Guest Post from Stanley Laurel: 18 Days of Mgła – Part 1
On July 26th, Mgła announced on their Facebook page that their third full-length album, Exercises in Futility had been recorded and was scheduled for release in late Summer. To say that I was excited about this announcement was a huge understatement and akin to Chief Brody’s classic litotes, “You’re gonna need a bigger boat.” When our dear Toilet published the news, there was a palpable fervor in the community from a few who were already familiar with the band, but enough of a buzz was being generated for others to start checking them out. Being a bit of a Mgła fanboy, I thought it would be fun to start spamming the Toilet of Hell’s Facebook page with daily updates to see how many Mgła converts I could start racking up. 18 Days of Mgła was born.
Day 1 – “Presence I” (2006)
Let’s start at the beginning. After initially appearing on the 2005 Crushing the Holy split, Mgła’s first release was the Presence EP. While the three songs presented didn’t break any new ground, it was obvious that they were onto something with their brand of misanthropic black metal.
Riff: 6:04. About three quarters of the way into the song, the double bass fades away to reveal a distorted arpeggio riff with a little slide thrown in. After a few repetitions, the drums kick back in and the same riff is played tremolo style. Boosh!
Drums: The boom, tit, boom tit, bit that underlines the above riff above when it speeds up.
Lyric: “Eradication of all what was taught and perceived
And eradication of will as a whole”.
Fun Fact: Mgła hail from Kraków, Poland.
Day 2 – “With Hearts Toward None IV” (2012)
After spending way too long messing around writing songs for Kriegsmaschine, Mgła finally returned with their second full-length and what is generally accepted to be their best output so far. When you hear people saying, “Fuck, Mgła are good”, or “You know, dude, this is one of the best black metal albums of all time. Fight me!”, they are referring to With Hearts Toward None.
Riff: Look no further than that opening militaristic riff. Commence head bobbing.
Drums: The use of the open hi-hat at 2:15. The tempo slows and the hi-hat brings the feels.
Lyric: “Never surrender
In this the weapons
are our very lives
Fuck hope and godspeed”
Fun fact: Both members of Mgła are also in Kriegsmaschine, a completely different beast, but worthy of your valuable listening time.
Day 3 – “Groza III” (2008)
Groza (horror in English) is Mgła’s first full length, and it was released in 2008. All of the elements displayed on their first three EPs where present, but they upped the ante in the songwriting department. There are a couple of ten plus minute epics here but none of the tunes get tiresome due to Mgła’s ability to morph those earworm riffs.
Riff: If there is a riff scarier than the one at 1:08, keep it to yourselves, folks. Every time I here this riff, I want to go and hide behind the couch.
Drums: There is a string of loose double bass fills around the 2:02 mark. Wobble, wobble, wobble.
Lyric: “And as the light embraces the wanderer,
as knees bend as thought is obliterated,
with the very moment that resistance has ceased,
now, I am become death, the enemy of man.”
Fun fact: Kriegsmaschine have an album called Enemy of Man. Ever wondered what it was referring to? Read that last lyric and all is revealed.
Day 4 – “Mdłości I” (2006)
The Mdłości EP (Mgła’s second) is far from nauseous, and it’s the first recording to feature drummer Darkside. “Mdłości I” is a staple of their live performance and for good reason. Stab the link below.
Riff: Mgła are the bosses of the twin tremolo attack. The bit at 1:50 where the lead and rhythm guitars both go at it makes my hair stand on end.
Drums: I haven’t got a clue what drum pattern is going on at 5:45 but it’s completely off the rails.
Lyric: “What tranquillity!
What sweet peace!
What inward serenity!
What supreme felicity!
An earnest of bliss!”
Fun fact: Mgła record in C but play live in D.
Day 5 – “With Hearts Toward None III” (2012)
In the distant past, I submitted this song to the tremolo picking edition of Riff Of The Week, but all you life-loving posers shunned me. Repent you sinners! Say ten Hail Mary’s and listen to “With Hearts Toward None III” one million times. Here’s what I had to say back then:
Riff: “Hey, desk jockeys. If you want a few weeks off work on the sick, pick up yourselves a copy of Mgła’s With Hearts Toward None and tremolo pick along for the entire album. You’ll be on your way to the doctor’s office in no time and you’ll depart with a wrist brace and a freshly signed sick note for carpel tunnel syndrome. Voila! The opening riff to ‘With Hearts Toward None III’ is a twin guitar tremolo picking romance and should not be missed but my ROTW submission starts at 1:49 when the romance fades and you’re left with one of the most melancholy tremolo riffs ever written.”
Drums: The opening blasting is an obvious highlight and sets the tone, but it’s the cymbal work that makes this passage truly shine. Cymbal hits are going off like a box of fireworks on the 4th of July!
Lyric: “And you shall know perdition
And it will set you free”
Fun fact: Mgła is pronounced as “mugwah”.
Day 6 – “Further Down the Nest II” (2007)
As you probably realize by now, Mgła’s tunes aren’t just blasting bruisers. Mgła are tempo changing Titans! The second song off their third EP, Further Down The Nest, demonstrates this perfectly. The song begins with a slow, brooding riff which transforms into a more mid-tempo rocker before the blasting begins. The ensuing rocking/blasting riff-off, although unusual, seems an entirely natural and fitting end to the song.
Riff: The rollicking rock riff at 4:30 is hard-hitting, especially when the drums kick in and add the beef at 4:56.
Drums: The simple snare work at 0:45 provides the perfect bridge between the first two versus.
Lyric: “I tak sie wlasnie konczy swiat
nie hukiem, ni skomleniem
lecz szumem belkotu slepcow
zapomnialych swego upadku”.
“And this is how the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper
With the stammering of the blind
Forgetful of their own fall”.
Fun fact: Mgła have only recorded two songs in their native tongue.
Well, that’s it for the first installment, folks. If any of you are like me and can’t stand waiting for buses or the mail(wo)man to deliver your CDs/LPs or the bartender to notice your existence, join the Facebook group for daily updates. You’ll get the added benefit of finding out what a bunch of posers we are IRL.