Sometimes a band comes out with an album that begs the question “why has no one done this before?”. Idle Hands prompt this question with their infectious debut album Mana as they fuse epic heavy metal with cold gothic rock. Admittedly, gothic influences in heavy metal aren’t groundbreaking, but Mana’s quality and integrity in uniting these two certainly is.
Founded in 2017, Idle Hands made their first appearance with the Don’t Waste Your Time EP in 2018. Though it was a solid first effort, Mana sees the band realize their full potential. The performances are stellar, the songwriting is tighter and the sound is on point. The true genius of Mana, however, lies in its catchiness. Songs like the title track, Jackie, and Give Me to the Night overflow with sweet guitarleads and sing-along choruses that are impossible to resist.
Album opener Nightfall sets the pace with an electrifying rhythm and guitar adornments that complete the musical backdrop for the performance of vocalist Gabriel Franco. The deadpan vocal delivery is full of powerful moments, accompanied by double bass backed spikes in intensity. Idle Hands show well-placed restraint in deploying blastbeats and double bass drums and utilize them to tastefully strengthen the more metal moments of Mana on songs like Cosmic Overdrive and The Blade and the Will.
For his lyrics, vocalist Franco pulls from classic gothic themes such as lost love and suicide for songs like Jackie, Double Negative and A Single Solemn Rose. Cosmic Overdrive and Nightfall on the other hand dive into the fantastic and occult. But Franco treads a fine line with his lyrics. With excessively dramatic lines about love and life the lyrics are right between silly and awesome. Ultimately, Dragon, Why Do You Cry is the only song that lets the integrity of his act crumble somewhat.
Idle Hands are just completely on point with Mana. Piling on memorable tracks and catchy melodies, passionate performances and unrivaled skill in fusing gothic rock with heavy metal. Idle Hands make a debut that fits nicely into the current heavy metal renaissance. So grab your leather jacket and head out. The night is calling.