Manifest Tyranny

01. Preemptive Strike
02. Lies ’R’ Us
03. Stay Unaware
04. Survival of the Richest
05. False Flag
06. Chosen by God
07. Asylum
08. Play Dead
09. Go back to Sleep
10. Antidote

Johan Reinholdz (Guitar)
David Fremberg (Vocals)
Thomas Lejon (Drums)
Martin Hedin (Keyboards)
Linus "Mr. Gul" Abrahamson (Bass)

Extension of the Wish (2001)
II=I (2003)
Extension of the Wish - Final Extension (2004)
Chimera (2006)
Playing Off The Board (DVD/CD 2007)
The Immunity Zone (2008)


Markus Sigfridsson (art)

Released 25/11-2011
Reviewed 28/2-2011

inner wound

As with most complex and complicated music, the first thing that strikes you when you hear Andromeda will be something like "they sound almost like Dream Theater". And sure, they do that. But after ten years since their debut, Andromeda has developed much more than a skill to use a Xerox machine on Dream Theater albums. 'Manifest Tyranny' is the seventh release by the band and it follows three years after their last album, which is the longest gap between two albums by this band. So what have they done that has taken this extra amount of time?

As with most complex and complicated music, the first times this album spins in your player will probably not give you too much satisfaction since it takes some time to put all the pieces together in a puzzle. I felt more or less nothing when I played the album the first few times but the more chances I gave Andromeda to have something more valuable buried beneath, the more I felt that they actually had just that. After all, it's not my first encounter with this band and I know the potential that this band has when they want to show it. So, after searching for a while, I did find a hidden treasure inside 'Manifest Tyranny' too.

Before I get into to the details on what I found in the treasure chest of 'Manifest Tyranny' I just want to share something written on wikipedia about Andromeda: "The style emphasizes on strong keyboards and technical drumming. The band is also well known for the smooth vocals of David Fremberg". Nothing really wrong there, but in the Swedish almost identical version this information hadn't been flagged as bias information affiliated with the band and therefore it said "excellent drumming" instead of "technical" as well as "smooth voice and brilliant vocals" instead of "smooth vocals". Now, it may well be that Hallowed is to 99% is "non-impartial" but even I feel that putting words like "excellent" and "brilliant" in a dictionary-ish material is just somewhat wrong, regardless of how true it is. So… is it true at all with 'Manifest Tyranny'?

Well… partly. The keyboards are not particularly strong in this beholders eyes but the drums does sometimes shine a bit, all though calling them excellent might be one step to much for me. The vocals are smooth and comfortable to listen to but neither would I go bananas here and call them "brilliant" or anything else on the superlative scale. I do think there is one instrument that really shine, and that's the bass, which constantly takes the music forward. I also think the theme of the album adds to the plus side. It's not that I've started to be possessed by lyrics and such, I still don't listen to them, but on this album the music has clearly been adjusted to work with the theme and it's nice to hear that it actually makes the album better for a change.

The melodies on this album are quite complex and unexpected but there are also quite "normal" songs that begins and ends without taking of somewhere else in the middle. This is something I feel is very good with this band and the normal thing within this genre are all too often to go somewhere where they don't even know where they want to go with their music and just end up in the middle of nothing. Andromeda gets somewhere, their music have direction and despite having lots of strange and advanced stuff within their music like tempo changes more or less everywhere they seem to know where this will take them and they know they don't have to have these everywhere - it works without them as well.

The tempo is mostly quite high and now and then I feel they chose quite unusual tempos instead of the "normal" quarter-fourth-related tempo most bands use all the time. This might give you a feeling of dissillusion within Andromedas music but the more you hear it, the more solid it feels. I also want to add a small golden star on the clips with quotes the use through the album, especially in the song false Flag where they use chosen parts of Barack Obamas speech when he was given the Nobel price. Very nicely done!

'Manifest Tyranny' gives you progressive hard rock in the same vein as Dream Theater and the best tracks on this album are Chosen By God, Asylum and the opening song Preemptive Strike. However, I don't think this album will go to history as the best album ever made. Still, it is good and it is well made and it is interesting all the way. The members of the band are all good musicians and the vocalist sounds good too. The problem is that it can't pass that bar between good and really good more than on a few occasions. Overall it falls below too much and therefore I feel it can't be considered better than just good. But I do think it's an album you should lend an ear if you like progressive hard rock and if you've liked this band earlier you don't even need to lend it - then you can buy it straight away!



Label: Inner Wounds Recordings/Connecting Music
Three similar bands: Dream Theater/Clandestine/Castillion
Rating: HHHHHHH (4/7)
Reviewer: Caj Källmalm

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