Manilla Road Special (14): Anssi Salonen (Evil-Lÿn)

It’s time to kick off the next leg of our Manilla Road Special. We start with Anssi Salonen, guitarist of Finnish heavy metal band Evil-Lÿn, founded in 2007. Enjoy reading!

Would you classify Manilla Road as an important source of inspiraton for your music?

To be honest, musically not. Young bands, like ourselves, usually start by mimicking their heroes and, in my opinion, for that Manilla Road‘s music is way too unique and complex. But as an inspiration in perseverance, integrity, work ethic – most certainly!

Can you point out a special moment that you experienced with Manilla Road?

There are many. I think it was in Greece, when Mark told us how he met one of his idols in late 70s or early 80s in the States. If I remember correctly, Manilla Road were opening for them. Mark tried to go to talk to this idol who just ignored him and walked away. Mark decided he would never do that to his fans. Also, I once needed a small car part from the States, a cheap little part, but the retailer was asking a crazy amount for shipping it to Europe. I asked my friends in the States, if anybody could help and order the part domestically and then send it to Europe for way less. Bryan did that. «No problem bro, glad to help.». One of my idols from one of my favorite bands just stepping up to help a friend, me, a random fan. That was super cool. 

What makes Manilla Road special in your opinion?

Besides the music, of course, the fact that you can befriend with them. You go to see their show and talk to them afterwards, you go to see another show and they remember you and ask how you been, etc. You go to see them again and again and you become friends. Real friends, not just like «please like our page on fb» or anything like that, just see my answer above. Musically, their discography is very diverse, but you can still always recognize Manilla Road. Easily. That is a very rare quality. 

Musically, their discography is very diverse, but you can still always recognize Manilla Road. Easily. That is a very rare quality. 

Anssi Salonen.

What are your three favourite Manilla Road albums?

  • Mystification
  • Open the Gates
  • The Deluge

What’s the most underrated Manilla Road album in your opinion?

Out of the Abyss. It is definitely a part of the classic album streak but does not get mentioned as often as the preceding 4 albums. 

What are your five favourite Manilla Road tracks?

  • «Necropolis»
  • «Road of Kings»
  • «Astronomica»
  • «Flaming Metal System»
  • «The Ram»

What’s the most underrated Manilla Road track in your opinion?

Maybe «Whitechapel», perhaps not their most proverbial work, but it shows how diverse Manilla Road was, plus Mark‘s vocal performance on this one is really strong. And «Riddle of Steel» from the Bryan Patrick era: killer track with a killer vocal performance. 

Which Manilla Road track moves you the most emotionally?

«Astronomica».

What’s your favourite solo/lead played by Mark Shelton?

Probably the solos in the middle and at the end of «Flaming Metal Systems». Although the licks are quite ordinary, you can easily recognize Mark‘s playing. That is real art. 

How would you define the term epic metal?

Grandiose, more emotional than «ordinary» metal. I don’t know, if this makes any sense, but where your basic metal tune about raising hell and chasing girls tells a story, an epic metal song paints a picture. Just think of the cover of Bathory‘s Twilight of the Gods – that is the picture. It takes you somewhere beyond. 

The (epic metal) genre would be almost non-existent or at least totally different without Manilla Road.

Anssi Salonen about Manilla Road’s legacy.

Are there any young bands inspired by Manilla Road that you appreciate? 

Definitely, their «disciples» Battleroar and Battle Ram, Ironsword, Holy Martyr, DoomSword. Not sure though whether these are considered as young bands. 

What do you generally think of Manilla Road’s legacy and the current epic metal scene?

Manilla Road‘s legacy in undeniable. I think they are the single biggest reason for the resurgence of the genre in the early 2000s. The genre would be almost non-existent or at least totally different without Manilla Road.

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