Manilla Road

Mysterium (Shadow Kingdom)

Chaotic Platters

Manilla Road

Mysterium (Shadow Kingdom)

Thirty-five years on, Manilla Road keeps its loins girded and sword loose in the scabbard on its 16th LP. Guitarist/songwriter Mark Shelton and his Wichita, Kan., combo don't mess with their perfected formula: epic, rifftastic ironmongers that sound as timeless now as they would accompanying a Saxon invasion. Melody paces might even in the most brutal of crunchers ("Only the Brave"), giving the burliest anthems ("The Battle of Bonchester Bridge") dragon wings. With such a dedication to tunefulness, it's no wonder the acoustic "The Fountain" lilts startlingly lovely. (Sun., 11:45pm, Red 7)

***.5

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