by Rustyn Rose
The debut album by Swedish metallers, Manimal was released one year ago, in the band’s home of Gothenberg, Sweden, but the worldwide release is now at hand. Most metal fans outside of Europe have probably not heard the band yet, though they’ve played numerous metal festivals abroad, including Sweden Rock and Metaltown, and have spent time on tour with U.D.O., Entombed, and others.
Their sound blends a mix of melodic power metal with progressive elements that call to mind, Dream Theater, Queensryche, Kamelot, and even Rammstein. Vocalist Samuel Nyman’s furious howling vocals recall early Rob Halford, Bruce Dickinson, and especially, Geoff Tate.
The Darkest Room begins with the album cover. Four rich, red hearts hanging from hooks against a dark background. Never having heard the band, the listeners are left to wonder what they might have gotten themselves into. And one can almost feel the beating in those dangling blood pumps. Th-thump, th-thump…
And so the album begins, a beat of life among the “Shadows,” the CD’s opening track. The rhythm section of brothers Richard and Penther Mentzer on drums and bass respectively, lay down a solid foundation for the vibrant crunching guitar laid down by Henrik Stenroos.
Throughout the album, Nyman’s high pitched powerful vocal style soars across a well-produced and epic feeling debut. The guitar work by Stenroos is full and aggressive, and truly stands out on tracks like “Living Dead,” “I Am,” and “Dreamers and Fools.”
Penther’s bass really come’s to the forefront on the tasty, “Human Nature.”
“Spinegrinder,” aside from being the sickest song title on the album, sounds like Rammstein meets Judas Priest, and one of the album’s many highlights.
Richard gets his moment to shine on the thundering “Dreamers and Fools.”
Listeners can get a real taste of the band and album, from the video below of the album’s closing track, “The Life We Lived.”
The Darkest Room at once takes the listener back in time to the first wave of great power metal bands, while still ripe with modern elements and unique aspects that give them a fresh yet still familiar sound.
The album’s most notable downfall is the fact that listeners only get nine tracks to sink their ears into, but the album is certainly worth getting your hands…and ears, on.
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