Trapped In The Shadows
Release Date: November 20, 2015
2015 has been a pretty damn stellar year for metal, to be sure. It seems that every single month has seen an exceptional release from both well-established bands and newcomers alike. And now, on the cusp of a new year, just when you think 2015 has given us all it’s going to, Manimal sends the old year off with a bang with their sophomore album Trapped In The Shadows.
First off I know what you’re thinking: “Manimal? Seriously?”. I get it. The name is preposterous and extra-cheesy. Believe it or not, they’re not the only band ever to use the moniker. Evidently there was a French death metal act which decided to go the same inexplicable route. But I digress. I thought the same thing upon my introduction to the band. I was prepared for… well… I’m not entirely sure what I was prepared for, but one thing is for sure, I was not banking on being impressed. And that, dear metal heads, is exactly what this Swedish-born foursome have done, in a big way. I was not expecting the level of class, precision, and sophistication that Trapped In The Shadows brings to the table. The production is super slick on this one, everything shines like polished chrome. Crunchy riffs courtesy of Henrik Stenroos, punchy percussion of André Holmqvist, the solid low end of bassist Kenny Boufadene and the vocals of Samuel Nyman (holy **** people, the vocals!) are soaring and powerful to say the least. I am reminded a great deal of Heavenly’s Benjamin Sotto, whose upper range is also supremely impressive.
The album opens with an atmospheric intro, symphonic and gradually increasing in urgency, which builds up to the razor sharp riff and piercing vocals which make up “Irresistible”. The infectious combination of melody and heavy groove continues throughout the album with some decidedly progressive moments interspersed along the way such as the synth work in “The Dark”. The album also includes a very special treat, a guest appearance by ACCEPT/U.D.O vocalist Udo Dirkschneider during “The Journey”. The title track, “Trapped in the Shadows” showcases everything that makes this group so spectacular: intense riffing, awe-inspiring vocals, and undeniably significant levels of melody. And double bass. Did I mention the copious amounts of double bass drums? Check out “Invincible” and the sinister sounding “Psychopomp” for a taste of that.
If you in any way appreciate melodic metal, especially of the power metal persuasion, then you simply cannot pass this one up. Fans of Judas Priest, Primal Fear, Brainstorm and the aforementioned Heavenly take note.
Reviewed by: Farron1340