Would you classify Manilla Road as an important source of inspiraton for your music?
Mina: Honestly, I can’t quote Manilla Road as an inspiration for my music because I discovered the band way after I built my sound. That’s the funny part… I was writing music and people were constantly saying: «CROM! This sounds like Manilla Road!» (same with Warlord and Omen…) and I was like «Who?». That’s how I got into Manilla Road actually. Perhaps that’s a more mystical experience.
Can you point out a special moment that you experienced with Manilla Road?
My favourite moment by far was in Greece at Up the Hammers. Many years ago, I painted a jacket with the Jackhammer and I wore that at previous Manilla Road concerts but I never asked for signing because, well… that’s hard for me, haha. In Greece my boyfriend pushed me to the place where the band was signing… there were some people before us, so we had to wait a bit, but Bryan made way for us as soon as he could. And he was so GRATEFUL, thanking me all the time for being there, for having painted the jacket. He even took pictures with his own phone and posted them on social media (that’s why I have some pictures of this moment!!). We were waiting for a while because everyone was around Mark, so I spoke to the rest of the band there and they were just lovely. Then Mark received me by kissing my hand like an old fashioned medieval knight and thanked me as well for painting that jacket! I was blown away, honestly, because there are not many bands who pay TRIBUTE to their fans that way. It was sincere and close. So I got to talk to him as well and he fucking knew my band and said that he loved my songs, especially my guitar lines. Imagine that feeling, haha!
What makes Manilla Road special in your opinion?
Well, there’s not a single band that actually sounds like them. Manilla Road has a unique style and even those that are influenced or try to «copy», don’t create that atmosphere. The result is neither worse nor better but different. Manilla Road’s style is easy to recognize, even if there was a huge change from album to album (let’s say, for example, Out of the Abyss, being a more aggressive work). A band with its own universe around it. Sadly, the power at live performances is something that won’t be repeated again, but the mesmerizing effect on the crowd was simply amazing.
What are your three favourite Manilla Road albums?
- Open the Gates
- Crystal Logic
- Atlantis Rising
What’s the most underrated Manilla Road album in your opinion?
Maybe Atlantis Rising… that album has some special magic.
What are your five favourite Manilla Road tracks?
It’s always hard to choose just five!!! The nightmare of leaving some out, haha.
- The Ninth Wave
- Cage of Mirrors
- Venusian Sea
- The Riddle Master
What’s the most underrated Manilla Road track in your opinion?
«Tomes of Clay»? Maybe because it was on one of the last albums, but that song doesn’t receive the justice it should.
Which Manilla Road track moves you the most emotionally?
«The Ninth Wave» is pure magic. Chills every time that song sounds.
What’s your favourite solo/lead played by Mark Shelton?
«The Ninth Wave», every live version sounds different and it could go on and on for hours and it would still be great.
How would you define the term «epic metal»?
Can anyone? I mean, it’s very abstract and there are not two bands that sound the same. Omen and Manilla Road have not much in common, for example. Somehow it feels medieval without using elements of the music of that time. Maybe it’s just heavy metal made with a troubadour heart.
Are there any young bands inspired by Manilla Road that you appreciate?
Of course! This new generation of bands has been even more exposed to Manilla Road than, let’s say, bands that started ten years ago. I could name a good bunch of active ones right now that are considered young but aren’t, hehe. War Dogs, from Spain. They even included a song tribute to Mark on their first album, with Patrick on vocals.
What do you generally think of Manilla Road’s legacy and the current epic metal scene?
The name of Manilla Road is getting bigger and bigger every day, it seems. The cult is growing and maybe it’s paradoxical that the traditional heavy metal sound is getting stronger and the underground is also growing! Who knows… What is true is that a decade ago we were a bunch of bands thinking «fuck off, I want to make good old school heavy metal because there’s not much now!», and now it’s even easy to see kids wearing Manilla Road T-shirts but not knowing, let’s say, most of Judas Priest’s work. (I think Mina has my colleague Aidan in mind, haha…, BB)