Manilla Road Special (23): Andrew Macknight (Skyryder)

It’s time to kick off the next leg of our Manilla Road Special. Today, Andrew Macknight from English heavy metal outfit Skyryder answers our questions. Enjoy reading!

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

Andrew Macknight: Not so much on my music itself but definitely with things like production and inspiration for lyrics. They’ve proven you don’t need to be fancy with pristine production to make great music. I would, however, be lying if I said that I didn’t try and incorporate at least a handful of drum fills that I’ve heard on Manilla Road albums.

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

They’ve been a key spark in a lot of friendships I’ve forged over the years but without a doubt the most special was getting to see them live just the once in London in 2014 or something like that. Sadly it was the only time I got to see them. We’d all had quite a few beers throughout the day so when they came on stage that night there was just a room full of a few hundred drunk fans screaming the words along the whole time. It was a really genuine experience, just as music should be. I’m genuinely unsure if I met Shark that night or not, I’m convinced that I did. I remember this guy standing next to me through part of the show was reading a copy of Salem’s Lot whilst also watching the show, it was a really odd thing to see. I often wonder what that guy’s up to nowadays.

What makes Manilla Road special in your opinion?

They’re unapologetically genuine. Everything from their lyrics to their mastering and quality. Nothing fancy or unnecessary and no bullshit. They just make really solid music.

They’re unapologetically genuine. Everything from their lyrics to their mastering and quality.

Andrew Macknight about Manilla Road

What are your three favourite Manilla Road albums?

This is one I had to think about for a little bit. Honestly, as cliche as it is, Crystal Logic is my favourite record. Especially when it was re-released later on with «Flaming Metal Systems» on it. Why that was never on the original press I’ll never know. I’d have to say The Deluge and Open the Gates for the other two based purely on the fact they’re the two others I’ve been going over a lot recently. They’re definitely their most musically interesting releases in my opinion.

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

Can I say all of them? I think Spiral Castle is really underrated. I don’t think they did bad albums at all, maybe one or two I personally don’t play as much as the others, but they have a really consistent discography but for some reason Spiral Castle doesn’t get anywhere near enough appreciation as it deserves.

What are your five favourite Manilla Road tracks?

In no particular order:

  • «Cage of Mirrors»
  • «The Veils of Negative Existence»
  • «Shadow in the Black»
  • «Flaming Metal Systems»
  • «Heavy Metal to the World»

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

It’s a weird answer but stay with me. «Feeling Free Again». I feel is overlooked sometimes. It’s so different lyrically than everything else on Crystal Logic and I genuinely love that. Putting what basically amounts to a love song in among all of the sword and sorcery was a really bold move.

Which Manilla Road track moves you the most emotionally?

It’s gotta be «Cage of Mirrors». It’s such a dramatic song and it perfectly sums them up as a band in one song. Really well executed twists and turns, fantasy based lyrics and it’ll be stuck in your head for days.

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

A toss up between «Flaming Metal Systems» and «Astronomica».

How would you define the term epic metal?

It’s hard to pin it to just one thing. Usually it sounds absolutely massive and creates a real atmosphere. Almost always has lyrics rooted in fiction, history or mythology. That’s usually what comes to mind for me.

Usually it sounds absolutely massive and creates a real atmosphere.

Andrew Macknight about epic metal

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

Most of the younger bands I love wear that influence on their sleeves. Bands like Visigoth, Smoulder, Throne of Iron and Eternal Champion are the main ones, however. They’re really not afraid to show how fond they are of Manilla Road.

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

I think it’s pretty massive, well deserved too. But I don’t think the full effect of it has been seen yet as there are still so many new bands appearing who worship at the alter of Manilla Road. It’s going to be awesome to see what new things that’s going to bring to the fore.

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