Hail to all ye brethren of the hammer,
Shark here with a long overdue report on Manilla Road and Hellwell activities. First of all I wish to convey our appreciation to all of you for your continued support of our music and for allowing us to keep putting out releases by actually buying our albums and CD’s. If not for you we could not continue the Manilla Road legacy as we have. Now onto the report:
Not too long ago we played on the 70,000 Tons of Metal Cruise from Florida to Jamaica. This was our first time playing on a cruise ship and I must say it was quite the experience. We had a bloody good time meeting all sorts of new friends and also hooking up with some of our good musician friends as well. So many bands that it was constant music pretty much through the whole cruise. The highlight bands for me were Raven, Jag Panzer and Gamma Ray. We are good friends with Raven and Jag Panzer so I might be a bit bias when it comes to those two bands. But they did just really kick ass. It was my first time seeing Gamma Ray live and I also got to meet Kai Hansen whom I have always admired so the trip was quite special for me. We (Manilla Road) played two different times on two different stages doing two totally different sets of songs. The crew on board was great and both shows went off without a hitch, as they say. The ship was cool. The food was good. The care of the crew was great and the fact that the whole ship was a floating metal head city was out of this world. I would do it again at the drop of a hat. There is much more touring for Manilla Road that will happen in this year of 2016 and to find all that information just go to the tour info tab on this site, manillaroad.net.
Next is some merchandise news. We have some new merch on the manillaroad.net site in the form of hoodies. I guess that is how you spell it. Maybe hoodys ha ha. Well anyway they are sweat shirts with hoods on them. You can see what they look like on the merchandise part of this site. There will be more new merchandise added soon in the form of the new Swords of Steel II book that is just now being released by DMR Books. Our very own E.C. Hellwell contributed the story The Riddle Master to the first edition of this compilation series and was asked to contribute yet another story for this new second edition of Swords of Steel. I guess the publisher likes Ernie and his work because he got top billing on the book cover and also the cover art is based on his story in the book “The Forgotten City of Tehm”. Quite the honor for Mr. Hellwell. It is unlike the horror based story The Riddle Master. I have read it and it is more like a Robert E. Howard adventure story in the vein of King Kull or Conan. Really cool stuff and I think you should check it out if you like to read.
More news on the Hellwell front is that the new album is finally completely recorded and mixed. Yes you read that correctly, the 2nd Hellwell album is finally finished except for the mastering. I don’t want to tell the album title yet for I am just now to the point where I will be negotiating the label deal for the album. So obviously I can’t tell you a release date either but I am pretty sure it will be this year. The really big news about this project is the changing of the guard on the drums. Thumper could not afford the time from his career as a glass blower and astounding pipe maker to travel to Midgard Studio to drum on the album so I was forced to recruit new blood. But actually I recruited old new blood. Here it is folks – the new drummer for Hellwell is none other than Randy Thrasher Foxe who played with Manilla Road from Open the Gates in 1984 to The Courts of Chaos in 1991. It has been such a thrill to work with him again and he has contributed some totally blow you away drumming on this album. If you are a Foxe fan then you can ill afford to miss this release.
More studio news is that we are also almost finished recording the next Manilla Road album. A few more vocal and bass tracks is all we lack from having all the recordings finished so that I can proceed onto the mixing of the album. No lineup changes with Manilla Road though so you still get the cool quad.
I guess that is about it for now. Make sure to check into the merch part of our site in case you have missed something that you desire. And also check our tour info for upcoming Manilla Road tour dates. It appears that we will be playing a lot in Europe this year. We plan to hit the states hard again in 2017. Thanks to all for your support and of course Up The Hammers & Down The Nails
Mark The Shark Shelton
Manilla Road / Hellwell