Released: 2015, AFM Records
There was a television show in 1983 called Manimal that was canceled after 8 episodes. TV Guide ranked it number fifteen in a list of the fifty worst television shows of all time. I do not know if the band named themselves after the show, but they have far surpassed the longevity of that failed run. Formed in Gothenburg, Sweden in 2001, TRAPPED IN THE SHADOWS is only the band’s second LP, coming six years after the band’s debut album, THE DARKEST ROOM. AFM picked up the band for the new album and after listening to the opening track “Irresistible” it is easy to see why. Manimal has a Germanic approach to their music, combining major elements of Primal Fear with Judas Priest’s PAINKILLER album and the band Bloodbound.
Samuel Nyman’s high falsetto recalls Ralf Scheepers and Ripper Owens, his impressive range one of the immediately noticeable elements of Manimal’s music. The title track stands out as a worthy representative for much of the album, with Nyman’s helium throat soaring over heavy and melodic chugs and riffs that combine NWOBHM with power metal. “Invincible” contains one of the album’s heavier riffs to open the song and serves a showcase for Nyman during the chorus. “Man-Made Devil” slows things down a bit adding some darker atmosphere and variety to the mix. Sequenced near the end is the progressive semi-ballad “The Journey”, which features Udo Dirkschneider sharing vocals with Nyman. The album closer “Psychopomp” is a worthy deep album track, the verse sounding like classic Morgana Lefay.
In keeping with the Primal Fear connection, the album was mixed and mastered by Achim Koehler, known for his sound production with Primal Fear and Sinner. Guitars are loud and clear but on the whole the entire album sounds good, with Nyman receiving a prominent place in the mix. There are no weak songs on TRAPPED IN THE SHADOWS, but there are no truly amazing and standout tunes either. Still, this is solid and respectable album that will have definite appeal to Primal Fear and PAINKILLER fans.