When I get a new album from a band I have never heard before, I will always give it a few listens straight through in order. After that I will look for pictures and hit YouTube for some videos to see the band and get a feel for their visual presentation. WOW!!!!!!! Hearing and seeing Manimal are two completely different experiences; the music is amazing and their image is so cool!!!!!
Their latest offering, PURGATORIO (AFM Records) begins with the cinematic Black Plague, a song that is heavy, full of power and surprisingly melodic with some some amazing musical moments. I could make this review very easy by saying that about every song because it is true!!!! BUT... that wouldn't give Manimal credit for crafting nine incredibly complex music that all have their own feel and identity.
If you want just straight heavy there is Spreading The Dread and Traitor that rocks as heavy as most bands out there, but vocally Samuel Nyman adds so much to the music. Nyman has a voice that soars high above the music with the power of Rob Halford or Geoff Tate, but with a quality all his own. On this album alone he has become one of my favorite singers.... he has all the skills./
Musically, drummer André Holmqvist and bassist Kenny Boufadene are a solid rhythm section that don't just drive the songs, they add so much to them. In many heavy bands, the drums and bass just give the guitarist a backdrop to solo and riff, but not these two. Listen to Denial and Edge Of Darkness and you will hear so much thumpin' and crashin' as they hold it all together.
Finally we have guitarist Henrik Stenroos who is so versatile and seems to be able to play it however the song needs it! He can play the Black Sabbath riffs like on The Fear Within and the title track, but when he needs to be Michael Schenker or Wolf Hoffmann (the two influences I hear), he can do it without ease.
As far as their image goes, there is a bit of a theatrical element and uniform to their pictures and videos that for me is icing on the cake. Nothing too over the top, but enough to separate them from everyone else. As a music fans who appreciates the showmanship of KISS, King Diamond and Ghost... i LOVE what Manimal is doing!
PURGATORIO is an incredible album that allows you to listen from beginning to end because there is no filler... just fantastic music that really contains everything I love in my music; a heavy rhythm, amazing vocals and lightning fast leads... all within a melody. Not a lot of bands can pull all that off, but on this album they do... NINE TIMES!!!!
MATMAN RATING - 5 OUT OF 5
PURGATORIO from AFM Records will be released on September 7th.
www.youtube.com/watch?v=WS3tQiFRnLE - video for Purgatorio
www.facebook.com/manimalofficial/ - on Facebook
The Power Chords Podcast is a twice-monthly podcast celebrating rock and metal music of the '70s, '80s, '90s and beyond. The show is co-hosted by Matt Herring and Brian LeTendre.