Register Forgot login?

© 2002-2019
Encyclopaedia Metallum

Best viewed
without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
or higher.

Privacy Policy

The band, the legend, The Deluge - 97%

Jophelerx, February 6th, 2012

In 1985, Manilla Road released their fourth album, Open the Gates, which introduced elements of thrash metal into their music for the first time. 1986's The Deluge is crunchier, darker, and heavier than Open the Gates, and the thrash influence is even more prevalent. However, since their debut album, Invasion, Mark Shelton had been taking the band in a more and more aggressive direction with each album; the advent of thrash metal almost could have been a coincidence. Although certainly influenced by thrash, Manilla Road was always going to play their own style of music, regardless of what anyone else was doing, and The Deluge is a fine example of this. Everything here sounds sharper than it did on the last album; Shelton opts to make liberal use of the raspy screams we've heard only infrequently in the past, and even his clean singing sounds a bit less warm and more sinister than it did on Open the Gates. The guitar tone is a vast improvement over OtG's as well, with the riffs crisp and up front, rather than muffled and murky as they were previously. As for the songwriting, it's significantly more coherent and more concise than we saw on OtG. Most of the songs are only around three minutes long, and, rather than overuse a riff until it becomes dull, they get right to the point, letting the musical ideas continue only as long as necessary before moving on. Additionally, there are very few poor ideas here, and although that could be said of most Manilla Road albums, this is even more consistent than usual.

"Dementia" is a dark, turbulent, angry maelstrom of ideas, which, from the great opening riff to the killer solo with some of Mark's best screams, never fails to disappoint; the progression of ideas feels very organic, and all the ideas are excellent. "Shadows in the Black" is a bit of an oddball for the album, clocking in at over five minutes, but that can be explained by the somber, reflective intro, which perfectly captures a feeling of puzzlement and wonder - not for the last time on this album, evoking thoughts of the ocean, fitting with the title The Deluge. It eventually becomes a very thrashy number with particularly good leads, which quickly build tension into the chorus, which again almost evokes a maelstrom. There's not a single bad idea in this song, either.

"Divine Victim" is probably the weakest song here, but it's definitely not bad. It merely isn't as powerful or coherent as the rest of the album, evoking an almost carefree atmosphere that wouldn't be amiss on Crystal Logic. The ideas are good, but unfortunately they tend to feel a bit overused. Still, definitely solid, catchy, and worth listening to. "Hammer of the Witches" is again dark and angry, the fast, punchy riffs of the verses quickly exploding into the enraged, malicious chorus. "BURN THEM ALL!!!!!!" The vocals from Shelton here are fantastic, fitting the song perfectly. Although there aren't many ideas here, the ones here are executed excellently. "Morbid Tabernacle" is a suspenseful, ominous instrumental with layered synths, which is the perfect prelude to "Isle of the Dead", making the listener feel as though he's traveling through forbidden territory to some dark, unspeakable place, which, it turns out, is the "isle of the Dead". This song opens out with a strange, ominous riff that indeed makes one feel as those he's passed into some half-real, murky section of water that's half in the underworld. The rest of the song is great too, maybe the darkest one here, with the huge, evil riffs and Shelton's macabre vocals leaving nothing to be desired. This is one of the catchiest numbers too, and it's often hard not to sing along during the chorus. "The fires buuurn, blood-reeeed, upon the, ISLE OF THE DEEEEAAAAAD!!!!"

"Taken by Storm" starts off with a bang, with some familiarly macabre and aggressive vocal lines from Shelton. Shelton is really the spotlight throughout the song, although the riffs are great as usual. This is fast, catchy, and one of the thrashiest things here - and, as with the rest of the album, is consistently great. The title track is a beast all its own, while still fitting into the style of the rest of the album. The opening riff is ominous, wistful, mystical, and almost mournful at the same time; along with the lyrics evoking thoughts of some ancient, unknown land of a terrible magic long forgotten. We then get more riffs, which are monumental enough to dwarf many of the others we've already heard. They're dark, plodding, and majestic all at the same time. Not to mention the entire song has that aquatic feel I mentioned earlier, accented particularly by Shelton's slightly murky vocals, which evoke the sense that he's singing from Atlantis itself. The entire thing just builds up throughout its duration, like Atlantis's rise to power, finally climaxing and then fading away with a familiarly ominous outro, the sound of waves making the listener feel as though all of Atlantis's majesty is now washed away, although whether or not it's still out there somewhere, hidden to man , is unknown.

"Friction in Mass", although perhaps dwarfed by the title track, is one of the best songs here, and probably the thrashiest, creating a strange, chaotic, arcane atmosphere, as though some great war of magic is currently in progress, or as though Shelton has found some hidden secret which unlocked to him a deadly world better left undiscovered. Particularly of old is the ominous acoustic section where Shelton dramatically speaks the lyrics, as though he's narrating a tale of an ancient conflict of powerful magic. Despite being over six minutes, this is as consistent as the rest of the album. Finally we have the short instrumental "Rest in Pieces", which has speedy, chaotic dual leads that not only demonstrate guitar mastery, but are also tasteful enough that it doesn't feel like pointless showing off, as there's quite a bit going on here despite the brevity. Overall, this is simply an excellent album. Is it the best Manilla Road album? It's hard to say, as others are very consistent and concise as well, but it's certainly one of the best. To any fan of Manilla Road, epic metal, or thrash metal, I'd say give this album a try, you won't be disappointed.