With two albums under Mark Shelton's belt, it came time to continue Manilla Road's ascent to greater heights with the ushering in of a different and improved sound, and "Crystal Logic" is the vehicle for this advancement of the band's music (and career). After debuting with the awesome "Invasion" and then failing to follow up with another solid release ("Metal"), the Kansas group unleashed arguably their greatest collection of music, taking their proto-metal tendencies from the first two records and morphing them into an epic heavy metal masterpiece. The change in the overall sound for the band was so massive that the drummer at the time left the band because of it, but that's his loss because this is an album that is sure to go down in legend as a magnum opus of the epic heavy metal genre, especially for the Americans who were busy with the glam scene, punk and the spawning of the thrash genre.
"Crystal Logic" is the execution of the hints of brilliance that were present on "Invasion." The epic "The Empire" from the debut showed what the band was capable of delivering, but not until their third effort, did Mark "The Shark" Shelton and company finally achieve the grandiose, yet entirely catchy sound that avoided Manilla Road on "Metal." The absence of catchy and memorable riffs on the previous full-length proved to be no concern on this album, as this album is a total riff-fest. "Necropolis" is an absolute classic, not only of Manilla Road's catalog, but of the entire genre, as the upbeat, near thrashy riffs keep the listener captivated throughout, while Shelton's trademark nasally-rasp vocals bounce along and create incredible moments like the ever-memorable chorus that screams three simple words repeatedly "Lost in Necropolis!" And the title track is no different as it features headbanging riffs that weave in and out of the ever changing tempo perfectly and much like "Necropolis," there's hardly any chance that anyone can listen to this track just once.
Of course, the real epic here is the album-closer "Dreams of Eschaton," a masterful song that spans twelve minutes, but retains an amazing level of replay value. Its definitely not everyday that I can listen to a song this long over and over, but Manilla Road is that damn good when it come to creating this type of music. Other songs like "The Ram" and "The Veils of Negative Existence" are terrific as well, as they feature even more fragments of the band's sound. The former track is a catchy headbanger while the latter is almost doomy at times as it slays the listener with its melancholic riffs and lyrics("I will never put my sword down, I will never run away!"). I can't bring myself to utter a single sleight against "Crystal Logic," and had "Feeling Free Again" and "The Riddle Master" been on par with the other classics here, this record would be absolutely perfect, but being damn-near perfect isn't too bad either. It's obvious that this was the release that marked the beginning of something truly special for the band, and nearly thirty years later this album is still a pinnacle of heavy metal, and it will be thirty years from now too.
"The Veils of Negative Existence"
"Dreams of Eschaton"