Manimal: The Darkest Room-2009.

Manimal:Heavy Power Metal from Sweden.

Discography:

ManimalDemo2002
Human NatureDemo2005 
Demo 2006Demo2006 
The Darkest RoomFull-length2009
Trapped in the ShadowsFull-length2015
Black PlagueSingle2018 
ManimalizedSingle2018 
PurgatorioSingle2018 
PurgatorioFull-length2018 
The Inevitable EndSingle2021 
Forged in MetalSingle2021 
ArmageddonSingle2021 
Burn in HellSingle2021 
Chains of FuryEP2021 
ArmageddonFull-length2021

Members:

Kenny BoufadeneBass
See also: ex-One Without, ex-The Deliverance, ex-The Deafening Silence, We Are the Catalyst
André HolmqvistDrums
See also: Ice Age, ex-Zero Illusions, ex-Pain and Passion
Henrik “Hank” StenroosGuitars
Samuel “Sam” NymanVocals

Past Members:

Pether “Pete” MentzerBass
Richard “Rikki” MentzerDrums

One thought on “Manimal: The Darkest Room-2009.

  1. hells_unicorn, January 23rd, 2013

    While perhaps the most noticeable trait of Sweden’s Manimal is the rather odd album art that graces their 2009 debut, it should be noted that the musical content contained within runs an extremely close second. Drawn from the same impressive tradition of power metal institutions such as Nocturnal Rites, Sabaton and Cryonic Temple, they tend towards a past-conscious sound that loads up on the 80s influences, but also don’t shy away from incorporating some modern elements that were ushered in during the 90s by the likes of Fear Factory and a few others. The name of the game with an outfit like this is catchy hooks and a straight-line approach to songwriting, and they play it quite well and occasionally hold a bright candle to the early 80s offerings of Judas Priest, though stylistically they are not quite as speed happy and thick on the celebratory metal cliches the way a Primal Fear or a Hammerfall might.

    Truth be told, when all the elements at play here are taken as a whole, “The Darkest Room” listens pretty close to what the follow up to Heed’s masterful debut “The Call” would have sounded like had it ever materialized. Keyboard usage occurs sparingly and largely to add an extra level of depth to a fairly bare-bones, groove infused style where heaviness tends to trump flash. The riff work is fairly predictable, often functioning as a collaborating element with the rhythm section to shore up the background while the vocals take the helm, and the vocal work is really where things fall together brilliantly. Sam Nyman has a similarly soaring high range to that of Lost Horizon/Heed front man Dan Heiman (who seems to have all but sworn off metal), though he tends to be a bit more restrained and willing to keep a symmetrical melody going to rope in audience participation, injecting a live arena atmosphere to a studio medium to the point of almost blurring a distinction between the two.

    The most unique aspect of this album, however, is how it develops from start to finish. Most collections of songs that could be defined as “growers” speak more to a general lack of immediate impact, but here this concept manifests as a growing level of intensity from start to finish. Early in the album, the focus is generally on more down tempo stomping fits like “Shadows” and “Living Dead” that seem to coast more than travel, in contrast to a typical album of this style where things start off at a blazing speed and then switch back and forth to give the listener time to recover. Things do seem to pick up a little bit by the center of the album with “I Am”, which mixes a handful of modern groove riffs with a slightly more animated chorus section, but with little exception, the first seven songs on here stay within the realm of mid-tempo rock beats, with the album’s title song “The Darkest Room” and “Spinegrinder” being the high points in terms of memorability as they force their sing-along choruses into the heads of all willing trustees.

    Things hit a clearly defined climax during the closing two songs of what is a fairly short and to the point listen, where the restraint of modernity gives way to something resembling contemporary works by Primal Fear meshed with a less overt riff set that shies away from outright Judas Priest worship. “Dreamers And Fools” is definitely the most complex and impressive of the two, and showcases one of the few choruses on this album not to listen like a lament of a doomed mankind. The guitar work on this one is particularly impressive and seems to be channeling some elements of the lighter, more melodic side of German speed/power metal in Helloween. By contrast, the closer “The Life We Lived” reaches back a bit further into the early German heavy metal scene populated by the likes of Accept and Warlock during its signature riff set, but maintains the modern quirks, atmospheric keyboard elements, and puts a bit more emphasis on the bass than what normally went on back then.

    This is basically geared to be a more serious and substantial alternative to Dream Evil, and accomplishes the same mode of accessible songwriting without turning into a party. It’s pretty easy to get the gist of where this band is coming from musically within a mere 1 or 2 listens, but it manages to stay pretty fresh a good bit longer. Much of the time a heroic sounding tune will come with a knight in shinning armor, but occasionally going fishing with human hearts can get the job done as well.

    Like

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