What follows is Chris Chantler’s look at the life of a man who embodied the meaning of the word “underground”; Manilla Road mastermind Mark Shelton – who sadly passed away following a triumphant performance at Headbangers Open Air last Thursday 26th July. Before we dive into it, please check out the gofundme campaign launched to cover the expenses required to repatriate Mark’s body to the US and cover hospital / mortuary bills in Germany.
“I always thought that my music could be related to by others but I was never sure if it would amount to anything. I always had the dream and I guess I’m proof that sometimes dreams do come true. But it appears this only happens when you really work hard at it and don’t give up.” – Mark Shelton, Metal Brothers webzine, 2017
Mark Shelton was entranced and consumed by music from the earliest age. His mother was Professor of Music at Friends University in the Sheltons’ hometown Wichita, Kansas, and she ensured that the fledgling Shark was learning piano from the age of four. At school Mark played trumpet and baritone and sang in choirs before playing drums in jazz band The Herd, but he finally picked up an … Read More
There are always those bands you’ve never heard of, but worth every single note when you do finally stumble upon them. For many readers out there, Quicksand Dream from Sweden might be such a band. Born from the ashes of an old cult act named Epic Irae, Quicksand Dream took shape as duo with Göran Jacobson (vocals) and Patrick Backlund (all instruments) performing music from the heart, inspired by Black Sabbath, Cirith Ungol, Manilla Road and similar iconic legends. Sixteen years after their debut album (that got a proper release years later) they came back with ‘Beheading Tyrants’, without the urge to follow a specific style, but rather give something personal to a dedicated audience. The music of Quicksand Dream has a strong and solid vibe from the past, and Patrick Backlund is here to explain the dream…
Before Quicksand Dream, there was Epic Irae. Give us a brief recap of your early years in music, the creation of Epic Irae and the transformation to Quicksand Dream. Epic Irae was the original name of the band, formed by a bunch of schoolmates in the autumn of 1988 inspired by the likes of Candlemass, Manilla Road, Cloven Hoof, Stormwitch and Celtic Frost to … Read More
It’s time to delve into the mystic realm of the apocalypse, otherwise known as Hellwell’s debut album ‘Beyond The Boundaries Of Sin’. Simplistically catchy yet technically excellent, Manilla Road’s Mark ‘The Shark’ Shelton has created something heavier, more experimental and evil than any other album he has released during his long career. Although Hellwell has traits of the Road, the layered, pulsating keyboards and diverse chord progressions add to the records originality and mystique. The lyrical themes of terror, serial killers and world destruction mix with a classic evil production to invoke a horribly atmospheric masterpiece.
Joining Mr Shelton is old school friend and Manilla Road partner, EC Hellwell (guess where the name is from) on keyboards and bass, ex-Manilla Road member Mark Anderson (also on some bass tracks), Dead Orchestra Fame guitarist Miles Paeday and Johnny ‘Thumper’ Benson on drums. We’re talking super metal; brilliant metal; powerful metal; riff bending insanity and the calling of Valhalla.
“I have most of the Heavy Load LP’s in my collection,” states Mark on his influences. That’s all well and good for any fan of Northern Warriors fighting Polar Bears in the mountains, but here we’re talking about Manilla Road’s evil twin; Hellwell. Mark has already … Read More
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