Manilla Road Special (34): Collin Wolf (Olórin/Smoulder)

Today we are very glad to present you an interview with Collin Wolf, guitarist of Olórin and Smoulder. He is one of the countless young musicians who have already paid musical tribute to Manilla Road with their bands – just have a look at the YouTube videos below. As usual, we hope you enjoy reading!

Collin playing Manilla Road, Part I.

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

Collin Wolf: Most definitely! In fact I can easily say that they are my favorite heavy metal band and influenced me greatly throughout the years.

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

The last time I caught Manilla Road in Chicago in 2017 they closed the show with my absolute favorite song of theirs “Astronomica“ because me and my friend were drunk and yelling for it, haha! That truly made me the happiest guy in the world at that moment.

What makes Manilla Road special in your opinion?

I think that their sound is really what sets them apart. Mark and company were able to create something truly unique with Manilla Road. The way they blended traditional metal with space rock and thrash/speed created a sound that was other worldly and escapist. Whenever I listen to Manilla Road I’m taken away to another mystical world of heroes, myth, and arcane sorcery. Mark obviously took a lot of lyrical influence from Sword and Sorcery authors as well as more esoteric horror like Lovecraft and Poe, and I feel like he was really able to capture the essence and atmosphere of those stories (and his own prose!) into music. I guess if I were to pin down exactly what element I most love about Manilla Road it would be the atmosphere. Mark was always the master of this and I can’t really think of another metal artist who comes close in that regard.

What are your three favourite Manilla Road albums?

  1. Open The Gates
  2. Spiral Castle
  3. Mystification

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

Atlantis Rising.

What are your five favourite Manilla Road tracks?

Man this is a tough one, so many to choose from!

  1. “Astronomica“
  2. “The Riddle Master“
  3. “The Ninth Wave“
  4. “Born Upon The Soul“
  5. “The Book of Skelos“

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

Off the top of my head, probably “Return of The Old Ones“. Classic Manilla Road tune; the moody clean guitar passages really make the song for me.

Which Manilla Road track moves you the most emotionally?

This on is a really hard one to answer. Without thinking too hard I’d say either “The Ninth Wave“ or “The Fountain“. So much emotion in both of those songs

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

Oh jeez, where to start? Right now I’d say the solos in “The Ninth Wave“. So much tension and emotion. Really brings the prophetic theme of the song to life.

How would you define the term epic metal?

It’s kind of an amorphous term isn’t it? I feel like for a band to be considered “epic metal“ they’d have to be somewhere between power metal and traditional heavy metal with an openness to progressive (but not wanky) forays. It’s generally more gruff, muscular, and arcane than power metal but is also more inclined to eschew the traditional verse/chorus song structure.

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

Tons! Atlantean Kodex, Gatekeeper, Demon Bitch, Eternal Champion, Prelude To Ruin, Chevalier, Serpent Rider, Throne of Iron, White Magician, Ezra Brooks, Tabernacle, Tales of Medusa, Visigoth, Vendel, and the list goes on!

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

I think that while I’m still very sad that Mark and Manilla Road are gone from us, I’m extremely happy that when it ended Manilla Road was finally getting the recognition that they deserve and they’re music is inspiring more and more young metal bands to take up the epic metal sword where Manilla Road left off.

Collin playing Manilla Road, Part II.

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