In our epic metal bubble, Sordid Blade’s debut demo has popped up time and again over the months. Since we are unquestionably dealing with epic steel here, it makes sense to include the mastermind behind this project, Niklas Holm, who is also active in Wanton Attack, in our Manilla Road Special.
André: Would you classify Manilla Road as an important source of inspiration for your music?
Niklas: Yes, definitely. When I started Sordid Blade they were one of my main influences, and they still are.
Can you point out a special moment that you experienced with Manilla Road?
Hard to say. Manilla Road entered into my life fairly late, I was probably 27 or 28 when I first heard of them, and I have to say I didn’t really get into them at first. A few years later I decided to finally listen to Crystal Logic from start to finish, and that’s when I finally got it. I listened to the album repeatedly for weeks, and slowly started to delve into their discography. Perhaps not a special moment per se, but it’s what comes to mind.
What makes Manilla Road special in your opinion?
The storytelling. Every time I listen to them, their music takes me on a journey to another world, a place that is full of mystery yet feels very familiar. There aren’t a whole lot of bands which have the same ability.
What are your three favourite Manilla Road albums?
Crystal Logic, Mystification and Open the Gates.
What’s the most underrated Manilla Road album in your opinion?
The Courts of Chaos is a great album and I don’t see it mentioned as much as some other Manilla Road albums, so I will go with that.
What are your five favourite Manilla Road tracks?
“Necropolis“, “Mystification“, “The Ninth Wave“, “Flaming Metal Systems“ and “Divine Victim“.
What’s the most underrated Manilla Road track in your opinion?
Which Manilla Road track moves you the most emotionally?
I would have to say “Mystification“. The title says it all, really.
What’s your favourite solo/lead played by Mark Shelton?
I always loved the solos in “Road of Kings“, but there are obviously very many to choose from.
How would you define the term epic metal?
I think it’s a pretty broad term. Musically, bands like Manowar and Warlord don’t have that much in common, but they could both be considered epic metal. Viking era Bathory also has a special sound, and I would definitely consider it epic metal as well.
Are there any young bands inspired by Manilla Road that you appreciate?
I’m pretty sure bands like Eternal Champion, Herzel, Smoulder and Atlantean Kodex must have listened a lot to Manilla Road and I think they’re all great.
What do you generally think of Manilla Road’s legacy and the current epic metal scene?
Their legacy is tremendous, and for good reason. The current epic metal scene seems to be strong and I love checking out new bands. While trends come and go, time has shown that this music will live on forever.