Idle Hands – Mana (Eisenwald)
NWOGOM – New Way Of Goth Metal. There you go, we’ve coined it (we think). There’s a website called NWOGM focusing on new German metal, so we had to insert an ‘O’.
Hit the play button on Idle Hands’ debut album and you’ll see where we’re coming from.
The quartet harness Maiden-esque guitars, The Sisters Of Mercy’s pitch black sonics and shiny, anthemic 80s metal to some absolutely jaw-dropping songwriting, and it all gives Mana enough kick to propel the Portland boys skywards.
Singer Gabriel Franco – former bassist with Spellcaster – has a kind of Danzig/Steele/Eldritch style, which works hand in leather glove with his band’s urgent riffery and haunting atmospherics. And if you were looking for something to fill the void left by In Solitude’s exit, you’ve found it in Idle Hands.
In truth, the US outfit already promised much on 2018’s Don’t Waste Your Time EP… and one of its most scintillating tracks, Blade In The Will, makes a re-appearance here. Mana thankfully doesn’t deviate to that release’s blueprint, with opener Nightfall giving us a snappy, turbo-charged live favourite in the making, and Give Me To The Night offering a devlish pack between Priest and The Cure, signed in blood on a field of the Nephilim.
Indeed, as Don’t Waste Your Time proved, Idle Hands are at their most thrilling when they up the pace: slower burners like It’ll Be Over Before You Know It and Dragon, Why Do You Cry are nice vehicles for Franco’s vocals, and boast some slick axework, but it’s the likes of Cosmic Overdrive and Double Negative, songs smothered in glorious hooks and metallic swagger, that really get pulses racing.
With Mana, Oregon’s best kept secret is out: you better get on board.