With "Voyager" High Roller Records is proud to announce the vinyl successor to 2007's "Gates of Fire". Manilla Road is indeed a band which does not need an introduction, as the Amercian trio has shaped the form of Metal for the past four decades. The mentioned "Gates of Fire" was one of the best albums Manilla Road recorded over the last 20 years and the new "Voyager" is also bound to become a real classic in the band's repertoire.
Mark "The Shark" Shelton sees one main difference between both albums: "I think "Voyager" in a lot of ways is more aggressive than "Gates of Fire". It's really hard to categorize the music of Manilla Road. We experiment with so many different approaches and styles that we have become an entity that cannot be rolled up into one descriptive term. We tend to touch on old styles of the band in every album that we do now but at the same time we are always incorporating new ideas and sounds as well. I am proud to say that Manilla Road has never put out two albums that sound the same. As usual I think most Manilla Road albums take at least two or three listens to before you can really hear and feel the whole scheme behind the album. I think that is also partly due to the fact that we don't sound like any other band. "Voyager" has a darker feel to it, for me, than our last album. I have always tried to make the music of each project a sonic landscape of the story's concept. I think we get better at this with every album that we produce. I gave "Voyager" the really big balls sound but the production was not as sophisticated as that of "Gates of Fire". As usual every project leads to new knowledge and better ideas for the future. What I see that we have learned now is that we need to produce an album that has the tech of "Gates of Fire" and the balls of "Voyager" and we will have some really hot molten music on the grill then. I am really into the concept of "Voyager" because it has its roots in truth even though it is a fictional story. And besides vikings are just cool to write about."
Which is certainly true but has been done before, even by big bands like Manowar. So what about the viking ship on the cover of "Voyager", hasn't that cliché been used one time too many? Mark's honest answer is: "Maybe so but to tell you the truth it doesn't matter to me because vikings are fucking cool and I myself can't get enough of stories about vikings. If it seems too cliched to someone then they probably should not buy "Voyager". But if you really like good aggressive tales of barbaric adventure and some slamming music to go along with it then I suggest you get "Voyager"." There you have it in print from the man himself! The story itself does indeed not only scratch on the surface (like so many cheap Pagan Metal bands do): "Within the story there are not just Norse on the Voyager. The adventurers are from Sweden, Norway, Germany and other areas from the Benelux. So when the leader Holgar is killed in battle, the tribesmen do a dance that one of the Germanic vikings names the 'Totentanz' as they are watching."
With the new album "Voyager" Manilla Road prove once more that their music has been touched by musical genius. I always had the impression that Manilla Road was ahead of its time musically, escpecially during the 70's and 80's. Has the music world finally caught up with them? Mark: "Man, that is so hard for me to answer. I have thought the same thing of so many other bands as well. It is really hard for me to judge my own material and especially when it comes to what I have done in the past. It seems that a lot of what I did in the early days was really important and influential to a lot of people but I see it very differently. I, like any musician, will always think that the new music that I am working on now is the best that I have ever done. But I also understand our supporters thinking that our earlier efforts were the best because I still love the hell out of Judas Priest but my favorite albums are still "Sin After Sin", "Stained Class" and "Sad Wings Of Destiny". You get what I mean, I think? But just like Priest or Maiden I am here for the long haul and I am going to continue to try and find the lost chord and create the best songs the race of man has ever heard. Up The Fucking Hammers!"
Matthias Mader (Iron Pages)