Imagine a (very) young band turning up from no-where (or rather Portland, Oregon) and actually doing something unique, something new. Now imagine that this band was also bestowed with the gift of great song writing and a finely-tuned sense of melodies. Sounds like a dream? Well, IDLE HANDS is that band! Their EP “Don’t Waste Your Time” was interesting, but maybe not fully developed. It was a bit of a grower though and behind the not yet perfected sound and performance, there was a slight hint of greater things to come. Then, “Mana” turned up in my inbox… My jaw dropped harder than a Chuck Norris roundhouse kick – just on the first day the album got five spins in a row. This album is genius – pure and simple. The songwriting, the melodies, the musicality… It’s all there! And the style is something new, something fresh, but still not in any way modern.

Think of a mix between Iron Maiden, late Paradise Lost, Fields of Nephilim, Moonspell and Sisters of Mercy and you’ll get decently close to IDLE HANDS sound, but the sum in this case is even greater than it’s parts – so don’t be alarmed. Sure, if you hate the “gothic” way of singing this might not be for you. But if you could love great heavy metal music with nice hints of rock and goth, this will surely be one of your new favourite bands.

Every song on this album is a hit and it hasn’t been a day since it turned up that I’m not humming on one or more of them. Gabriel Franco’s unique voice cements the melodies in your ears and the guitar playing is spot on in every song – complete with memorable hooks and harmonies. If you’re a melody buff there’s no defence against choruses like in the up-tempo metal bit “Give Me to the Night”, the emotional “Jackie” or the Sisters of Mercy-esque “A Single Solemn Rose”, and the sometimes cheesy lyrics just work within the context. Goth is supposed to be a bit cheesy, and apparently this applies to IDLE HANDS’ gothic heavy metal as well.

There are few times when an album feels from the start like it could be one of those milestones in ones life, especially as we get older, but this one has that certain something… If it stands the test of time it’ll be a full score – 10 out of 10 – but for now they have to settle for a 9.

As a footnote it could also be mentioned that the band is a very convincing live act, which hopefully points towards even greater things to come in that field as well.


Band: Idle Hands
Title: Mana
Label: Eisenwald
Date of release: 2019-05-10
Time: 40 min
Rate: 9/10
Stand out tracks: Basically all of them, but “Jackie”, “Give Me to the Night” and “Dragon, Why Do You Cry” are the ones thet get the most humming time.