Guest Post from Stanley Laurel: 18 Days of Mgła – Part 2
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 7 – “Groza I” (2008)
“Groza I” is Mgła’s longest song, clocking in at over eleven minutes. It only contains a handful of riffs but what it lacks in complexity is more than made up for with dark melody and tempo changes galore. Darkside is masterful in determining when to slow it down, speed it up, add some fills and bring the oomph! The man is a criminally underrated black metal drummer.
Riff: The riff at 6:29 is repeated throughout the song, but I like this version best due to the double bass drumming and the cymbal crashes.
Drums: The section at 4:05 has more rolls than the corner bakery.
Lyric: “The lowest common denominator is crowned
Standpoints are chosen over general reason
Stars allocated to every man and woman
Fair measure of futile love and will.”
Fun fact: Mgła record as a two-piece. M. performs all the guitars and vocals and Darkside plays drums.
Day 8 – “With Hearts Toward None VI” (2012)
In “With Hearts Toward None VI”, we find M. at his most vehement, spitting misanthropic venom like a black-necked cobra. The simple, subtly evolving riffs provide the platform for his impassioned cries while the percussion provides the intricate details that augment their lethal effect.
Riff: The riff at 1:53 signifies the impending doom outlined in the lyrical passage below. Never has a riff been more perfectly utilized to convey the subject matter.
Drums: My pick is the bit at 1:11 where pounding drums and delicate cymbal taps are juxtaposed with startling results.
Lyric: “And let there come the rain,
Let there come the rain
And may it wash away the scum,
the cunts, the dogs, the filth, the shit,
the whores, the junk, the trash, the
worms, the freaks, the rot, the
plague, the grime, the smut, the
waste, the pigs, the slime, the mud,
the vermin of every shape and size.”
Fun fact: Mgła only started performing live after the release of With Hearts Toward None.
Day 9 – “Presence III” (2006)
“Presence III” is the shortest song in Mgła’s catalogue, but in just a little over four minutes, its frostbitten riffs manage to evoke a pitch-black atmosphere that many bands have tried and failed to create in songs of twice its length.
Riff: The arpeggiated riff opening the song is so cold that even an exhumed Lord Kelvin would have difficulty measuring its temperature.
Drums: 1:50. Floor toms. That is all.
Lyric: “There is a purpose in self-destruction
There is a pattern in razorblade chaos.”
Fun fact: Mgła means “Fog” in Polish.
Day 10 – “With Hearts Toward None I” (2012)
What a way to open an album! “With Hearts Toward None I” sets the spine-tingling tone of an album littered with memorable melodies, contrasting rhythms, harsh but clear vocals and diverse drum patterns. No pretension, just pure black metal.
Riff: The riff at 1:07 defines what Mgła are all about. The dark but melodious lead perfectly harmonized with the crunching rhythm.
Drums: When the blast beating ends at 4:19, there are a myriad of inventive fills.
Lyric: “No golden thrones to follow
No shrines of solace to be found
And only the locusts shall sing
at the end of the day.”
Fun fact: M. (Mikołaj Żentara) is the son of Edward Żentara, a Polish actor who appeared in more than 50 films and television shows.
Day 11 – “Groza II” (2008)
“Groza II” is dark, foreboding and constantly evolving. Mgła sprinkled a few more riffs than usual into this song, which allows it to take the listener on a firm trajectory into the blackest pits.
Riff: The fade out riff that begins at 5:23 goes on for a couple of minutes, but what makes it so ingenious is the progression of the supporting instruments. First with hammering drums, then the bass guitar is allowed to shine, and finally a little plucked guitar.
Drums: At 2:00, Darkside shows us how to work a snare.
Lyric: I have to admit, I don’t know the lyrical meaning behind this passage as I couldn’t find a proper translation and Google translate was dishing out gibberish. It’s probably despondent, though.
“Z ostrzem Solipsis w uniesionej dłoni
Z pieśną Hybris na zakrwawionych ustach
U perłowych bram – na spotkanie Rodzajowi!”
Fun fact: M. provided guest vocals on three songs from Voidhanger’s 2012 EP, The Antagonist. Check out “Feed Them to the Pigs”.
Day 12 – “Mdłości II” (2006)
“Mdłości II” is straight and to the point. Riff 1. Riff 2. Riff 1. Done.
Riff: Eeny, meeny, miny, moe… Riff 1.
Drums: I keep harping on about Darkside’s magnificence behind the kit. How can a song with two riffs be so engaging? Because Darkside.
Lyric: “Our almighty new god, turning man back into mud”.
Fun fact: M. had an industrial/ambient project called Arca Funebris back in the late 90s. Fans of the genre should check it out and tell me if it’s good or not.
Exercises in Futility is out due September 4th. You can preorder a physical copy here or snag a digital download here.