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Manilla Road|Open The Gates (2015 Remaster - Ultimate Edition)

Open The Gates (2015 Remaster - Ultimate Edition)

Manilla Road

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Having made incredible strides while experimenting with several hard rock subgenres on their first three albums, Manilla Road appeared set to delve further into the fantasy-laced niche of epic heavy metal that had dominated 1983's Crystal Logic with its 1985 successor Open the Gates. Easily their heaviest, hardest-hitting, and most focused effort to date, the album clearly benefited from the arrival of powerhouse new drummer Randy Foxe, who provided a more limber and muscular attack behind the kit, and helped founders Mark Shelton (vocals/guitar) and Scott Park (bass) infuse Manilla Road's sound with the thrash-affected techniques that were popular of mid-'80s. Only a few cuts ("Heavy Metal to the World" and stunning opener "Metalstorm") resorted to all-out thrash, however, as the retooled trio continued to take the bulk of their cues from heavy metal's formative founders of the '70s and more recent New Wave of British Heavy Metal champions like Iron Maiden and Saxon. In fact, the latter's influence is particularly strong (to discerning metal geeks, anyway) in the growled narrations opening and closing the LP, and the guitar licks shot through the near-ten-minute sprawl of "The Ninth Wave" (originally featured with "Witches Brew" as a 12" vinyl bonus disc), which recalled Saxon's "The Eagle Has Landed." As for lyrically, Shelton was diving deep into his esoteric, mythological and sci-fi readings, with Arthurian legends providing the backbone to many of the compositions cited above, as well as the excellent, all-too-brief title cut. Another standout, the evocative semi-ballad "Astronomica" took a detour into outer space, but the suite of songs comprising the album's second half were almost entirely based on Norse legend, and included such highlights as the deliberate march of "The Fires of Mars" and cathartic soloing coda of "Witches Brew." In the end, the only thing that sounded amiss on Open the Gates (though not enough to derail the overall stellar results) was Shelton's voice, since he reportedly had to record all his vocals in a single night while sick as a dog. Other than that, it's easy to understand why Open the Gates has enjoyed such enduring popularity as one of Manilla Road's best loved albums, and why it remains, along with predecessor Crystal Logic and follow-up, The Deluge, a recommended first listen for new fans. [Dragonheart's 2001 digipack reissue of Open the Gates added two bonus live renditions of the title track and "Witches Brew."]
© Eduardo Rivadavia /TiVo

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Open The Gates (2015 Remaster - Ultimate Edition)

Manilla Road

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1
Metalström
00:05:22

Manilla Road, Performer - Mark Shelton, Composer, Writer

2015 ZYX Music 2015 ZYX Music

2
Open The Gates
00:02:24

Manilla Road, Performer - Mark Shelton, Composer, Writer

2015 ZYX Music 2015 ZYX Music

3
Astronomica
00:05:03

Manilla Road, Performer - Mark Shelton, Composer, Writer

2015 ZYX Music 2015 ZYX Music

4
Weavers Of The Web
00:04:20

Manilla Road, Performer - Mark Shelton, Composer, Writer

2015 ZYX Music 2015 ZYX Music

5
The Ninth Wave
00:09:33

Manilla Road, Performer - Mark Shelton, Composer, Writer

2015 ZYX Music 2015 ZYX Music

6
Heavy Metal To The World
00:03:23

Manilla Road, Performer - Mark Shelton, Composer, Writer

2015 ZYX Music 2015 ZYX Music

7
The Fires Of Mars
00:06:18

Manilla Road, Performer - Mark Shelton, Composer, Writer

2015 ZYX Music 2015 ZYX Music

8
Road Of Kings
00:05:51

Manilla Road, Performer - Mark Shelton, Composer, Writer

2015 ZYX Music 2015 ZYX Music

9
Hour Of The Dragon
00:04:49

Manilla Road, Performer - Mark Shelton, Composer, Writer

2015 ZYX Music 2015 ZYX Music

10
Witches Brew
00:06:24

Manilla Road, Performer - Mark Shelton, Composer, Writer

2015 ZYX Music 2015 ZYX Music

11
Touch The Sky (Early Rehearsal)
00:12:55

Manilla Road, Performer - Mark Shelton, Composer, Writer

2015 ZYX Music 2015 ZYX Music

12
Witches Brew (Live 1987)
00:05:41

Manilla Road, Performer - Mark Shelton, Composer, Writer

2015 ZYX Music 2015 ZYX Music

13
Weaver Of The Web (Live 2011)
00:04:03

Manilla Road, Performer - Mark Shelton, Composer, Writer

2015 ZYX Music 2015 ZYX Music

Album Description

Having made incredible strides while experimenting with several hard rock subgenres on their first three albums, Manilla Road appeared set to delve further into the fantasy-laced niche of epic heavy metal that had dominated 1983's Crystal Logic with its 1985 successor Open the Gates. Easily their heaviest, hardest-hitting, and most focused effort to date, the album clearly benefited from the arrival of powerhouse new drummer Randy Foxe, who provided a more limber and muscular attack behind the kit, and helped founders Mark Shelton (vocals/guitar) and Scott Park (bass) infuse Manilla Road's sound with the thrash-affected techniques that were popular of mid-'80s. Only a few cuts ("Heavy Metal to the World" and stunning opener "Metalstorm") resorted to all-out thrash, however, as the retooled trio continued to take the bulk of their cues from heavy metal's formative founders of the '70s and more recent New Wave of British Heavy Metal champions like Iron Maiden and Saxon. In fact, the latter's influence is particularly strong (to discerning metal geeks, anyway) in the growled narrations opening and closing the LP, and the guitar licks shot through the near-ten-minute sprawl of "The Ninth Wave" (originally featured with "Witches Brew" as a 12" vinyl bonus disc), which recalled Saxon's "The Eagle Has Landed." As for lyrically, Shelton was diving deep into his esoteric, mythological and sci-fi readings, with Arthurian legends providing the backbone to many of the compositions cited above, as well as the excellent, all-too-brief title cut. Another standout, the evocative semi-ballad "Astronomica" took a detour into outer space, but the suite of songs comprising the album's second half were almost entirely based on Norse legend, and included such highlights as the deliberate march of "The Fires of Mars" and cathartic soloing coda of "Witches Brew." In the end, the only thing that sounded amiss on Open the Gates (though not enough to derail the overall stellar results) was Shelton's voice, since he reportedly had to record all his vocals in a single night while sick as a dog. Other than that, it's easy to understand why Open the Gates has enjoyed such enduring popularity as one of Manilla Road's best loved albums, and why it remains, along with predecessor Crystal Logic and follow-up, The Deluge, a recommended first listen for new fans. [Dragonheart's 2001 digipack reissue of Open the Gates added two bonus live renditions of the title track and "Witches Brew."]
© Eduardo Rivadavia /TiVo

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