Published on September 19th, 2018 | by Justin G.
Manimal: Purgatorio (AFM)
Well, well, what have we here? A brand new studio album from Swedish heavy/power metal band Manimal. Their previous album (2015’s Trapped in the Shadows) was a major breakthrough, so I had high hopes for this one. It’s called Purgatorio, and it’s being released just in time for the band’s debut performance in the USA at this year’s ProgPower USA festival. And if nothing else that cover art is promising in an old school Black Mark Morgana Lefay/Tad Morose kind of way.
Manimal’s sound is squarely in the heavy, melodic power metal style. Think Primal Fear meets Brainstorm meets Nocturnal Rites, and if that doesn’t sound appealing I don’t know what will. Vocalist Samuel Nyman’s amazing range is what immediately stands out about Purgatorio (and Manimal in general), but the guitar work is equally memorable and the rhythms are beyond infectious. Basically everything great about power metal (and very little of the genre’s cheesiness) is captured here.
Purgatorio has has just nine tracks and barely clears 40 minutes, but the nine songs they deliver here are damn near perfect. They range from ultra-melodic anthems (“Black Plague”) to driving headbangers like “Traitor” (which sounds like Brainstorm doing Judas Priest’s “Jawbreaker”) to the gloriously epic (“Purgatorio” and “The Fear Within”). There are symphonic touches here and there, but the album doesn’t get too far from the basics of guitars, drums and a very powerful voice.
It isn’t the massive leap forward that Trapped in the Shadows was over The Darkest Room, but Manimal did manage to evolve and improve with Purgatorio. It’s another powerhouse album that immediately joins the ranks of 2018’s best power metal releases. If you’re a fan of bands like Nocturnal Rites, Brainstorm, Primal Fear, Tad Morose and power metal in general, this is an album you will not want to miss.
PS – The band absolutely killed at ProgPower USA.
Summary: Apparently all the good power metal is coming at the end of the year.