Guest Post from Stanley Laurel: 18 Days of Mgła – Part 3

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Welcome to the third and final installment of 18 Days of Mgła and, not a moment too soon. When I started doing these little write ups a little over three weeks ago, I thought I would have all the time in the world to school you, but late summer turned into September 4th, turned into Exercises in Futility being leaked last Saturday. Suddenly, the pressure was on to get everyone up to speed!

Unfortunately, due to the leak, the band decided to take matters into their own hands and uploaded a good quality version of the entire album to YouTube. I tried my hardest to wait until the official release date to listen to the record, but alas, I failed, for I am weak. Not surprisingly, the album lives up to, and exceeds, all expectations.

Mgła are on tour this fall, so if you are reside anywhere close to one of the dates, make an effort to see them. I’ll be going to the Oakland show! So, without further ado, lets get to it.

 

Day 13 – “With Hearts Toward None V” (2012)

With “Hearts Toward None V” is one of the most commanding tracks on the album and demands that you sit up and take notice. Overall, it’s one of the more mid-tempo numbers, but the cleverly placed moments of intensity provide balance and completeness.

Riff: The riff at 2:10 is an album highlight. While most of the album will have you rummaging in the medicine cabinet desperately searching for that bottle of Prozac, this section is uplifting, almost jubilant, in its delivery.

Drums: There are two parts to this one. Starting at 2:10, the beat will get you goose-stepping down the hallway and then at 2:42, the abrupt change of pace, will have you falling on your face.

Lyric: “A monument is risen
To be seen from afar
Erected by thieves
Financed by murderers
And secured by lawyers.”

Fun fact: M. has his own recording studio called No-Solace. He was responsible for recording, mixing and mastering Infernal War’s crushing 2015 release, Axiom.

____________________

Day 14 – “Further Down the Nest I” (2007)

The first song on Further Down the Nest is furious. Icy tremolo picked melodies straight out of early 90’s Scandinavia atop strident power chords and Darkside’s signature blasting-with-finesse. This is one of my favorites.

Riff: The emblematic opening riff is Mgła incarnate.

Drums: Damn, it’s hard to pick a moment to highlight in this song. I guess if pressed, I’d go with the section that starts at 1:55. It starts with some tom rolls before transitioning into a simple beat that picks up the pace every for four or eight bars. One riff, four tempo changes!

Lyric:  “Gazing into the abyss with the intensity of a madman
Desperately awaiting the day it looks back.”

Fun fact: Darkside used to drum for MasseMord. He played on “Let the World Burn” and “The Whore of Hate”, both master classes in blasting quickly. Very, very quickly.

____________________

Day 15 – “With Hearts Toward None II” (2012)

One of Mgła’s more discordant compositions, “With Hearts Toward None II” evokes feelings of sinking. Sinking deep. I’m not talking about deep, like into a nice deep sleep, but deep like into a pit of quicksand, where slowly but surely, the air is being sucked out of you until your lungs finally collapse. The riffs are lithe, gracefully flowing, but writhing in agony.

Riff: At 2:15, the main thematic riff subtly evolves with the addition of the minutest of string bends, which makes it even more unnerving.

Drums: Militant thumping drives much of the song, so lets go with that. 3:51.

Lyric: “Repent! Repent!
For the LORD has risen high and proud
His chariot drawn by rats and vultures
And adorned with heads of skeptics.”

Fun fact: Mgła on promotion: “Promotional activity has ranged from minimal to none and was mostly based on word of mouth. Reason behind this is not intended secrecy, but conviction that we can do perfectly well without typical presentation of rock band. Existence of Mgła is because of inner urge. Our approach to promotion has been and remains the same: “we exist. Feel free to check out if interested”. Over the years recognition and interest in the band appear to have grown to the point of disbelief at our end. With this, we are genuinely surprised and flattered.”

 

 

____________________

Day 16 – “Presence II” (2006)

This is a pure second wave banger! Everything but the kitchen sink is crammed, somewhat forcefully, into this song. I can’t put my finger on any black metal styling, either guitar or drums, that isn’t incorporated. Even the vocals are delivered at a pitch higher to recreate that feeling of demonic possession.

Riff: If we were to try and trace the lineage of Mgła’s riffs, the opening riff to “Presence II” would contain both nuclear and mitochondrial DNA.

Drums: Drummer Daren appeared on both Crushing the Holy Trinity and Presence, as well as Kriegsmaschine’s earlier output. He’s definitely got some chops, but as I’m a sucker for a good foot stomper, I’ll recommend the beat that starts at 1:29.

Lyric: “A will so strong, cracking knees like twigs
Resistance is futile, but how delighting.”

Fun fact: Mgła recorded the “Northwards” demo in 2000 and the “Necrotic” demo in 2001; neither was officially released.

____________________

Day 17 – “Groza IV” (2008)

Bass guitars? In black metal? Are you out of your mind? Well, “Groza IV” is riddled with gothic inspired bass-lines that’ll make you want to get out your eyeliner and paint your fingernails black. Sure there are plenty of frosty tremolo riffs overlaid, but the predominant quality of this song is that gothic groove.

Riff: The opening (0:01) and closing (8:48) bass riffs would not be out of place on a Sisters of Mercy or Cure album.

Drums: There is a surprising mini-drum solo at 1:56, which, although acting primarily as a bridge, certainly adds some variation.

Lyric: “The virtues of loss. The hymnes of decay.
Dost thou have faith now, o dearest friend?”

Fun fact: Mgła on interviews: “There has been little interviews and it’s not going to change drastically. We prefer to do our thing rather than talk about it. Our means of communication is music/emotion – studio or live. We believe that as any art form, music should not require additional written explanation.”

____________________

Day 18 – “With Hearts Toward None VII” (2012)

We started at the beginning and so logically, we must end at the end. In “With Hearts Toward None VII”, we find the masters of melancholy at their pinnacle. One of the most poignant riffs in black metal, wholly unique drumming, fervent vocals and lyrics that are filled with total despair, are all brought together into one, perfectly formed package. To many, this is their crowning achievement.

Riff: The opening riff is one the finest in their repertoire, and it would need to be as it goes on for three minutes! The tension builds with each repetition, until finally it’s so taut, it splinters into a million, ear piecing fragments.

Drums: The effectiveness of the opening riff is primarily due to the refined delicacy with which Darkside tickles the cymbals and increases the tempo. Click the link below, sit back, and enjoy. It’s otherworldly.

Lyric: “Have ye courage, o my brethren?
The signs are everywhere.
Some did not see it coming,
others refused to see.
I can feel it in the tingle of the air,
in the heartbeat of the earth
And I can tell that the storm is
coming all down on me.”

Fun fact: Mgła have the best logo in black metal. No one can pronounce it, but everyone recognizes it. Iconic!

____________________

Well, that’s it folks. We have reached our conclusion. I hope you all had as much fun reading/listening as I had writing/listening. Exercises in Futility is due out tomorrow. That’s right, tomorrow. Do yourself a favor and, if you haven’t already pre-ordered it, head over to here (US), here, here (for physical) or here (for digital) and furnish these fine Polish gentlemen with your hard earned dosh. Hail Mgła! Hail Polish Black Metal!

  • 18 Dayys of Mglmao

  • The Haunting Presence of Tyree

    This series conquers all butts. Well done.

    Full Set:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V0tOrKH409E
    Track Listing:
    Further down the nest I
    With hearts towards none IV
    Mdlosci I
    Mdlosci II
    With hearts towards none I
    Groza III
    With hearts towards none III
    With hearts towards none VII

  • Fine Sexy Ladies

    Fortunately -and amazingly- enough, I’ll get to see these fine Poles when they tour state-side with Mortuary Drape. My body my not be ready for it, but my wallet sure as hell will be.

  • Pagliacci is Kvlt

    I’ve tried hard to get on the Mgla train. The music is alright, but I just can’t get into the guy’s vocals.

    • It’s aaight but I’m not really feeling it either. (I know that’s probably going to be shocking haha.)

    • KJM

      I have no ear for Black Metal so I don’t even have an opinion.

      • Same here, if bands from other genres take a slice of it and incorporate it into what they are doing I can handle it but I never go Full Black Metal.

        • I disliked and avoided all forms of BM (including Venom in the eighties) until Borknagar’s Empiricism dropped. That was the first album to help me connect in any way.

      • Pipelord69

        I felt the same way til I listened to Bathory’s self titled, and Emperor’s “In the Nightside Eclipse”…. Shit changed my life

        • KJM

          I try every time something new and “good” in Black Metal is posted here and I fail every time.

          • Pipelord69

            That’s how I feel with power metal

      • Sir Tapir The Based :]

        That’s a sin and a crime. I’m calling the cops.

    • Stanley
  • Why are people crazy about this band? It’s good but it’s not revolutionary or anything

    • Well, to be fair I am usually personally content with music that I merely deem “good.”

      I’m not into very much BM though so maybe it (unfairly) needs to be revolutionary for me too.

      • I have friends on FB who lose their minds to this band. At least they don’t go this crazy for Watain I guess? I’m listening to their new album, and it’s very plain to my ears. Yes I’ve listened to With Hearts Towards None, and seen them live. I don’t get the level of hype they receive

        • Pagliacci is Kvlt

          They’re worth more kvlt points than, say Myrkur or Deafheaven.

        • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

          Watain are borderline rock stars and play too long.

          • Watain is the ICP of black metal

          • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

            Well, that’s a bit much. They are very over-hyped.

    • The Haunting Presence of Tyree

      Good riffs. Good song writing. Good Lyrics. Good black metal. Satan.

      • Just good, not worth the level of hype I’ve seen

        • The Haunting Presence of Tyree

          I don’t know man. Their music just gives me chills and sense of pure blackened euphoria. Very powerful shit man. I know a lot of other people feel the same way as I do. Sorry you don’t get it, but Mgla really does it for me dude. Like I said, powerful music.

          • I’m glad you enjoy them, I’m gonna finish their new album, maybe hit up WHTN again, then listen to a couple local bands that dropped albums last night

          • The Haunting Presence of Tyree

            See… Watain does nothing for me.

          • Vote for Jeb

            Here’s my thought: Mgla writes quintessential black metal. It’s pretty standard black metal, but it’s extremely good black metal. No frills, just solid bm.

          • Solid for sure, I guess I just expected to hear something that was going to shatter my brain and, well, it’s not

          • Vote for Jeb

            To be fair, I don’t think they’re doing anything particularly revolutionary. It’s just black metal distilled down to its purest form, I guess.

          • Óðinn

            You’ve just described Blodsgard. No frills, just pure Black Metal.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XLNoxUYQm8g

          • CT-12

            Not trying to be an asshole about my opinion or anything, because if Mgla aren’t for you, they aren’t for you, and I don’t want to push any band on anybody; but if you’re still interested in trying to get into them, I’d say it’s really worth it. This band is one that has brought me to literal tears sometimes, and has honestly made me feel so much better after listening to their music. All I can hope is that they are able to grab your heart like they have mine next time you listen to them.

          • How does that make you an asshole?? Some bands are just like that

          • CT-12

            I just didn’t want to come across like you needed to love them or that my opinion was all-holy or something. I personally hate it when people get defensive or super secure about their own opinions.

        • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

          You need to visit the Cunting Void and Mgla does that.

    • JJM

      i’m going to have to side with you on this one. i was just too scurred to say it first.

    • Stanley
    • Culinary Cunilengus

      *holds Tyree and Stanley back*

    • Janitor Jim Duggan

      I agree. I don’t like black metal that much and these guys are good but they’re not the greatest thing ever as people think they are.

      • I mean, they’re definitely black metal for black metal fans

        • Janitor Jim Duggan

          Agreed. I don’t really like black metal. There are some good acts but it’s usually a bunch of people trying to be as blasphemous as possible which I can’t stand. I know people will say that my love of Ghost contradicts this belief but even though they appear serious I think it’s more of a parody about being ultra blasphemous.

          • I don’t think you get black metal if that’s what you think, but okay

          • Janitor Jim Duggan

            I never did get it.

          • KJM

            The “Trees N Shit” variant usually has little if anything to do with Christianity in my limited experience.

          • I think I most prefer the “I hate myself life is awful” brand of BM

          • From what I’m reading Mgla is about misanthropy/nihilism. In 2015 is too narrow to perceive black metal like people did in 1992.

          • Sir Tapir The Based :]

            Nihilism and misanthropy >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

          • Believe in the Nothing. Stab people in the ear.

          • Sir Tapir The Based :]

            Being blasphemous >>>>>>>>>>>

          • #JustBlackMetalThings

          • Janitor Jim Duggan

            Blasphemy<<<<<<<<<<<<<

          • The Haunting Presence of Tyree

            BRO, You fucking nailed it! It’s not about the music at all. It’s all about that sweet sweet blasphemy. You blew my mind!!!!

          • Vote for Jeb

            lol

          • KJM

            SATAN.

      • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

        Nobody said they were.

        • The more I listen to them, the warmer I get to them. I guess these albums are growers and I spoke too soon?

          • Vote for Jeb

            They’re pretty good, mang.

          • I’ll listen to them a bit more, maybe I’ll come around

          • CT-12

            I’d recommend maybe starting with the Mdlosci and Further Down the Nest demos (which is available all on one CD). It’s only four songs so it’s a little easier to slip into. Either way, it’s how I started with them and I fucking love them now.

          • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

            Perhaps. The first time I heard them I wasn’t blown away. But the more that I listened, read lyrics, it just clicked.

          • Eh, next album I’m reviewing is that way. Didn’t care at first. Obsessed with it now

          • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

            So it goes…

        • Janitor Jim Duggan

          There are people who love them. I’m not one of them.

          • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

            Ok.

      • Stanley
        • Janitor Jim Duggan

          I still don’t get why people like it. It’s like your opinion though man.

  • Will probably listen to this but only when I have the mindset for the genre. This month have been more classic merol for me and I’m under constant pressure, so, I’m avoiding this kind of music, to be honest.

    Still. This three part work is a great feature. Very insightful and honest. Good work, Stanley!

    • KJM

      Vintage Merol.

    • John Sykes!

      • *drooling intensifies* Will share some stuff I found.

        • That last Thin Lizzy lineup before Phil passed was absolutely incredible.

          • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

            Thunder and Lightning is kick ass!

          • Write this shit down: “JAG and KSoFM agreed upon something September 3, 2015.” 😛

          • Wrote in the #LinkNotebook.

          • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

            We have before, remember Exciter Violence and Force?

          • I know. I’m just playing.

          • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

            Oh I know, just playing back.

          • Culinary Cunilengus

            An absolute classic! I think they’re touring again.

          • Janitor Jim Duggan

            Thin Lizzy isn’t touring, Black Star Riders is. Then again they’re the most recent lineup of Thin Lizzy.

            Edit: I just realized you were talking about Exciter.

          • Culinary Cunilengus
          • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

            Yup, original lineup.

          • Culinary Cunilengus
          • Janitor Jim Duggan

            The live album they did with the last lineup was kick ass. Not many people remember Life Live but it’s a great album.

    • KJM

      Seeing Scorpions/Queensryche next week. #VintageMerol

      • Scorpions>>>>>>>>>>>>>

        • Janitor Jim Duggan

          The Scorpions are finally releasing an expanded version of Tokyo Tapes. I’m so excited.

      • JJM

        Queensryche>>>>>>>>>>>>> (between Link and myself, you’ve been validated)

        • Queensryche is cool too, still need to find other records besides Operation Mindcrime that JAG recommended to me.

          This is my last OT post here. Don’t want to derail more the Stanley post. Sorry.

          • I like all of the Queensrÿche albums up to and even including Empire. The debut EP, Warning, Rage for Order, and Mindcrime are essential though.

          • KJM

            I swear I did not see this post before I typed mine.

          • That was fucking eerie, dude. Haha.

          • KJM

            Indeed.

          • Culinary Cunilengus

            Mindcrime was mostly filler to me, and the story line was lolbuttz as hell.

          • OldMetalHead

            The EP was great. The cassette had the same thing on both sides.

          • I still have that cassette!

          • KJM

            EP, The Warning, Rage For Order, Mindcrime. There’s your essential QR.

          • Culinary Cunilengus

            What, no Frequency Unknown?

          • KJM

            It was not in your vest interest to make that comment.

            http://stream1.gifsoup.com/view3/20140928/5115357/from-paris-headshot-o.gif

          • Culinary Cunilengus

            Surrender to Tate’s sweet seduction (to himself)!

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ChZ-QSinSF8

          • JJM

            oh i love it! any time my cringe fuse gets back to spec, i fire this video up and blow it again

          • Culinary Cunilengus

            He sounds like he’s getting horny talking about himself through the whole thing. Tate’s the kind of guy who jerks off to an altar filled with pictures of himself, or jerking off in front of the mirror while doing the Buffalo Bill “would you fuck me?” scene.

          • The Haunting Presence of Tyree

            Damn, that shit was cold.

          • Pagliacci is Kvlt

            Good Guy Link.

          • Culinary Cunilengus
          • OldMetalHead

            This is the one I was going to recommend as well.

          • Culinary Cunilengus

            To think how good Tate was back in the day………..

            I’ve always wondered what happened to The Three Tremors, that project with Tate, Dickinson and Halford.

        • Sir Tapir The Based :]

          Queensryche<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

          • KJM

            Shocking opinion.

          • Sir Tapir The Based :]

            I really surprised you there.

          • They are one of many once-great bands who didn’t age well and should have went out on a much better note years ago.

          • JJM

            not a fan of the Todd La torre material?

          • KJM

            A couple decent songs.

          • I honestly haven’t listened to it enough to have any sort of opinion.

          • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

            ‘Twas their best since Empire, maybe even OP:MC (didn’t much care for Empire). Unfortunately that isn’t as much said as it should be.

            The new song seems yet anither improvement.

          • Culinary Cunilengus

            I dunno, La Torre seems to be pumping some new life into them. From the live videos I’ve seen, he’s pretty fucking good, even though he can’t switch octaves quite like old school Tate.

          • Janitor Jim Duggan

            Queensryche is coming to my area next week. Haven’t decided on whether I’m going or not.

          • KJM

            I will see them in Boston next week and suggest you see them when you have the chance.

          • Janitor Jim Duggan

            I will see them next Friday if they’re as good as you say.

          • KJM

            Well, I’m seeing them a week from today so you’ll have less than 24 hours to act on my opinion.

          • Culinary Cunilengus

            I’d say go.

          • KJM

            They now have a chance to repair their tattered rep, and maybe rise above the state fair and chili bakeoff circuit before they call it a day for good.

          • Culinary Cunilengus

            With Sloth Taint out of the picture, I’m more than sure their rep is on the mend.

          • KJM

            Their set at Wacken was very well received.

          • Culinary Cunilengus

            Yep. Only complaint I have with La Torre is the fact that he’s not very good at switching octaves. He mostly just screams everything.

          • JJM
          • Sir Tapir The Based :]

            Tfw you realize that your band has always made horrible music.

          • Culinary Cunilengus

            Feel Tate’s underwear and bath robe fueled fury!

            http://allaccessmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/Queensryche-01.jpg

          • Culinary Cunilengus
    • When I check them. This will be the song I will listen:

      Day 17 – “Groza IV” (2008)

      Bass guitars? In black metal? Are you out of your mind? Well, “Groza
      IV” is riddled with gothic inspired bass-lines that’ll make you want to
      get out your eyeliner and paint your fingernails black. Sure there are
      plenty of frosty tremolo riffs overlaid, but the predominant quality of
      this song is that gothic groove.

      Riff: The opening (0:01) and closing (8:48) bass riffs would not be out of place on a Sisters of Mercy or Cure album.

      • Pagliacci is Kvlt

        For what it’s worth, Exercises in Futility VI is the only song I find myself wanting to revisit, based on the chorus.

        • What’s up with the vocals, Pagli?

          • Pagliacci is Kvlt

            I’m more of a higher pitch scream/whisper/rasp type of BM guy. I can’t stand croaked vocals. The vocalist for Mgla has a deep-ish clean/croakiness vocal that just doesn’t appeal much for me.

          • Croak vocals are like the Immortal ones?

          • Pagliacci is Kvlt

            Yeah, basically. Although I find Immortal’s vocals tolerable.

  • Culinary Cunilengus

    This band definitely leaves me hot, moist and satisfied! Did they ever get a BC page set up? IIRC, they kept it to where you could only buy the physical copy.

    • Vote for Jeb

      If you follow those links at the bottom, you’ll find that they did!

      • Culinary Cunilengus

        Doh! Sorry, just woke up and the coffee hasn’t kicked in yet. :-p

      • The Haunting Presence of Tyree

        Man, I have a feeling I’m going to get my CD while I’m at Hells Headbash this weekend which means I’ll be worried about it sitting in my mail box. You never know what kind of Mgla stealing PSU frat boy might raid my mailbox.

        • Culinary Cunilengus

          That’s why you get yourself one of these. Any PSU frat boys grab yo shiat, that thing starts snapping off some fingers.

        • Vote for Jeb

          I haven’t purchased it yet, but I probably will next week.

        • Pagliacci is Kvlt

          There’s a chance of rain the next two days, so that’s a guarantee that my postal carrier will leave the door to my mailbox open.

  • Pipelord69

    I had never heard of mgla before these little segments, and I am now a total fan

  • 365chaosriddendays

    There is no limit for MGLA. This seems the best way, maybe, to describe a band who fully understand the meaning of making decadent music, it also reflects reality, lyrically and musically and all the songs numbered as chapters with no names with a good and harsh vocal performance that tells you the ugly truth, very intense and deep, Żentara is a master in making riff and “Exercises In Futility” is the proof, fantastic album, again!

  • Waynecro

    I appreciate the bleakness. I tend to prefer bleakness and misanthropy over blatant Satan. Mgla strikes me as very thoughtful lyrically and musically. The little things–like the “minutest of string bends”–the band incorporates have tremendous impact despite their subtlety.

    • Vote for Jeb

      I think their drummer adds a lot of that subtlety.

      • Waynecro

        It really is amazing how drastically a skilled drummer can change the dynamics of a song.

    • CT-12

      Completely agree. I love black metal that’s to the point and ripping and whatnot, but I tend to prefer shit that gets a little more introspective. Bands that can balance the two are usually the best.

      • Waynecro

        Absolutely right.

  • CT-12

    Twas a very cool series Stanley, way to end it with a bang! Now I’m hoping Mgla will finally get the details of their Seattle show fucking straight already!

    • Stanley

      Thanks CT. Yep, still no details for the Oakland show either. 🙁