagues behind 'Spiral Castle' as well), papier-mâché snare, tom and bass drums with digital-effect sounding cymbals... And the overall result doesn't sound cohesive, organic or warm at all.

Had this been a Manilla Road worship band, I would have thought "Yeah, that's not too bad, kids". Considering this is sold as the actual Manilla Road, and somewhat presented as a back-to-the-roots effort, I say "Sorry, guys, I'll spin 'Mystification' again now, thank you very much for trying, though. Lotsa love, Legend."

You're not necessarily wrong about any of this stuff, though I do disagree with the severity of your opinions (except the drumming, there are clearly lots of fills and rolls, listen to it again). But I think you overlook the atmosphere of the song; it's clearly not trying to be a riff monster of a song, rather a moodier, intentionally more repetitive song like "Into the Maelstrom" from the previous album (which, surprise surprise, was the main song they used as a preview for Playground). The atmosphere is really very good, especially during the slower parts and during the solo, and despite other elements that have been highlights in the various eras of the Road's career, the reason they're my favorite band has always been atmosphere, which is clearly intact here.
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Empyreal
The Final Frontier

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2013 3:08 pm 
 

Yeah, I dunno, I think the production sounds good. It's not clear and polished, if that was what BH and MalignantThrone expected, but MR have always had production like this to a degree; rough and ready, with a big focus on chunky rhythms. I like it a lot better than the production on Playground, for example.

And I dunno, there is just something cool about this song. I like the way it builds up and I like the riff. Not their most original riff ever but it works as an opener, anyway. I'll have to buy the album soon and see for myself what the whole thing is like.
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MARSDUDE
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2013 3:12 pm 
 

I'm eager to hear The Calling. It appears before the title track, which is the last song on the album, and features Hellwell himself on keyboards. I wonder if his part is background or forefront? The name 'The Calling' makes me think it could be just Hellwell blaring away on the keys as an intro to the finale, the epic title track.

Makes me think of Morbid Tabernacle from The Deluge. I quite enjoyed that song.

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Abominatrix
Harbinger of Metal

Joined: Fri Oct 24, 2003 12:15 pm
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2013 3:46 pm 
 

Legend Maker, you are exaggerating some with your comments on recent Road stuff. They almost always had long songs on all of their albums, although you're right that the 87/89 period was probably the most concise. Still, from the post-2000 albums, we've got a load of songs under six minutes, and only three from Playground exceed that duration. Seems to me that you're struggling for nice things to say about this new track, which is sad indeed. I haven't even been able to listen to the song yet. :lol:
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Razakel
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Joined: Wed Dec 06, 2006 8:36 pm
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2013 4:38 pm 
 

Ilwhyan wrote:
He's the resident mallcore drone, just consider his opinion on anything void. ;)


Uncool.

I actually pretty much agree with the detractors so far, and I am a Manilla Road fan. I really can't even get beyond the vocals which are shockingly weak and passionless. Sounds like someone standing in the studio with their hands in their pockets reading lyrics while rolling their eyes out of boredom. The music's alright, but there's nothing exactly going on that's overtly cool. Thoroughly unimpressed and really disappointed, as I was looking forward to this album quite a bit.

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Acrobat
Eric Olthwaite

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2013 6:23 pm 
 

It's not the best performance I've heard from Hellroadie, but the melodies themselves are still really nice. Good song, overall, I say. Not amazing, but it's still cool. I thought the bass and drums were fairly involved (and can we really pretend that Scott Parks was a staggeringly busy player anyway? :P ) and while it wasn't a super riffy song it certainly did enough for me. Cool solo section, too. :D
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LegendMaker
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2013 10:04 pm 
 

failsafeman wrote:
You're not necessarily wrong about any of this stuff, though I do disagree with the severity of your opinions (except the drumming, there are clearly lots of fills and rolls, listen to it again).

I've given this song at least 15 listens so far, the last couple of which were at your suggestion, focusing entirely on the drumming or lack thereof. I'm happy to rephrase: little to no rolls or fills good enough for me to notice or remember them, let alone vibrant and powerful ones like Foxe's. Additionally, as I said in my diagnosis of the production job, the drums sound like shit and are the least audible thing in the mix, which of course doesn't help their cause. And I'd been told blablabla Randy Fucking Foxe yadda yadda the classic stuff blablabla left and right prior to being exposed to this first full song off of the album, which upped my expectations. Well, gentlemen, you had my curiosity, but now you have my disappointment.

failsafeman wrote:
The atmosphere

I see your point and I can relate. I have to admit it's probably the one thing from the classic days that is still there (aside from the solos, which I never had nor will ever have to complain about). This, to me, is sub-par Manilla Road material, but it still has a Manilla Road-ish atmosphere, true (and cool Shelton shredding). However, is the atmosphere alone enough? In this case, not for me. I have no doubt that Shelton and most probably his whole crew are passionate about what Manilla Road represents and sincere in their approach, and it shows. It's just that the results leave a lot to be desired in terms of content. I'd need a heavy dose of nostalgia and a serious saturation of the classic material to be content with this kind of stuff for my Manilla Road cravings. I'm not quite there yet, I still expect my MR songs to have mind-blowing riffs, amazing song structures and arrangements, stellar vocals and brilliant drumming, to populate their atmosphere. A favorable production job is a plus, but not mandatory (although I know I'd appreciate 'Courts of Chaos' significantly more if it sounded less like shit).

Abominatrix wrote:
Legend Maker, you are exaggerating some with your comments on recent Road stuff. [...] Seems to me that you're struggling for nice things to say about this new track, which is sad indeed.

Exaggerating? Who, me?! Never! Or rather all the time. :lol:
You guessed correctly. I said it before, I want to love post-reunion Manilla Road, I really do. It'd be so awesome if all those albums didn't sound to my ears like an interminable rehearsal/jamming session loosely based off of "Spirits of the Dead" and "The Prophecy"! But it does, it really does. I'm sick and tired of these "here comes the baaad guuuyyy" slight riff variations. Damn. :(

Abominatrix wrote:
I haven't even been able to listen to the song yet.

I'll be curious to read your opinion once you do, especially on the drumming.

ANationalAcrobat wrote:
can we really pretend that Scott Parks was a staggeringly busy player anyway?

No, he was rather sparse and discreet too, but he provided the necessary support for the galactic riffs and giant drums around him, and could be quite groovy at times, especially when they didn't double the rhythm guitar tracks for the solo sections. I think the most demanding bass lines MR ever had were Mark Anderson's on 'Spiral Castle' and they were pretty interesting, but does this formula fit MR best? I don't think so, gimme Park's shy bass lines and Foxe's thunderstorm drumming any day.

Ilwhyan wrote:
As for the people who complained about the riffs and the songwriting, I really don't know what you were looking for here. I though it was really good.

MARSDUDE wrote:
I guess they were expecting an epic or something. Wait for the title track, people. That one should be fuckin' epic.

I was hoping for something a little closer to this.

Xlxlx wrote:
would it be crazy to say that there are some Omen vibes to be found in that piece? Particularly in those galloping, crushing riffs..... [...] maybe it's more the feeling of the music than the actual playing, but I'm pretty sure that I get some Omen vibes from it.

Not to get technical on your ass, dude (I couldn't if I wanted to), but I don't think there's a single gallop in that song. The main riff has some syncopated parts, but no gallop; not to my ears at least. That aside, I can't find a single thing that would evoke Omen in that song either. Maybe you have later Omen in mind?
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Xlxlx
Metal freak

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2013 10:19 pm 
 

LegendMaker wrote:
Xlxlx wrote:
would it be crazy to say that there are some Omen vibes to be found in that piece? Particularly in those galloping, crushing riffs..... [...] maybe it's more the feeling of the music than the actual playing, but I'm pretty sure that I get some Omen vibes from it.

Not to get technical on your ass, dude (I couldn't if I wanted to), but I don't think there's a single gallop in that song. The main riff has some syncopated parts, but no gallop; not to my ears at least. That aside, I can't find a single thing that would evoke Omen in that song either. Maybe you have later Omen in mind?

Nah, because whenever I talk about Omen, I exclusively refer to the first three albums (which are the only ones that really matter regarding them, as far as I'm concerned). As I said in the previous page though, it's most likely about the feeling that I get from the song than the actual playing. I won't expect you to share my sentiments though, not after seeing your rather negative opinion on it :-P
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MARSDUDE
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2013 4:07 pm 
 

Anybody heard it yet?

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LegendMaker
Metalhead

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2013 5:24 pm 
 

Looks like Empyreal did. Edit: never mind, just saw your reply there. :D
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MaelstromMind
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2013 5:59 pm 
 

The album is up right now on spotify. I'm reserving judgment until I've given it a few listens.
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juicebitch
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 02, 2013 8:06 am 
 

!!!!!!!!!!!
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MARSDUDE
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 02, 2013 12:42 pm 
 

Someone should put the lyrics up, or else I'll have to when I finally get this beast.

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BlackGoat
Metal newbie

Joined: Thu Aug 22, 2002 10:52 pm
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 9:52 am 
 

MARSDUDE wrote:
Anyone see the new artwork for the reissue of "Metal"?

Image

http://www.hrrecords.de/high_roller/sit ... php?id=302

OCTOBER 19th

Can't wait.


WOW, that looks like total shit.
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BlackGoat
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 9:55 am 
 

MARSDUDE wrote:
Anybody heard it yet?


Bought it on saturday at Metal Assault. Great show there, they played "Crystal Logic" and "Open The Gates" completely. Unfortunately the new album is kinda "meeh" again. They can still do the old style vocals obviously, they do them live after all but the new material is all drawn out and boring. I guess they just don't have it in them anymore to write songs like they used to.
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MARSDUDE
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 10:35 am 
 

BlackGoat wrote:

WOW, that looks like total shit.


Uhhh, have you seen the original? This looks much better.

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Chaosmonger
Metalhead

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 12:13 pm 
 

I kind of prefer the simplicity of the original but this one has a silly charm to it as well

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Ilwhyan
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 12:45 pm 
 

As expected, Hellroadie has a more prominent role on Mysterium. I think he has improved considerably from Playground. The lack of passion and menace in his tone was very detrimental there, but he sounds more involved this time. My biggest gripe is that his lack of range doesn't even begin to make up for Shelton's silence.
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Jonpo
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 2:11 pm 
 

Mysterium is growing on me, which is to say Hellroadie is growing on me. I personally think this is the flattest he's ever sounded. Somehow (fanboyism prevailing?) though it keeps sounding better. He's obviously been instructed not to flat-out mimmick Shelton anymore which I personally find dejecting, as that was his best quality.

I would have preferred at least one more short/fast song like Stand Your Ground I think.
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BastardHead
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 2:17 pm 
 

Jonpo wrote:
(fanboyism prevailing)


Jokes aside, I'm actually listening to it for real this time, so I can have a bit more validity in saying if sucks or not. I'm still just on the first track, which I've made clear that I think it awful, so the rest of this really had better blow me away.
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BlackGoat
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 2:20 pm 
 

MARSDUDE wrote:
BlackGoat wrote:

WOW, that looks like total shit.


Uhhh, have you seen the original? This looks much better.


I got a copy of the original from Mark when I visited him in Wichita in 1999 so yeah, I've seen it.
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Jonpo
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 2:29 pm 
 

BastardHead wrote:
Jonpo wrote:
(fanboyism prevailing)


Jokes aside, I'm actually listening to it for real this time, so I can have a bit more validity in saying if sucks or not. I'm still just on the first track, which I've made clear that I think it awful, so the rest of this really had better blow me away.


Seems like an exercise in futility to me. You and I both know you aren't going to like it. I guess if you're that determined to have an opinion...I just don't get that.

I love The Calling and think it would have made a great segue into one more short scorcher before the epic. Speaking of the title track I didn't notice initially last night how tasteful and moody the intro is. You can tell the story means a lot to Mark, being about a distant relative.
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BastardHead
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 2:40 pm 
 

"Only the Brave" just started and really some of the problems I had with "The Grey God Passes" were addressed. When the pace picks up it's really cool. I maintain the vocals sound like absolute butt and the guitar tone seems wrong at first, but really it isn't that bad. The mid-paces songs bore the hell out of me when there isn't a solo going on. The leadwork is actually really, really good and is by far the most interesting aspect for me so far. I'm not feeling this atmosphere y'all keep harping about and both vocalists sound tired and weak, but the soloing is good and the fast songs are fun. So it's a wash really, two huge things that bring it down and two huge things that I like.
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Empyreal
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 3:03 pm 
 

It's a good, solid album. A lot of the tracks in the middle like "Do What Thou Will" and "Hallowed Be Thy Grave" are good rather than great, and overall most of the album is a bit safe, but I really enjoy listening to it, and Shelton just has a way of stringing together a really complete-feeling, whole album full of epic heavy metal. "The Fountain" and "Battle of Bonchester Bridge" are the best tracks, with the title track not far behind, but all the others are rock-solid MR fare that any fan will enjoy.

Really can't see BH's criticism of the vocalists sounding tired and weak, or of anything being 'boring'...no it doesn't sound like German speed metal or anything, but eh, I dunno man, doesn't bore me at all. ;)
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MARSDUDE
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 3:17 pm 
 

BlackGoat wrote:
I got a copy of the original from Mark when I visited him in Wichita in 1999 so yeah, I've seen it.


Right, I've got it too. The original cover blows, and Mark thought so too. Which is why the new one was made.

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lord_ghengis
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 3:54 pm 
 

Yeah I'm getting a usual sort of Manila Road response to this, passable riffing most of the time, terrible vocals and far less interesting music while there are vocals, and pretty darn rocking soloing. Guitar tone is ok, way better than the bedroom sound of Playground.
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Xlxlx
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 5:20 pm 
 

I don't see why people complain so much about the guitar tone on this thing. It's typical of Manilla Road; dusty, cracky, and ancient sounding, like the creaking of a ghost ship's hull. If anyone expected something else regarding that department, then well..... You simply aren't being realistic.
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lord_ghengis
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 5:27 pm 
 

I don't see how you get "creaking of ghost ship's hull" out of garage band quality, but good for you I guess.
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Xlxlx
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 5:41 pm 
 

Well, I happen to be a rather imaginative person, so maybe there's that :-P

I stand by my previous statement though.
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Jonpo
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 6:00 pm 
 

Could some of the people complaining about the guitar tone link me to some examples of modern albums with a sound they would prefer the Road to have? I'm just curious here. Because to me one of the absolute greatest things about Mark and the band is their refusal to convert to a completely modern sound. There are traces of modernism, but they always retain a really great crunchy guitar tone. I guess I prefer bedroom/garage sounds by far.
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Last edited by Jonpo on Tue Feb 05, 2013 6:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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lord_ghengis
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 6:12 pm 
 

Yes because you can only choose between full modernity and cheap sounding rubbish even by 80s standards, there is no middle ground.

Note I think this album sounds ok, garagey but solid enough, Playground is the one I feel disdain towards.
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Jonpo
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 6:26 pm 
 

...Did I say that? I'm asking for someone to show me the middle ground.
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lord_ghengis
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 6:36 pm 
 

I'm not a big trad guy so I personally don't have any favourite guitar tones of the style, but Slough Feg's sound on Traveller would work Id think.
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failsafeman
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 6:40 pm 
 

lord_ghengis wrote:
Note I think this album sounds ok, garagey but solid enough, Playground is the one I feel disdain towards.

I actually really really liked the production on Playground, much more than Mysterium's in fact (which I don't think is bad). It's unorthodox, but it's far from bedroom; he clearly spent a lot of time getting the sound he got, though you may not like it. Do you actually have a real copy of the album, or did you pirate it? There was a really bad vinyl rip of Playground that was going around for a while that made a lot of people think the album itself had far worse production than it did.
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lord_ghengis
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 6:43 pm 
 

I might have that bad vinyl rip. So I guess that is something to be looked into for me.
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Empyreal
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 7:25 pm 
 

I didn't like the production on Playground (and I did buy it - the songs are pretty good, but the production is way too flat and cardboard sounding), but the Mysterium production sounds fine to me. Nice, heavy, earthy sound. Garagey isn't a word I'd use to describe it at all.
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LegendMaker
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 8:57 pm 
 

As far as the production jobs go for the post-reunion albums, I find Voyager's the best balanced and most satisfying of the bunch, followed by Spiral Castle's and Atlantis Rising's. Gates of Fire's production has some serious issues to my ears, namely the drums and vocals are too prominent and the rhythm guitar parts are under-mixed. Playground's production is good in and of itself, just not very MR sounding. I'd say Mysterium's production job is the weakest they've had since [edit:] Courts of Chaos, actually. At any rate, if it were up to me the entire studio used for Out of the Abyss would have been frozen in time with all the equipment and technicians inside, and there you go.
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