Heavy Meta – Mana Regmata Review

Don’t get your hopes up, ye of heavy metal’s golden years. Heavy Meta is nearly everything you hate about today’s extreme music. Mathcore, black metal, noise rock, and prog all have a hand in this monstrosity, and if there is an inkling of distaste for any of these styles, Mana Regmata might need to come with a side of aspirin. Featuring a tongue-in-cheek moniker that you could proudly proclaim at any party, it’s a group that only jokingly defines itself as “blackened progressive cowboy nintendocore.” Rife with ideas and wild songwriting in its unhinged offense, is Heavy Meta lacking the L for a solid W?

Having released a lone self-titled EP in 2019, this Massachusetts quartet self-professes blasting influence from The Dillinger Escape Plan, Botch, Every Time I Die and Mr. Bungle, as well as Faith No More, Converge, Voivod and King Crimson. I’ll be honest, however, Heavy Meta sounds very little like any of these. Featuring balanced mixing for its many “smash, shred, big shred, and throat rip” assets, its whack-ass and evasive aesthetic evades description. While straightforwardness dooms sporadic tracks, it’s guided by a textured stringed attack that bleeds chaos and dissonance while never truly taking itself too seriously.

While comparisons evade accuracy, I’ll throw my own two cents into this crazy-ass gumball machine: it sounds like Under the Pier and The Callous Daoboys covering Intronaut’s The Direction of Last Things. Squiggly jazz melodies exchange noise rock dissonant shreds while desperate screeches flay atop it all. The guitar work (“shred”) is the star of the show, limber and fluid, deftly balancing unpredictably technical doodles and crispy riffs with lightning speed. “Caffeine Casket” and the monster “Psalm VI” are unpredictably scathing affairs with shifting tempos and clawing distortion, while the 8-bit synth that graces the ending of “Delusions” is closest to the group’s self-profession and the alt-rock intro of “Two Fly” feels straight from a 3 Doors Down intro only to crush you with Dillinger mathcore franticness right away. “Boötes Void” is of note as the most dissonant of the bunch, including frighteningly layered spoken word vocals drowned in the disgusting layers of strings, synths, and noise, while the catchy off-kilter rhythms and melodic solo of “Vicious Wishes” prove to be an excellent palette-cleansing conclusion to the sound beating that Heavy Meta lays on thick. The album is also impressively mixed, giving equal weight to all instruments, putting the vocals in the back in true blackened fashion. This grants Mana Regmata a fluid quality that works wonders for the style it professes.

Mana Regmata ends up being a tale of two halves. The second half, while adhering to the bouncy shifting sands of noodly guitar work, bass grooves, and swanky riffs, incorporates experimentation like lunatic synths or rock intros that add to the memorability of its tracks. However, cuts like “Blastocyst” and “Worms,” in spite of impressive technicality and some lovely bass work, just feel dry in comparison to second-half entries. Unpredictability is one of Heavy Meta’s greatest assets, but the songwriting is more about jerky movements than logical or dynamic flow, providing whiplash and yawns in equal measure. While the post-hardcore leanings, jazzy progressions, and dissonant shreds are the many stings of this hive, they swarm with chaotic randomness rather than the military precision its later tracks showcase. In a strange turn of events, they feel almost boring in their whiplash-inducing jerkiness.

There are not a whole lot of acts that sound like Heavy Meta. The closest in its mathy punishment of helter skelter proportions was a short-lived metalcore act from 2006, They Said We Were Ghosts. While undeniably influenced by a laundry list of mathcore, rock, and prog acts with a fun lil’ blackened edge, Mana Regmata does its own thing with much gusto. It sticks to its wild insanity while maintaining enough of a trademark to keep things grounded, but shows the chinks in its songwriting. That being said, Heavy Meta is a new act already flaunting this breed of uniqueness, so while Mana Regmata is a solid W in a close game with a few garbage-time touchdowns, expect the next release to be a blowout in their favor.

Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 7 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Self-Released
Websites: heavymeta.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/heavymetaband
Releases Worldwide: February 11th, 2022

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