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Manilla Road > Out of the Abyss > Reviews > MasterOfTheNight
Manilla Road - Out of the Abyss

The Road of Light: Part VIII - 100%

MasterOfTheNight, June 9th, 2024

Out of the Abyss seems to be the album where people start to turn away from the Road of Light. You listen up to Mystification, then you get hit with this. It’s aggressive, you're taken aback by the rawness of it. The guitar tone definitely can come as a shock when you’re used to the other Manilla Road tones. Going from Mystification’s super unusual odd tone to this raw thrashy tone is some serious whiplash, but the style, not so much. The thrash-ness of this album is quite a big jump from the previous albums, yes, but you can still hear some signs of it in songs from The Deluge in Taken by Storm and Friction in Mass, and Mystification in Haunted Palace, Up from the Crypt and Death by the Hammer. People call this their thrash album when it’s really only got 3 or 4 songs that would count for that, it’s not as big a jump as people think. It’s still their most ripping, gut-fucking album, though.

Speaking of ripping… Whitechapel. Just, wow. THIS is pure thrash, this. 7 minutes of daggers up your cunt. I love it. The drumming on this is absolutely out of this world, and the utter speed of it! The last 40 seconds of this goes 230BPM, that’s fucking AGENT ORANGE SPEEDS. Manilla Road can fucking THRASH, man! Rites of Blood is awesome as well, a more mid-paced track. This one kinda shows off the one thing I dislike here, the stupid high notes. It doesn’t dull my enjoyment of the album pretty much at all, but it’s still kinda weird.

The title track fucking rips, another one over 200BPM. This one and the next two are a trilogy of sorts, all about the bard Taliesin and Cthulu. Out of the Abyss is quite a word salad lyrically, like they just threw a bunch of Lovecraftian and Manillan words together to make a fun song. Return of the Old Ones, however, is an absolute journey. This track is the crown jewel of the album to me. It’s one I don’t often listen to, it’s very difficult to just put this one on and enjoy it. You really have to be in the mood for it, you know? It’s very imposing, yet very beautiful. This is the song that convinced me to listen to this album more. Rounding out the trilogy is Black Cauldron, which is only interesting because there’s no solo, quite the rarity amongst Manilla Road tracks, or Mark Shelton tracks at all! Midnight Meat Train is another short one, but still interesting, since I wouldn’t expect such a relatively modern horror story to be adapted into a Manilla Road song. This song actually means that I can say Cthulu, the bard Taliesin, Jack the Ripper, the Pegasus and Bradley Cooper (who acted in Midnight Meat Train 2008) all have a connection to one album. Awesome.

The last three songs are where this album gets REALLY awesome. War in Heaven is the only Manilla Road song with a fade-in intro, woah!!!! It’s also just a badass fucking song, this is very similar to Return of the Old Ones but I think I slightly prefer that song. Return feels like a whole journey, while War is like a battle. It’s badass but not quite as badass as Return is. Still, a song about gods fighting is almost always cool. That ‘almost’ will be important in a later review, so stick with me!

Slaughterhouse is the song that exists to remind you that you’re listening to the thrash album. This one is actually mixed more poorly than the rest of the album, it’s fucking RAW. It’s fast without having a high BPM, this one rips. It is PURE thrash, it gets a mosh break and all! I love this song. I’m gonna try get my band to agree to cover it because I really wanna play it live! Anyway.The last song of this album (technically) is Helicon, which culminates all the styles this album has built up into one 6 and a half minute beast. It starts quite calmly, with some REALLY nice riffs. After about halfway, though, it goes super thrashy again. This one just shows both sides of this album flawlessly. It almost seems like a mini-Books of Skelos…

…that’s because it’s supposed to be. That song was supposed to end out this record but big goofy Chastain and Leviathan Records said no, so they essentially made this to act as a replacement for that song. They would put The Books on their next album… on only certain pressings since it didn’t fit on the vinyl… Arguably their best song sentenced to bonus track-dom on two seperate albums. Wow.

I was at first very wary of this one. Out of the Abyss is scary, it’s different, it doesn’t sound like Crystal Logic at all. When you understand this album, though, you will just fall in love with it, and open the gates (heh) to the rest of their discography. This is arguably one of the hardest Manilla Road albums to get into, alongside Gates of Fire and The Courts of Chaos. If you can get OOTA, you can get anything. Power-thrash masterpiece, that’s all I gotta say.