Heavy Metal and Sweden simply belong together. Thanks to bands like Hammerfall or Dream Evil the country in the north of Europe and especially the city of Gothenburg play a major role in the international power metal scene. MANIMAL are hailing from Gothenburg as well and are celebrating their 20th anniversary this year. Since there is no better way to celebrate such a milestone than with a new album the band will soon release their fourth record called „Armageddon“. Because of this we reached out to the group and asked singer Samuel Nyman for an interview.
Hi and thanks a lot for taking time for this interview! It’s been a rough (and) weird time these past 18 months. How are you?
Hi! Yeah, it’s been some hard times for everyone, but we are fine, thank you. With our new album coming out soon everyone in the band is riding on a positive wave at the moment, although the effects off the pandemic are still present in some ways.
Roughly three years have passed since the release of your last album „Purgatorio“. What has been happening for MANIMAL since?
Basically we have been touring, writing and recording ever since. Nothing more, nothing less.
If I am not mistaken, this year marks MANIMALs 20th anniversary. How does that make you feel?
I’m so proud of what we’ve achieved the past 20 years. We’ve released four albums of high-quality metal music and toured, not only Europe, but U.S.A and Russia as well. Who would have thought that when we started the band 20 years ago? Not me.
With „Armageddon“ your new album is about to be released. What can you tell us about the record?
„Armageddon“ is ten heavy metal songs which are all killer, no filler. Or to use an old cliché; it’s our best album to date. I can’t put it any other way because that’s exactly how all four of us in the band feel about this album.
How would you say has your sound evolved since „Purgatorio“?
I think this album takes off where the last one ended. I would say „Armageddon“ is the natural sequel of Purgatorio, sound-wise. We have just taken our song writing up one notch and added some new element, but other than that it’s very much the same thing.
How did the songwriting and recording for „Armageddon“ go down? Did you have to change the way you work because of the pandemic?
The songwriting’s been done pretty much the same way as always. Me and Henrik are used to working on distance in our own home studios so the pandemic didn’t affect that part, at least. Both of us write and record ideas which we then share with each other over the internet. When it was time to record the actual album, we obviously couldn’t avoid meeting each other. Even though we tried to avoid any unnecessary contact. To summarize I’d say we were able to work the same way as on previous albums with just some minor practical adjustments to our workflow to keep it as safe as possible.
You chose a really strong artwork for your new album. Who created it?
The man behind both the album artwork and the single artworks is the very talented Stan W. Decker. He was recommended to us by our booking agency who previously had been working with Stan. We are so satisfied with what he has created for us. We had some basic ideas of the artwork which we presented to Stan. Out of that he visualized our ideas, and the result was even beyond what we hoped for.
What are the lyrics of the new album about?
There is a common thread of darkness, evil, hate and insanity leading through the lyrics of the album. Pretty heavy stuff. But despite the dark themes it’s not our intention to bring more sadness and depression into the world. Rather the opposite. We hope our listeners will find strength and hope in our songs. It can be really therapeutic and relieving to scream out “Burn in hell!” along with the chorus on the opening track of the album. Try for yourself.
Sweden, especially Gothenburg, has brought forth many influential metal bands over the decades. How do you fell about the current state of the Swedish (and international) metal scene?
I think both the Swedish, as well as the global metal scene are stronger than ever. There are so many great bands out there and there’s so much great music being released that it’s hard to keep up with it.
Are you already making touring plans for the time when concerts are finally back?
We certainly are. Together with our booking agency we are looking at some different touring options for us in the winter/spring next year and one after the summer. In addition to touring, we’re also going to play a couple of festivals next year. One, which we are very much looking forward to, is Bang Your Head!!! in Balingen, Germany.
How do you feel about entrance restrictions (i.e. proof of vaccination, PCR tests etc.) for live shows?
If it’s what it takes to get the entertainment business going again, then sure. But I would prefer it to be seen as the last way out, when the only alternative is complete ban of events.
Thank you for the interview! Please let us do a short brainstorming in the end of this interview. What comes in your mind first reading the following terms:
W.A.S.P.: Great live performances!
Pay To Play: It sucks, but it’s the way things work these days.
Gothenburg Sound: Fredrik “Studio Fredman” Nordström
Tourbus: Smelly *laugh*
MANIMAL in 10 years: Still around releasing metal albums of finest quality and touring around the world, playing arenas.
Once again thanks for your time. The last words are yours – is there anything left you want to tell our readers?
I know the album format is not sacred to most music consumers these days. The vast majority just add single songs to their playlists on streaming platforms. But if you’re into metal music, do yourself a favor and have a listen to our new album „Armageddon“, and listen to the whole album. I promise you won’t regret it. More likely you’ll be MANIMALIZED! Thanks for the word.
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