MANIMAL – Purgatorio (Album Review)

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Since their formation in 2001, Manimal from Gothenburg have eaten the dreams of starving Metal fans and produced outstanding albums The Darkest Room (2009) and Trapped In The Shadows (2015). They are a literate band, full of deep thoughts and emotional transparency.  No Fake News for these guys – they speak the truth and truth is their power.

I was touched when I spoke to lead singer Sam Nyman in 2016, when asking about his philosophy on life.  He replied, ““Be kind, have an open mind and remember to enjoy life!”  To which, I would heartily concur.

They are a Power Metal leaning outfit, with influences from Classic Metal and progressive rock.  They fill out their soundscapes with great musicianship and intelligent lyrics.  The central themes are death and mental illness.  Samuel filled out the rationale by telling me that “both death and mental illness are interesting, but yet frightening, subjects to dig in to and write about.  It’s also something we all can relate to, in some way.”

MANIMAL – Purgatorio

Their latest recording sees the four-piece charge headlong into the deep dark slumbers of nightmares.  They provide a rich tapestry of musical invention, whilst emotionally investing the listener with wonderful imagery.

Throughout their nine new songs, Manimal illustrate great dexterity with the decibels.  They show songwriting maturity that eludes many bands.  The hooks on numbers such as the title track scorch across the airways in a way rarely heard.  “Our goal has always been to write songs that we love and believe in. The challenge is to make a song with strong hooks without being too predictable. It`s just a bonus when we realize that people around the world seem to have the same good taste in music that we have,” joked frontman Samuel Nyman in their album Press Release.

Nyman is a singers’ singer.  His voice is emotive and powerful, as he hits high notes that make the universe’s glass cabinets splinter into a million pieces.   The songs on Purgatorio mix many different genres, but the best of the bunch are “Spreading The Dread” and “Edge Of Darkness“, along with the title track.

Spreading The Dread“combines metalcore riffing with a great subchorus.  Chugging guitars showcase the versatility of guitarist Henrik Stenroos.  The latter tune hits all the epic sweetspots.

Traitor” is ACCEPT-like, with some Metallica/thrash influence.

Final Thoughts

The whole collection is classy and powerful.  It may not hit the heights of the last album, but it is an excellent release for AFM Records!

There is only one question to be answered: Why did Manimal decide on an Italian title? Nyman explains. “First, it’s the title of one of the strongest songs of the album. Second, it’s a powerful word that fits perfectly as the title of a metal album in general and this recording in particular. For me, it reflects the state of mankind and the world today – the general, ongoing decay which we seem to lack the ability to stop. Many of the lyrics on the album circle around that kind of theme. Purgatorio is also the original title of the second part of great Dante Alighieri’s masterpiece ‘The Divine Comedy’. It’s not the first time that we’ve found inspiration in that specific work of literature.”

Samuel Nyman (Vocals), Henrik Stenroos (Guitars), Kenny Boufadene (Bass), André Holmqvist (Drums)

Buy: Purgatorio
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