MANILLA ROAD - The Circus Maximus  DLP
MANILLA ROAD - The Circus Maximus  DLP
MANILLA ROAD - The Circus Maximus  DLP
MANILLA ROAD - The Circus Maximus  DLP
MANILLA ROAD - The Circus Maximus  DLP
MANILLA ROAD - The Circus Maximus  DLP
MANILLA ROAD - The Circus Maximus  DLP
MANILLA ROAD - The Circus Maximus  DLP
MANILLA ROAD - The Circus Maximus  DLP
MANILLA ROAD - The Circus Maximus DLP

HRR 276, ltd 500, 100 x transparent clear vinyl, 230 x blood red vinyl + 170 x black vinyl, downfold gatefold cover, poster, insert, 2nd pressing: ltd 500, 200 x black + 300 x bone/ red splatter vinyl, gatefold, insert

Mark Shelton - Guitars, Vocals
Andrew Coss - Bass, Keyboards, Vocals
Aaron Brown - Drums, Vocals

01 Throne of Blood
02 Lux Aeterna
03 Spider
04 Murder by Degrees
05 No Sign from Above
06 In Gein We Trust
07 Flesh and Fury
08 No Touch
09 Hack It Off
10 Forbidden Zone
11 She's Fading

1st pressing: SOLD OUT!
2nd pressing: AVAILABLE

Everybody who is familiar with Manilla Road's fine and criminally underrated body of work will know that 1992's »Circus Maximus« is the odd one out. Originally the album was supposed to be released as a Mark Shelton solo album. But this was not to be … The Shark explains: “Yes, that is primarily true. It was supposed to be a solo project of mine at first. Then after we started writing and working on the songs each of the other guys kept finding songs that they wanted to sing on and write the lyrics for. So it became more of a band project after a bit and we decided to give the whole thing a band name and that is when we came up with the name Circus Maximus. But when we signed it to Black Dragon Records it was to be a Circus Maximus album and then just before release they decided they would try to insure good sales by calling it a Manilla Road album. None of us were happy about that and it sort of caused us to not really pursue anything else in the future with that band.”
According to Mark there was a reason behind NOT releasing the album under the Manilla Road moniker: “»Circus Maximus« did not sound like a Manilla Road album at all, not even close. There are only one or two songs on the project that even remotely sound like Manilla Road. It was much more progressive and accessible music than what the Road does. I would have never even dreamed of calling it a Manilla Road album. I did this album specifically to get away from doing Manilla Road type material. Obviously anything that I write will have my signature style in it to a degree but the Circus Maximus was more of a chance for me to stretch out and do something completely different from the Road and that is why it was a bit disturbing to have it released as a Manilla Road album. But even now with the reissue I would not want to change it from a Manilla Road album because I think that would just add to the confusion, so it will remain a Manilla Road album even with the reissues.”
“Manilla Road had already disbanded by the time I started working on the Circus Maximus project,” states Mark. “I have never really considered it a Manilla Road album, so in my mind the band had already broken up before this album was released. I started the Road back up with Randy Foxe and Harvey Patrick after Circus Maximus had disbanded. Manilla Road did some live shows for a few years with that line up but we never did any recordings and at the time it appeared to us that Manilla Road's recording career might be over. We had no real label support from anywhere and the metal scene in general in the US had sort of died.”
The future did indeed look bleak for Mark Shelton around 1992. “We never toured, so to speak,” he states. “We just did shows in our local area in Kansas. But we were sort of the kings of the progressive rock front in Wichita at the time. Andy and Aaron were both very well-known musicians from our area as well was I. So we had a lot of people showing up at our live gigs just to see what the buzz was about. Most of the people that saw the band live were completely amazed because we actually played all the songs live just the way they were on the album. I mean even down to the guitar solos being note for note the same as the solos on the release. People were pretty freaked out about how tight the band was and we developed a rather large local following very fast. But Circus was never meant to be a long lasting band. It started out as a solo project of mine that traversed into the realms of a band and it was our original intent to just record the album and not even do live shows. But after we got the album finished we liked playing together so much that we chose to do some local live shows and that continued for about two years. It was after that when we called it quits with Circus Maximus and to tell you the truth, I am surprised that we kept it going that long considering we all three had other projects that we were interested in doing more than Circus.”
Consequently, Manilla Road proper did not even once perform a song off the »Circus Maximus« album live on stage. Mark Shelton: “Only with the band Circus Maximus. And by the way, we never did play live as Manilla Road. We always billed ourselves as Circus Maximus. When Circus was doing live shows we did every single song from the album in our live performances. It was a really fun band to be in and a big challenge for me because the other two musicians in that band were and are extremely talented and in many ways much better musicians than I. It was fun and an honor to play with those guys. They made it very challenging for me, so I had to work extra hard to keep up with them on a performance level. It was a great experience for me and opened my eyes to many other techniques in writing and performing music.”
So it is probably fair to say that »Circus Maximus« is kind of an "undiscovered" album. “Yeah, you might say that,” confirms the Shark. “It is not widely promoted or talked about like many of the other Manilla Road albums are. But that is understandable since it really does not sound much like Manilla Road. Black Dragon had terrible distribution by the time of its release and so it did not make much of a stir when it was first released. The one thing that I have really noticed about the project is that if someone really takes the time to listen to the album, they tend to really like it, even though it is not necessarily what they expected from a Manilla Road album.”
Circus Maximus only lasted for one album. “It was 1994, I think, when I put Manilla Road back in action with Randy and Harvey,” explains Mark. “Harvey later on became the bass player for the Road on »Gates Of Fire« and »Voyager« and then again left the fold sometime after »Voyager«. I never wanted to disband Manilla Road in the first place but the truth is that it was becoming impossible for Randy and Scott to work together and it took me some time before I could even imagine having Manilla Road exist without Scott since he was the last founding member of the band besides myself. But somewhere along the way someone convinced me that it was alright for me to continue with the Road with myself being the only original member since I was the primary writer and singer for the band. Man, I tell you, I am glad that whoever that was convinced me to continue on with Manilla Road. I'm pretty sure it was Bryan (Hellroadie) Patrick (Harvey's brother) that convinced me of that!”
Matthias Mader