There are several themes in black metal, that are used quite often especially natural phenomenon. Everyone knows at least one song about forests, glades, waterfalls or of course the mysterious fog. It’s not really surprising that there is a band, that is named after the latter phenomenon Mgła.
Mgła are quite known in the spheres of black metal up to today and they deserve to be this popular, as their music is really great. Some background information shall be provided, for everyone who still doesn’t know this brilliant project: Mgła was founded back in the year 2000 and they had a quite steady release policy ranging from 2005 to 2008. They released one split, three EP’s and one full-length record during that period. It took them four years to finally release the second full-length output With Hearts Toward None. Every single output demonstrated the incredible skills of the duo, which also play in Massemord or Kriegsmachine respectively. The four years waiting time were worth it, as they collected seven songs with a total playing time of round about 45 minutes.
Although the record starts quite slow, which stokes your expectations, but you won’t have to wait really long until the first storm of blastbeat and doublebass patterns flows out of your speakers, combined with the cold melody that shaped the intro. The vocals are fitting perfectly in this construct, and they evoke a picture of a mad prophet screaming loads of bad news into the waiting crowd. Mgła woulnd’t be Mgła if they would stick to this pattern the whole time which leads to a steady interplay between faster and slower passages. The high-tempo passages are more likely to be quite aggressive while the mid-tempo parts feature mostly sinister atmospheres and gloomy but majestic melodies. It’s noticeably that those changes are never abrupt or really unexpected, but always well prepared which can be traced back to the really controlled playing style of the Polish.
It should be emphasized, that there are, besides the normal, well aligned passages, some parts in which either the guitars or the drumset are taking the lead while the other instrument is providing the rhythmic fundament. The passages in which the guitars are taking the lead are usually full of melodic variation while the drums are playing quite progressive patterns while the guitars are providing the rhythm. The songs tend to become quite catchy, as the structure is mostly straight, but that’s just a good thing, right? You can even find some spoken passages, subtle vocals with loads of reverb or even samples in some songs, which spice things up even more.
The focus on riffs is the reason why With Hearts Toward None reminds me of the style they had on their EP’s. If you never heard anything of Mgła you could compare their style to the one of the melodic black metal band Sworn, as the faster passages are quite akin sometimes. The main difference between these two projects is, that Mgła also features these slow passages, which spice things up and add tons of groove to the record. They are really skilled at playing their instruments as well, especially the varied drums are exciting as hell, although the guitars feature enough interessting melodies and dynamics as well. The production is quite clear and the instruments fill the given space up without getting overladen. The only little flaw here are the drums, which could be a bit more powerful here and there. The songs are suiting each other perfectly, without being to akin.
Mgłas – With Hearts Toward None is such an impressive record, that I dare to say it will be one of the records of the year. It offers everything the heart of a true black metal fan could want: Fast and aggressive passages, slower and gloomy but majestic parts full of epicness and the extra portion of groove you won’t easily find in other records. Every single song on With Hearts Towards None is above the average level of quality, and you will have fun even after listening the millionth time to it.
Date of release: February, 28th 2012