At this point I think all of us here in the good ol’ U-S-of-A can agree that Manilla Road mastermind Mark “The Shark” Shelton is a national treasure. The man has been fighting the good fight since forming the band in 1977 (aside from a brief break from 1992 – 1994) and Mysterium, Manilla Road’s sixteenth album (counting The Circus Maximus, which was originally intended as a separate project) finds the Kansan quartet sounding as mighty as ever. This should come as no surprise, considering that Manilla Road is not only one of the longest-running US heavy metal bands, but also one of the most quality consistent in this or any other country, seemingly incapable of releasing anything less than instantly classic material.
When I was in college, it seemed like I had all the time in the world to just sit and listen to music. I would lay on the futon in my microscopic dorm room, blaring a wide array of metal, rock, hip hop, punk and classic country for seemingly hours on end. Sure, I was going to classes and working multiple jobs, but there was always at least a day or two where I could stay up until the wee hours listening, or find a long break between classes to relax with an album or two. I’d stare at the artwork, read the lyrics, the liner notes and sometimes even the thank yous while the music washed over me out of big-ass speakers, or pumped directly into my ears via headphones (until I accidentally crushed them in a drunken incident that needn’t be recounted here). I could lose myself totally in the worlds my favorite artists created, whether it was the mean streets and dope beats of Ice Cube’s The Predator or the reverbed-to-Hell midnight treble-scapes of Darkthrone’s Under a Funeral Moon.
Back in the days when the cassette was still a widely used and accepted form of media, I loved making mixtapes. There is just something special about crafting the perfect mix of your favorite songs and sharing it with others, a craft that was lost with the dawn of the compact disc. Burning a CD just isn’t the same as sitting in front of the dual cassette and painstakingly dubbing off crucial tracks.
Even though it isn’t anywhere near the same, I wanted to somehow capture a little bit of that old magic in the internet age. Since I’m no fan of illegal downloading (which probably seems hypocritical after telling you how much I enjoyed dubbing off cassettes for my friends), and I don’t currently have the capability to stream MP3s on this blog, I present the first ever THKD mixtape courtesy of Youtube. Ten tracks of favorites old and new, with no alarms and no surprises… You’ve probably heard all of these tracks before, so consider this mix the heavy music fans’ equivalent of comfort food. Enjoy or die.