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Thursday, November 19, 2015

Review: Manimal - Trapped In The Shadows

Manimal’s new CD “Trapped in the Shadows” is out, after their 2009 debut “The Darkest Room” which did not break much new ground, and sadly “Trapped in the Shadows” doesn’t convince either. There are definitely very good bits and pieces in there now and then but Manimal doesn’t seem to bring about the epicness they sometimes strive for. And that is a shame, because the little bits and pieces actually have promise, they are just a bit too few and far between.

The start of the album is one of those parts that promise a lot. The ominous drums, sounding far away and closing in, with the synths creating a very dark and epic image that creeps up on you, actually gets you on the tip of your seat for a short while. Sadly, after this the song doesn’t deliver; the main riff that is repeated throughout the song – a bit too little variation already – is pretty bland, a staple of what was done before in this genre and not really even given a new creative twist. This will sadly be exemplary of the rest of the album; The guitars try a lot, but stay in such a confined set of licks and riffs that everybody knows already, they do not add an awful lot to the mix. The solo’s follow a similar path; they are technically sound but just don’t shine out, anywhere.

The drums seem the only thing that really shines out, breaking away often from the standard up-tempo driving double-bass that is very prevalent in power metal. It’s surely there, but only measure for measure, and if the music demands something else the drums deliver, an often very groovy and almost dancy sound. The drum solo in “Silent Messiah” is a very good showcase of what is a pretty talented drummer.

If there is a song that shines out it is this same song, not only for the drums but the overall band seems to all come together for a change, and it does fall into place for a moment. The riffs break out into quick death-y riffs that pummel on and on, while the singing for a change isn’t all about how high the screams can go, but have more substance. The whole song is just a unit, a little gem around the rest of the album.

Maybe it is because Manimal is still only in their second album, but they do not impress at first sight. “Trapped in the Shadows” is not hard to listen to; it is just not exhilarating either because it never really grabs you by the throat to scream in your face.

Written by Frank van Drunen

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