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Review: Manimal - The Darkest Room
The Darkest Room

Label: AFM Records
Year released: 2009
Duration: 38:48
Tracks: 9
Genre: Heavy/Power Metal

Rating: 4.75/5

Review online: September 20, 2009
Reviewed by: Christopher Foley
Readers Rating
The Darkest Room

Rated 4.29/5 (85.71%) (14 Votes)

Holy shit this smokes. One of AFM's finer moves of late is snapping up Swedish Prog/Power metallers Manimal – fortunately too, otherwise this wouldn't be blasting out my speakers right now. Much like the Red Circuit releases, I labeled this prog/power although there is a very strong Power(ful) Metal tinge to the effort. Seems like Power(ful) Metal is the new black for the scene – though I'm not complaining, releases from acts such as Brainstorm, Bloodbound, or aforementioned Red Circuit, have given me a damn sore neck. Manimal offer up a damn fine slab of Power(ful) Metal here, their sound is similar to that of Tad Morose spliced up with Brainstorm – although stamping their own mark of originality throughout. Singer Sam Nyman is truly first rate, the fact I can compare this guy to the almighty Daniel Heiman should make you all sit up and take notice. This guy kicks ass, his range is impeccable and he commands a mighty high register, much like Heiman or singers such as Geoff Tate or the late great Midnight.

Mainly a mid-paced affair throughout – however this never plods along, every damn song commands your attention, and of course there's speedy riffs and double bass bursts planted throughout to keep everyone happy. It's amazing just how much The Darkest Room offers, all the tracks own this pounding groove upon which the rest of the song is built up around. Each and every track offers up something special, there are some really nice progressively tinged parts around, not to mention massive riffage that guarantees the head to start banging along. Personal favorites of mine would stand out as tracks such as "Ordinary Man" with a sweet structure to it, and a nice Tad Morose feel, the massive riff at 1.15 continues to kick my ass play after play. "The Life We Lived" has a massive Queensrÿche feel to it which tickles me just right – Sam delivers a sublime performance here. The way the track progresses is immense, you just have to hear it. The title track is another of the cooler tracks on offer, another stunning vocal performance. To be honest though all the tracks kick ass here – no filler!

Manimal should have a bright future ahead of them if they keep putting out material like this, the mere thought of a follow up gets my mind racing. A superb release that Progressive and Power Metal fans would be a fool not to get their hands on this – do yourself a favor and get this now.

Other related information on the site
Review: Purgatorio (reviewed by Bruno Medeiros)
Interview with vocalist Samuel Nyman on September 3, 2022 (Interviewed by Luxi Lahtinen)
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