"Invasion / Metal" (Cult Metal Classics; 2004)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

This double-CD includes the first two Manilla Road albums, "Invasion" (1981) and "Metal" (1982). They've been re-mastered from the original vinyl but they still sound like they probably sounded when they were first released (sans any vinyl pops and hisses, of course). So, the first thing you've got to get past here is the sound quality, which isn't up to today's standards.

That being said, the limitations captured herein are part of the magic of re-visiting Manilla Road.

"Invasion" is six tracks and nearly fifty minutes of hard rock that would have been more at place in the late '60s, early '70s than the '80s. The music here brings to mind the more obscure stuff of Deep Purple and Black Sabbath, without the finally honed perfection of those bands.

"Metal" steps forward a little bit, with seven tracks that sound at times a little like early Triumph or Grim Reaper, but never comes close to what we call metal today or, for that matter, what we called "metal" ten years ago.

Both CDs are obviously relics of the past. Nothing here sounds remotely modern and, though I wouldn't go as far as to say these albums haven't aged well, let's just say that they show their age.

Still, as a history lesson, these CDs are pretty interesting stuff. Although their name may not be uttered as often as the aforementioned Black Sabbath and Deep Purple, Manilla Road are an influential band. And the quality of the music contained in these two CDs is strong enough to make one curious about the band's later material. And there's lot of that to be explored.

Manilla Road: Mark Shelton; Scott Park; Rick Fisher

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright 2005 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 11 Sep 2022 13:59:46 -0400.