Manilla Road
Playground of the Damned
Style: Heavy Metal
Release date: 12 August, 2011
Playing time: 47:43

We have been waiting since 2008's excellent “Voyager” for a new album from Manilla Road. Finally the new album from the Americans is here. It album number fifteen since 1980 but I am always excited about new stuff from this legendary but also underrated band. As always a new album from Manilla Road sound a bit different than the previous. The epic traditional metal bordering on doom metal remains a constant factor though.

The material on “Playground of the Damned” is as strong as on “Voyager” if a bit less thrashy but considering the epic nature of the bands music a more polished and “finished” production would have been beneficial. Well actually a better production would be beneficial on most Manilla Road albums since it has never been their strong side. Quite a shame considering their usually strong material.

The vocal side of Manilla Road primarily by Mark Shelton is an acquired taste for many. Personally I have always liked his voice and I think it really gives the band a cool trade mark sound. The guitar playing by Shelton on “Playground of the Damned” is outright excellent and the drumming is very interesting if not a bit to “modern” sounding for the old school purists.

This album is sold stuff from a legendary band if not on par with their best material. If you are a fan of this style of music you should really check it out.

01. Jackhammer (05:27)
02. Into the Maelstrom (04:47)
03. Playground of the Damned (04:47)
04. Grindhouse (07:51)
05. Abattoir de la Mort (07:51)
06. Fire of Ashurbanipal (04:41)
07. Brethren of the Hammer (05:03)
08. Art of War (07:16)
Label: High Roller Records
Distribution: Pure Steel Records
Artwork rating: 83/100
Reviewed by: Steen Schøn
Date: 25 August, 2011