Thursday, January 28, 2016
Manimal - Trapped In The Shadows (2016)
A Swedish interviewer on MA says that around “Man-Made Devil” (5:27) things started to slow down for him. While I can see what he's talking about, I can't completely agree. Even Painkiller had it's slower cuts, like “Touch Of Evil” for example. But there's not a damn thing wrong with that, especially noting how memorable the cut was. With this song however, the band seem to go into an almost theatrical state that brings with it more chunk later on in the piece. There's a piano section, as well as a really interesting theremin type effect that creates an otherworldly atmosphere to the track. It's different, but different is always good. If these guys made nine more copies of “Irresistible” then I would have irresistibly thrown the disc into the waste bin. We need to allow musicians to experiment and evolve, which is what they've done here. “Silent Messiah” (6:02) really comes off like Helloween, which certainly isn't a problem, especially when you're catching Nyman's amazing highs in there. The track adds some electronic effects and orchestration (to which some might utter, what?) which adds a little bit of possibly unneeded longevity to the piece. Though the much shorter cut, “The Journey” (4:13) takes things into a more balladic nature as the legendary Udo Dirkschneider guests on a much different piece than we might expect from the Swedish metal act. It's another experiment, which should appeal to fans of Udo's previous work. “Screaming Out” (4:17) continues the experimentation, as a backing children's choir backs Nyman's chorus. It strikes me as a bit odd, especially seeing that the track is quite punchy. The final note here is “Psychopomp” (5:15) which features an unexpected harsh vocal chorus in lieu of the familiar heavy metal heat. It feels like a bit of an afterthought and doesn't really accomplish anything that hasn't already been accomplished on the earlier cuts.
Having taken the entire album into observation, I can honestly say that it began as a really promising piece. But I feel that after “Man-Made Devil” things just sort of fell apart. The last couple of songs just kind of felt like outcasts and didn't really strike the impact that we felt with the first half of the disc. When you first hear this disc, it's going to feel like a giant has punched you in the face. But as you continue listening, it's going to feel as if that mighty giant has walked on to greener pastures. I liked the fact that they were experimenting, but perhaps it became too much of an experiment at the end, sounding like a band that perhaps got a bit confused or maybe even rushed. Trapped In The Shadows is still worth a listen, but it's a classic example of starting out with a bang and ending with a whimper.
(10 Tracks, 50:00)