Sjak : Riddlemaster is the brainchild of guitarist/singer Mark ‘The Shark’ Shelton and drummer Rick Fisher. The last mentioned was the drummer on the first Manilla Road albums between 1979 and 1984, while Mark Shelton was and still is the founder and main song writer of this band. The idea for this renewed collaboration was born when both gentlemen were discussing on how Manilla Road would have sounded if Rick Fisher would have stayed with the band. They decided to experimentally determine that and as such the band Riddlemaster was born. As bass player they recruited E.C. Hellwell and this ‘Bring The Magik Down’ is the first result of this Manilla Road incarnation.
On the album there are just six tracks to be found, which together are still good for a little less than fifty minutes of music. It won’t come as a big surprise to most people if I tell you that Riddlemaster shows quite some resemblance with Manilla Road in the early days. In all honesty I have to admit though that I think that the first Manilla Road albums are quality-wise a lot stronger than what is offered on this ‘Bring The Magik Down’. None of the six tracks on offer here are really convincing affairs and next to the slow and long title song only ‘Lair Of The White Witch’ can be called somewhat interesting. That accounts for the fact that this ‘Bring The Magik Down’ from Manilla Road….euh, excuse me Riddlemaster has become quite a superfluous release and that can never have been the intention in my opinion. Die-hard Manilla Road fans will probably like this a lot, but I just don’t like it that much.