Andromeda - Manifest Tyranny
Inner Wound Recordings
Progressive Metal
10 songs (63'53")
Release year: 2011
Reviewed by Erik

Politically-charged albums or album content have been around for ages. Witness everything from Pink Floyd's The Wall to Queensryche's Operation Mindcrime to Megadeth, Lamb Of God, and the list goes on as long as a corrupt official's indictment. To that list we can officially add Swedish proggers Andromeda, hitting the streets with their latest album Manifest Tyranny. Those of you just coming off The Immunity Zone will immediately notice the continuation of their more minimalist approach of late. It's a lean, basic style that gets the job done without fanfare or pizzazz. The complexity of yore is largely gone, replaced with a much more direct writing style, which gets their message through effectively.

The lyric content, in particular, is noticeably in-your-face, with a great deal of voiceovers intermixed throughout, so those of you who wouldn't care to hear Obama talk during a metal track beware. Manifest Tyranny goes after politicians and principalities alike with a venom rarely heard this side of Rage Against The Machine. Cuts like False Flag and Lies 'R' Us leave no doubt of the band's intentions with this album, and it shows with every razor-edged riff and pounding drum hit. Opener Preemptive Strike begins with an unapologetic rip at the listener's ear; no lush keyboard intro for this one. Interestingly, just when you think this will devolve into mindless heaviness, the guitar tone becomes a much warmer and develops great emotion.

Fortunately, the elements that make Andromeda a unique listen are all still present. Behind the mic David Fremberg delivers quite the performance, with a tremendous sense of melody. Interwoven throughout the tapestry are some wonderful guitar and keyboard arrangements courtesy of Johan Reinholdz and Martin Hedin. Martin, in particular, utilizes a dazzling array of different sounds and pads, solidifying his place within progressive metal as one of the best in the business. Both instruments' use -- or lack of overt flashiness -- defines the stripped-down sound and utilizes quality over quantity. Tracks such as the riff-heavy Stay Unaware and album closer Antidote with its striking vocals and a great piano solo showcase the band's ability to provide a skillfully diminished yet effective atmosphere. Survival Of The Richest delves into a gloomy pondering, while False Flag and Asylum demonstrate a tendency towards electronic effects, to mimic the harsh modern nature of the subject matter. Voiceovers, as mentioned before, are peppered throughout many other cuts including the bluesier Play Dead and Chosen By God, another place Fremberg's singing displays brilliance.

Those who have been following Andromeda since their inception or listened to more than one of their albums has started to catch on by now that there have never been a sub-par offering from this talented band. As another reviewer succinctly put it, there are only good and great entries in their discography. Manifest Tyranny may not necessarily stand as their best album thus far, and it may take several spins to fully appreciate the musicianship while weaving and ducking around the voiceovers. However, if your life's goal has been to someday stage a demonstration against a dictatorship, Andromeda has the perfect soundtrack.

Killing Songs :
Stay Unaware, False Flag, Antidote
Erik quoted 85 / 100
Other albums by Andromeda that we have reviewed:
Andromeda - II = I reviewed by Ben and quoted 28 / 100
Andromeda - Extension Of The Wish reviewed by Chris and quoted 80 / 100
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