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Mgła - With Hearts Towards None CD

€9.90

Black metal has been re-invented and re-imagined several times over the years. Everyone knows of the infamous Norwegian black circle, and true fans of the genre are also aware of Les Lègions Noire, Blazebirth Hall and other black metal cult groups. Poland had its own day in the sun in the mid-nineties, when the wolfish cult Temple of Fullmoon created enough pagan and NS black metal to affect the genre until today.

The modern Polish black metal scene is dominated by Graveland, of course, which is itself a shadow of what it once was. But before we write off Poland as just another nation with once proud musical heritage that has now fallen into disrepair, we must acknowledge Mgła's offering.

What we have here is non-ideological black metal. There are no Nazi salutes, pagan rants, or elitism; it's pure music and the lyrics speak for themselves. They're devastation and decimation translated into English, delivered with powerful harsh vocals that drive me to salute the glory of destruction in Satan's name.

The guitar work is the epitome of the direction black metal has taken in recent years. It's not super raw or super underproduced, but there's enough distortion to make it seem mystical and foreboding. Riffing itself is repetitive and dark, which results in a rather effective atmosphere of mysteries and impending devastation. With Hearts Towards None is a fairly rowdy album, but even without the lyrical content, there's plenty to contemplate. There's time to meander in transitions to different sections in each song, and the music itself isn't as fast and aggressive as black metal can be.

Percussion is pretty consistent. I didn't find anything special about it one way or the other. One detail that I did like was the variety of guitar parts. The primary part provides distorted chords and repeated patterns, but other parts add an eerie, curious element to the music that's very important. As usual for metal, bass is an afterthought at best that shouldn't be paid much attention to.

With Hearts Towards None is a pretty excellent album overall. Each song is very strong in its own right, and while there's nothing really stunning about it, it's a must-listen for anyone interested in the direction black metal is taking today.