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Review: Manimal - Purgatorio

Label: AFM Records
Year released: 2018
Duration: 42:01
Tracks: 9
Genre: Power Metal

Rating: 3.75/5

Review online: September 15, 2018
Reviewed by: Bruno Medeiros
Readers Rating

Rated 4.27/5 (85.45%) (11 Votes)

Swedish four-piece group Manimal rely on strong modern Power Metal elements and have been around for a while, releasing two albums prior to Purgatorio. Borrowing from the 2000's and 90's eras, these dudes have been showcasing music which could be traced to bands like mid-career Nocturnal Rites, Primal Fear and even Judas Priest.

Samuel Nyman, leader and vocalist, is once again at the helm and orchestrates his peers to form a more Heavy, less Power album than its predecessors The Darkest Room (2009) and Trapped in the Shadows (2015), which in fact can only be entirely seen from the mid-tempo "Manimalized" on. The first two tracks carry the trademark of the band's early entries and while the high-pitched screams Nyman got known for are gradually giving place to a cleaner approach, the choruses in the title track is still approached with a pure Power Metal style.

"Black Plague", less flowery and more direct, resembles the Heavy/Power vibe of acts such as Cage and Brainstorm. With a strong and manly bridge and chorus, it quickly pumps you up to the best song on the album, "Purgatorio". Creating a cool atmosphere right from the start with killer riffs and awesome drum work by André Holmqvist, the track soars high in the chorus, where Nyman shines with Ralf Scheepers-like howls.

Songs like "Traitor" and "Denial" further consolidate Manimal as a modern sounding reliable band, as the crunchy riffs, blasting drums and carefully crafted mix of instrumental and vocal lines always seem like the right choices at the right times, making the entire endeavor sound organic and fun. "Behind enemy Lines", for instance, use these elements quite well by allying the overall instrumental with some nice keyboard lines in the backgrounds and a bang-along chorus; a song that will definitely be played live.

With great production, decent songwriting and a good number of memorable parts, Purgatorio illustrates the image of a band focused on doing the best job possible without losing their musical guidance or proposal. The album does lose a bit of steam in the middle portion, but quickly picks up the pace again and ends on a high note, and the length of 42 minutes is a breeze compared to other pompous Power Metal albums out there. Recommended.

Other related information on the site
Review: The Darkest Room (reviewed by Christopher Foley)
Interview with vocalist Samuel Nyman on September 3, 2022 (Interviewed by Luxi Lahtinen)
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