Mgła - With Hearts Toward None review

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Band: Mgła
Album: With Hearts Toward None
Release date: February 2012

01. With Hearts Toward None I
02. With Hearts Toward None II
03. With Hearts Toward None III
04. With Hearts Toward None IV
05. With Hearts Toward None V
06. With Hearts Toward None VI
07. With Hearts Toward None VII

Mgła is one of the greatly hyped black metal bands of our time (and quite rightly so), playing music that is at the same time melodic, as well as crushingly dark and evil. The duo from Poland became well-known in underground circles with its early EPs and the acclaimed debut album, Groza. However, the band had its - relatively speaking - big break in 2012 with the release of the second full-length studio album, With Hearts Toward None.

Mgła consists of Mikołaj "M." Żentara on guitar, bass and vocals and Maciej "Darkside" Kowalski on drums. What is truly remarkable is how only two people can succeed in producing such outstanding music and create such an atmosphere of hopelessness and looming annihilation. From the first parts of "I" (all the songs are named after Roman numerals) begins a trip leading to the end of the world and the music makes sure that this trip is as cold and heartless as possible. The melodic lead guitar is often complemented by the grimmer and heavier rhythm parts, while Darkside offers a large variety of beats, rolls and fills. However, it is the latter's use of cymbals that constructs the feeling of tension and imminent destruction that permeates the album. The bass is unfortunately less audible than on Groza, which is really frustrating because in the parts where you can actually hear it ("IV" for instance), it makes the songs flow in a better way.

With Hearts Toward None is a simple album that doesn't have many riffs. In fact, it's very doable to count them if you want. But most of them are so catchy and memorable that it is perfectly alright to be endlessly repeated. Take the closing track for example; M. plays the same riff in the beginning for three whole minutes, but it is so genius in every way and Darkside's drumming builds up so brilliantly that, instead of being bored, you can't get enough. On the same note, the best song of the album, "III", practically has two main riffs that are both repeated to death, but I would be happy to hear them incessantly until I die. However, in the few rare occasions when the riffing is not so inspired, this repetitiveness can become a bit annoying.

This album has everything a fan of traditional black metal desires; bleak atmosphere, tremolo-picking and distorted guitars, devastating drumming, vocals from hell, raw production and an early Darkthrone aura. With so many bands doing the same thing, Mgła simply stand out because they perform all the aforementioned better than most. They breathe life into a style without imitating, while at the same time staying loyal to the black metal roots. By the time the last notes are heard, you get a feeling that you are soaked up in rain, standing in a dark corner under a faint light, watching everything around you being demolished. Picture in your mind the last scene of Fight Club and replace "Where Is My Mind" by The Pixies with "VII", the last song of With Hearts Toward None; even David Fincher would choose it, if he made the film today.

"There is the nadir, there comes the stormů"

Rating breakdown
Performance: 9
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 8
Production: 8

Written by nikarg | 19.05.2017


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.


Comments: 3   Visited by: 12 users
07.10.2017 - 14:10
Good review!
17.10.2017 - 12:50
Old Nick
Written by MvonSutherland on 07.10.2017 at 14:10

Good review!

Thanks. I think I have even given it a lower score than what it truly deserves.
on and on south of heaven

17.10.2017 - 14:13
Some things become better after time and mature like good wine!

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