There is a comedy to purists. They are unaware of it, but the idea of blending or bending genres to them seems unimaginable to the point of hysteria or heresy. Or both. And so I would like to extend an offering to that type of person. Or the one that thinks music dead. For Heavy Meta has arrived with an album that twists, shakes, and tears up convention. Mana Regmata is here for your brain scrambling pleasure.
If you have not heard of the Lowell, MA chameleon unit Heavy Meta, they have only a self-titled EP to their name prior to this. Conceptually and instrumentally, Heavy Meta started taking form in 2013, though the band has been more active since 2017. Those that have heard the EP know of the band’s shapeshifting nature, stepping through and into other genres like they are changing outfits, but with finesse. Now if you already knew that, expect that things are going to get crazier, yet still silky in their adventurousness.
Mana Regmata is what one gets when harnessing chaos. The amount of comparisons one can draw throughout this record is ridiculous. Elements of Botch, Converge, Rush, Every Time I Die, Mr. Bungle, King Crimson, Black Sabbath, and so, so many others get blended together. There are even some punkier sections that verge on grind.
Over eight tracks Heavy Meta light any kind of rule book on fire. Though the band jokingly calls their music "blackened progressive cowboy nintendocore," the opening track "Blastocyst" is merely a taste of the strangeness to come. It's mathy, rockin, catchy, very heavy, strained and a little post hardcore (ala Thrice). And that's only about a minute of the music. Granted, the song keeps this momentum and keeps things funky. But this is the way this record works. It almost moves faster than the mind.
This is how the album works though. Every track is a nugget to unpack. The second track “Caffeine Casket” begins unassumingly with a lot of melody/ambiance before getting into some proggy sections before hitting some more post hardcore. But with a twist. Other tracks like “Boötus Void” are thrasher and punkier but maintain a mathcore/prog edge. Meanwhile the final track “Vicious Wishes” is like an epic metal/stoner track that sounds like something a more digitized Sleep might write.
"My favorite part of the recording process was going through each song after the basic tracks were finished, to try to hear what else there was room for," said multi-instrumentalist and cover artist Kishor Haulenbeek. "Something about the songs seemed to be calling out for new sounds and textures.
"Maybe that feeling came from an excess of familiarity with the demo versions. We had fairly complete instrumental demos of all of these tracks before we even started, so I guess it makes sense that I was looking for a way to breathe 'new life' into them. We wound up recording a lot of extras and backing parts during mixing – backing vocals, some bass that sounds like a guitar, some bass and guitar that sound like keyboards, and a bunch of different keyboard sounds as well. I wound up hanging a microphone over the speaker of my son's toy Yamaha keyboard for some of the parts.
"In the end, even though it was a painstakingly detail-oriented process, there's a lot of spontaneity in there. I'm happy the songs had room for it, and happy we were all collectively willing to indulge everyone's wackier ideas. Obviously, the song is king, everything has to make sense in context, but I'm looking forward to pushing the extras even farther next time if possible."
The thing about modern music can be, and what I think often gets overlooked or not talked about much, is how good musicians these days have become at blending sound. Crafting something seamless and head-spinning. And Heavy Meta have it down. Mana Regmata is a remarkable, dizzying experience.
"The Chronicle of St. Tony, to wit: Betrayal, Anger, justifiable Paranoia, a descent into Madness: some reflections thereupon, with related materials, set to exuberant Tunes from the Youth of Decades Past, laboriously Fractured & Reassembled for your Edification & Listening Pleasure; all offered herewith, in hope of your Indulgence. We remain, your humble servants, Heavy Meta."
Heavy Meta Facebook | Instagram | Bandcamp