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On disc: Manimal

The Darkest Room - Claudia Ehrhardt - 9 stars

The Darkest Room

The Darkest Room
(AFM Records - 2009)

Manimal are from Gothenburg, but they don't have the Gothenburg sound! Founded in 2001 the band developed and recorded some demo CDs, they play many live shows and even made it to Sweden Rock Festival. Their debut The Darkest Room was produced by Tobias Lindell and was released in February in their home country Sweden - and entered the charts at #36! AFM Records signed them and so the album will hit the stores outside Sweden.
The foursome kicks off heavily with Shadows. The sound is modern, but also the song has some traditional metal influences as well as a slight progressive edge. Singer Samuel Nyman has a powerful voice and a wide range, but I can imagine that some fans will have problems with his high notes... After the opener I have an idea why they hit the charts... Next in line is the title track The Darkest Room, a guitar-driven tune with crunchy riffs and a catchy hook. Guitarist Henrik Stenroos switches between heavy riffs and melodic leads, well done! With Living Dead, the 3rd song, they already win me over! The guitar-driven song offers aggressive parts and emotional mid-paced passages. The up-tempo part is a bit Priest-ish... But that's only one facet of the song! The guitars at I Am have a metalcore-ish touch, but on the other hand this one reminds me of Conception... A sonic walk on the edge... But fascinating. Human Nature sticks out with an unusual drum pattern and thundering bass, but also Henrik Stenroos shows a different facet. The song is more progressive then the others - and still fits into this album. At Spinegrinder they use distorted vocals and so make the song differ. Another roller coaster ride... Another cool mix of sounds. After the melodic speed metal track Dreamers And Fools they close the album with The Life We Lived. And somehow this track sums up the album, shows the different elements and even if it ain't overly catchy, something sticks... And make you spin the CD again.
It seems that Manimal were right to spend years playing live and doing demos, coz this is a very strong debut album! Only time will tell, if they can keep this level, but I honestly hope they do! And next time deliver a few more songs, so far... Kudos!

9 stars

Claudia Ehrhardt


           2008-2010 by Claudia Ehrhardt • E-Mail:

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