Mgła – Exercises in Futility (Northern Heritage/No Solace)Sunday, 11th October 2015
If Mgła wasn’t a widely-known commodity in the black metal world with their outstanding With Hearts Toward None LP from 2012 (for those in the know, they certainly were), then Exercises in Futility, the band’s third outing should seal the deal. Hailing from Poland, Mgła (pronounced mg-wa) means “fog” in the native tongue. And like a thick and shrouding cloud, Mgła creates an enveloping and suffocating air of bashing and banging-yet-melodic, atmospherically potent brand of black metal.
The official lineup of the band consists of two members, Darkside on the drums, and M. doing everything else. This strikes a similarity to the German atmospheric black metal duo Imperium Dekadenz, with regards to the lineup, as well as to the sound. Where Mgła might might have a bit more hellfire to the sound, a comparison nonetheless can be made in the melodic guitar riffs that sit atop the crushing rhythms and sinister tones underneath. Both great bands, both very much worth listening to, and relative neighbors in their central European locales.
Exercises in Futility starts strong and finishes strong. It’s always nice to have an album where one doesn’t need to wait until the second or third track to be impressed. The six songs herein are simply named by Roman numeral, in sequential order. Averaging around seven minutes each, the album comes in at a neat forty-two minutes – nothing overstaying here. It is indeed hard to single out specific tracks as surefire highlights when each track contains really excellent moments. The strength of riff is potent across the entire album, lush atmospheric riffing over pummeling double bass really make for sheer headbanging delight – tied together with clear and furious vocal delivery to exercise the aggression.
If a criticism can be made, it may seem that there is a small degree of sameness to the songs, perhaps they blend in together a bit and have similar qualities to each. Now, is that really a major offense? We think not. Ultimately, Exercises in Futility should be a sure-fire candidate to make many a black metal year-end list in 2015. Be sure to click their homepage link below for tour dates, as this special band makes its way across the USA this November. This is another excellent album for Mgła.