A normal album review process for me usually goes like either of these: (a) it is an album I like and I know others with somewhat similar taste will also like it, or (b) it is an album that didn’t really work for me and I know others with similar interests in music won’t be impressed by it, either. So far for this website I’ve only written about albums I love and I know readers with similar taste would like. Then came Mana. This is admittedly the first time I’m writing about an album I love but I wouldn’t be surprised if some other heavy metal listeners (hence the readers of Ride Into Glory) will not be quite into it.
Does this mean the album is bad? Not quite, it is just outside the familiar sphere of pure heavy metal we know and love that is the no frills riff attacks, guitar harmonies, and galloping rhythms. This one, instead, is gloomy, moody, sad, and dark. While not the old-school-worshipping, from-eighties-time-travelling, manic-on-speed album we all undoubtedly would enjoy; Idle Hands bring something else to the table.
After playing in several previous heavy metal bands, the band’s first EP as Idle Hands came out last year and it was titled Don’t Waste Your Time. As I love making jokes about that title, I have to repeat it again. If you like any kind of post-punk or similar gloomy, dark music and you wouldn’t mind to hear it mixed with melodic heavy metal, definitely ignore the advice of the EP’s title and check it out, you won’t be wasting your time. And after listening to it a couple of times, if you’re thinking “I wish they upped the post-punk sound even more”, allow me to lead the way to their debut full-length.
Every time I revisit this album, I notice that I’m still enjoying it very much…for all the reasons I enjoy goth-rock / post-punk rather than heavy metal. The entire guitar work of Sebastian Silva (the tone, the riffs, the rhythms, the solos) combined with Gabriel Franco’s vocals make this album the sweetest spot to get into heavy metal if you’re a fan of any of the following: The Cure, Joy Division, Sisters of Mercy, or Danzig/Misfits; or if you’re already a fan of previous heavy metal / post-punk mixes of Sister-era In Solitude or Deathsvn.
Unless you’ve been completely oblivious to the formatting, you must have noticed that the artist/band names in articles come in bold here at Ride Into Glory. This was yet another great opportunity for me to bundle up all the reference points in the same sentence to create a dark, bold, singular focus of attention to emphasise once more that this album will be an immediate love if you’re into the goth-rock / post-punk side of things.
The album cover with the heart shaped water in the hands is not quite what you would normally expect to see on a heavy metal album, but I feel like we already agreed upon that “not what you expect from your regular heavy metal album” is the ongoing theme here. The heavy red themes of the previous EP are replaced with dark blue aesthetics this time; but unlike the difference in colour choices, the band seem to have taken some other things in the same direction of the EP, and even further. The vocals were always very in line with their post-punk sound but this time around they’re even more pretentious than ever before. I have to admit that the howling/barking backing vocals do add to the gloomy yet pretentious mood of the album, but they took a couple listens for me to get used to.
What accompany those vocals are their lyrics. Overall I have no problem with them but at some points (you’ll probably figure out that I’m talking about Double Negative here when you listen to the album) they feel most certainly weaker than the rest of the album. Besides those head-scratcher points, the lyrics are also very much fitting to the aesthetics the band is going for.
Overall, this album is one of my most listened releases of this year simply because how catchy and melodic it is – a lot of replay value without any sign of boredom so far for me. The weaker songs are not as good as the previous EP, but the strong points of the album (as well as the re-recorded EP track) are definitely a step in the good way if you’re into their sound.
The album is coming out on 10th of May, by the Germany-based label Eisenwald with the band going on an extensive European tour to support the release. If you also like the gloomy type of cobwebs in your band logos, keep an eye out on the album.
Album rating: 80/100
Favorite song: Don’t Waste Your Time