First of all I would like to start this review pointing how important is the fact that Shadow Kingdom Records from USA re releases a series of Metal albums that may have been out of print in their original forms but still remain classic and important pieces of Metal history. From the HellHound Records back catalog, to the Cassle or Old Yron re issues and now this re pressing of the absolute Manilla Road classic, the label gives the chance to a new wave of Metal fans to discover bands and albums that could mark their Metal journey forever. The newcomers got the chance to grab those classics on official re issues, packed with tones of info and photos with the music brought to the listener under the best sound quality. So when we have such advantages in a re issue there is no use for crappy bootlegs or mp3 downloads. A re presentation of Metal history the way it deserves to be... Well how else can someone refer to "The Deluge" album by the Epic Metallers from Wichita, Kansas, USA if not as a -very important- piece of Metal history?
Mark "The Shark" Shelton, the mailman of Manilla Road points in the inner notes of the re issue -that have been written by himself- that "The Deluge" is one of the most important albums that Manilla Road did in the 80s. He got a point. "Crystal Logic" may be the album that would eternally mark the Manilla Road 80s era as it is simply the favorite of the fans, but if we focus closer to the album -both on music and lyrics-, we will find out that there are a lot of treasures hidden in this masterpiece, treasures that are waiting to be discovered in each and every listening. So "The Deluge" has to be pointed for sure as one of the best Manilla Road albums, one of the best albums in the vein of Epic Metal and probably the first album that presents a more technical and complex approaching of the music by the band members.
I would try to recall my own first feelings when I first heard the album, it would be a somehow difficult task as I got to go fifteen years back, but I will make a try. I remembered that the album totally overtook me by storm even from the very first listening, the bombastic Epic Metal sound of Manilla Road was there even more powerful. But after I started to listen to the album again and again I discovered that the music trapped inside there was much more than a bunch of skull crushing Epic Metal songs. Starting to compare the stuff with the previous four Manilla Road albums I found myself discovering that the songs included in "the Deluge" was the most challenging ones that the band has written so far, with every new listening a new musical surprise was waiting for me.
It is a fact that the line up of this record can be mentioned as the golden line up of Manilla Road. A strange Muse delivers absolute inspiration to The Shark that composes the ultimate Manilla Road classics, songs like "Divine Victim", "Isle Of The Dead", "Hammer Of The Witches", "Isle Of The Dead" and "The Deluge", his guitar and voice was -and will be forever- the ultimate Manilla Road trademarks, but the main secret weapon in this album is the chemistry around the band, a band that sound so fucking sold and heavy like a fist Scott (Scooter) Park and his bass lines and of course the mighty drumming of Randy (Thrasher) Foxe are the absolute pieces of the final magic.
Literature, history and fantasy are the sources of the Epic Saga inside each and every lyric of Mr Mark Shelton. Open the booklet and read them carefully while you are travelling through the music...
Ok now I got to find suitable words to describe the music of one of the greatest Epic Metal records of all time. difficult task... This obscure, epic, dark, pounding and in battle-mode music has not be composed to be described with common words, it has been composed to be listened LOUD. So if you are not aware of this album it MUST be the next one for you to hear, if you are already aware of the magic, you understand what I mean, right?
The raw, "back to basics" productions does enough justice to the songs and when you hear each and every one of the tunes included in this album you got the feeling that the band is right in front of you performing live. It is very difficult to discover many Metal records that are spreading SO MUCH energy on every listening and this is what I want to express when I mention that to hear this album is like to witness a band's live performance, they have managed to trap all their power and their passion to the recorded music.
Ok time to sum things up. "The Deluge" by Manilla Road: An absolute classic. Nothing more should be written for this album. For 25 years now it shines like a real diamond. If you do not have it, you are missing a very important part of Metal History.