Manilla Road - The Deluge (Black vinyl)
"The Deluge" is an album that is jam-packed with countless driving riffs and melodies, complete with Mark Shelton's warbling, Skeletor-like vocals telling tales of Atlantean legend. Shelton is a shamelessly showoffy guitarist, but unlike many other bands, this works to Manilla Road's advantage, as songs like "Shadow In The Black" and the title track use guitar solos as a means of storytelling, with the solos being emotive and expressive, invoking the feeling of waves crashing over the city of Atlantis.
The shorter, more concise tracks are no less powerful, with songs like "Hammer Of The Witches" and "Divine Victim" displaying bludgeoning riffs and powerful soloing. Special attention should also be given to drummer Randy Foxe, who bashes the skins with a frenzied power that brings the songs to a new level of intensity.
Of course, it wouldn't be a Manilla Road album without some clean interludes, such as on the title track, and the eerie-sounding "Isle Of The Dead." Regrettably, the album ends with "Rest In Pieces," a largely pointless track that is just another excuse for Shelton to show off his impressive guitar skills.
"The Deluge" is an absolute triumph of a heavy metal album, delivering an experience that is enthralling and exciting, and is a must-listen for any fan of American heavy metal.