Manimal_Trapped in the ShadowsThis is quite a surprise, as I never expected to hear from these guys again. Manimal (who’s name I hate because it reminds me of the ultra cheesy 70s sci-fi show) dropped a promising debut in 2009 then proceeded to fall off the edge of the world. I forgot them, life went on and then, BOOM! A new Manimal album arrives in my promo bin. Trapped in the Shadows (T.I.T.S. for short) features two original members and luckily for all concerned, one of them is vocalist Samuel Nyman, whose epic, Halford-esque vocals made the debut noteworthy. So what has six years done to the band? Not much apparently, as their style is still a cross between Painkiller worship and 80s style Euro-power. Geezers like myself are clearly the demographic for this vintage stew and I don’t mind the target marketing one bit.

As if to re-establish the band’s bona-vides after such a long absence, they open with the ripping “Irresistible,” which is more or less as advertised and as much a Painkiller homage/clone as anything Primal Fear ever attempted. Nyman’s stratospheric vocals soar over simple power chords and before you know it, it’s 1990 all over again and you’re drinking Meister Bräu. It’s a rote but entertaining tune and I’m such a sucker for this crap, someone else really should be reviewing this (but not AMG because he’s a hater). They easily top this gem with the much more overblown “The Dark” where Mr. Nyman strives to drag his scrotal nether-regions up through his chest cavity via the medium of screaming and high pitched wailing. It works much the same way any cut off Painkiller worked and it’s an enormous amount of fun to reenact the epic vocal delivery that must accompany such a banshee-like performance.

The rest of the album plays out better than expected, with the title track and “Invincible” offering more meat n’ taters vintage metal with exuberantly bombastical vocals and catchy choruses. “Silent Messiah” deviates from the Judas Priest worship for some premium Helloween adoration, and Nyman’s delivery is so surprisingly similar to a young Michael Kiske, that those pumpkin-headed fools may want to poach him for a final run at the glory of the Keepers albums.

Manimal_2016

While there is no stinker here, “Man-Made Devil” is a bit less inspired, though the slower, more grinding approach is a nice change of pace. Likewise, “The Journey” is just okay, despite the appearance of the legendary Udo Dirkschneider (U.D.O., ex-Accept) on guest vocals. Sound-wise, T.I.T.S. is a pretty easy album to listen to. The guitars are given a lot of oomph and weight and Nyman is placed up front in the mix but not annoyingly so.

As with any band attempting this style of metal, the make or break factor is the vocalist, and Mr. Nyman can belt, wail and warble like a champ. At times he even outdoes the premier Halford imitator, Ralf Scheepers (Primal Fear). His upper range is indeed impressive and at times he even reminds me of Daniel Heiman (Lost Horizon, Heed) and that’s quite the compliment. He is guilty of over using his air raidy, outdoor voice which lessens it’s overall impact, but there’s no denying the man has more pipes than most plumbing supply emporiums. Axe-man Henrik Stenroos provides a plethora of hefty, crunchy riffs, and though a lot of what he does is right out of Metal Riffing 101, it works well enough for this genre. His solos are nothing mind-blowing but they check the boxes. Another guitarist would help with more dynamic harmonies but the music still succeeds more often than not.

T.I.T.S. is an enjoyably meatheaded metal album steeped in the classics, but if it weren’t for the above average vocals of Nyman, this would probably be forgotten pretty quickly. With him onboard though, this threatens to be the best Primal Fear album of 2016, though Primal Fear may have something to say about that later this month. The Battle of the Priest Clones is about to be joined. Pick a side, and no, you can’t be Bobba Fett.


Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 6| Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: AFM Records
Websites: manimal.se | facebook.com/manimalofficial
Releases Worldwide: January 20th, 2016

Share →
  • I will listen to this as the soundtrack to MANBORG!

    • If this was an album, I’d review the shit out of it.

      • And if that album was anything like the movie, there are some albums that are so bad they’re good, well in this case, the movie is so bad, it goes beyond good, and becomes bad again. I do NOT recommend it!

    • sir_c

      Still not as gay as Twilight

  • ars_nihili

    No drum intro, though, unfortunately.

    • Monsterth Goatom

      As in None But the Brave? : )

  • Wilhelm

    Just another carbon copy of painkiller. You would think a band with obvious talent could maybe try to form their own sound with different influences (or new ideas?). It almost makes me angry when I hear this.

    • Valid, but as an older chap, I never get tired of this style if it’s done well.

      • Dr. A.N. Grier

        Agreed. I am loving his album. But mostly for the vocals.

        • You wot m8?

          Odd the main reason that I will not be listening to this album is the vocals. To each their own, I guess.

          • Dr. A.N. Grier

            How dare you…

          • Thatguy

            My thoughts exactly, for this album and this genre.

          • Thou art not trve or olde!

          • Thatguy

            Old but not olde. Br00tal in speaking the truth.

            But to each his own…the singer is technically very good -I just can’t bear the sound.

      • Monsterth Goatom

        I’m a sucker for that chugging guitar sound. Never gets olde, or…. It does… Which is good! And sweet Satan, those vocals! Are you sure Nyman isn’t a Castrato?

        • sir_c

          What a vice can do…

    • Two weeks into 2016 and this is the fifth review on this site of a retro/copy-old-riffs album, if I counted correctly. Assuming the trend continues, and let’s do that because it’s convenient, this site will soon transform you from an almost angry metal guy into a full-blown Angry Metal Guy…

  • André Snyde Lopes

    T.I.T.S., ay? Stay classy, Druhm.

    • I didn’t title this thing. I’m no Manimal!

      • sir_c

        Mammalianimal you mean

    • Next album title is Brought On Only By Suffering.

      • sir_c

        Did Van Halen not have an album title in this direction?

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    Manimal (the show) was from the 80’s. It didn’t seem cheesy to me, it was awesome! I was about 8 years old, by the way.

    • BaboonKing

      Nostalgia is a crafty demon. Just search for “Manimal Opening Credits” on YouTube. Heh… tough stuff. ;)

      • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

        I have to admit those FX were impressive for 8-years old me. After re-watching it I have come to believe that probably the whole series was inspired by (or tried to ride the coattails of) Michael Jackson´s “Thriller” video.

        • sir_c

          Impressive like Airwolf and MacGyver are to an 8 year old?

          • Hulksteraus

            Come on… Don’t go dissing Airwolf and MacGyver! Next you’ll be dissing Knight Rider…. Ahh the 80’s… 10 year old me did love those shows :)

          • sir_c

            I think you are interpreting my reply more negatively than I intended. But I must say that now that I am older, I can still enjoy watching Knight Rider and The A-Team. MacGyver not so much anymore, that has become so bad it is bad.

          • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

            You got that right. Airwolf ruled! At least for an 8 year old. I would have to watch it again to find out how it has aged.

    • Ken Averill

      I was about to say, it must have been mid eighties, as I recall enjoying it heartily aged around ten, and did not watch much television as a baby in the mid seventies.

      • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

        It would probably have been a great hit if they made it a kid’s show!

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    Judas Priest kicks so much ass that besides overall Judas Priest Worship as a genre they have managed to spawn a Worship Genre with a single album: Painkiller Worship. Perhaps the only single album worship genre I know of.

    • Diego Molero

      And thats not even Priest’s best album IMO, what makes it even more interesting

      • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

        Judas Priest has such a large and great discography that many arguments could be made about which album is their best. And “Painkiller” is one of their best, where they achieved something few bands are succeful at: they updated their sound without betraying their roots.

        • I agree. A couple of other bands on the short list who managed to do this, would be Anathema, and Testament. Both bands were successful at updating their sound and retaining at least a majority if their core fanbase.

          • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

            I had never looked at it this way, but I agree that Testament updated their sound while staying loyal to their roots. Now I will see “Low” as Testament´s “Painkiller”.

          • Diego Molero

            What about Opeth?

          • I dont know about Opeth. While I’ll agree their sound evolved, but if you’ve ever looked at reviews of Heritage, and to a lesser extent, Pale Communion, not everyone has been pleased with their new direction.

          • Diego Molero

            Yeah those two albums didn’t pleased everybody, but they still have a strong fanbase and while their sound change a lot they still have a sound of their own and remain loyal to their ideas

        • Diego Molero

          Well that I can’t argue about, It really is an excellent album that change the game for them without really changin what they were; a shame that after that album they did change a lot

      • It was the last album before Halford left. Also some of these guys might have gone to the concerts as kids. But yeah… pretty odd choice assuming one has listened to all their albums.

  • WhamBamSam

    Painkiller is my favorite album ever, but I never quite find myself being swept away by its imitators the way I am by some of the trad metal scene. That chorus is pretty irresistible though, I must say.

  • Great to read the Daniel Heiman comparison about Nyman…also I was so glad to see that they released another album, his pipes are just too damn good to fade away like they did after 09!

  • This track is Irresistible!

  • FutureBeyondSatan

    I love me some Meister Brau.

  • Monsterth Goatom

    What’s that he’s singing in Psychopomp? “Mai-Tai Suckerball!”?

  • Carlos Marrickvillian

    OK i just realised my confusion I was reading this and thinking of Manimalism … I think I prefer my manimals with an ism…
    Pretty good tune here, he sure can wail. My problem with it is that it lacks and needs a big hook like a Heloween or Priest song would have.

    • André Snyde Lopes

      “Deeeeeeeeeemons in tuxeeEEEEEEEEeeeeeeedoooooossss!”

      Manimalism fucking rocks!

      • Carlos Marrickvillian

        Yeah sure do! those guys went under the radar hope they get some more love for the next one

  • OKay, all joking aside, I’ve been listening to this record non stop for the past day, and its really growing on me. This style of “retro” or “classic” heavy metal walks a very fine line of being boring and derivative, but I find myself really enjoying these songs. Maybe I’m just in the right mood for it, but this is a hell of an album. Its just too bad that many people will pass on it because of the silly name.

  • JL

    Nice review. Horrible band name, but yea, this album is actually quite strong.