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The Heart of Darkness - 97%

Memnarch, April 1st, 2012

It’s been four long years since their first full length, but now Polish black metal duo Mgla have and have finally got round to releasing their follow up to Groza. And if Groza was a decent effort, a glimpse at what the band may have been capable of, then that potential has been fulfilled with a superiority and self assurance that puts many of their peers to shame. Fair enough their various splits and EPs before the debut were all high quality material indeed, but With Hearts Towards None is a greater manifestation altogether.

As far as sheer ruthless black metal assaults go this has got to be one of the most formidable efforts I’ve heard in a long time. No keyboards, no obscure folk instruments and no melody, With Hearts Towards None is comparable to being trapped by a raging whirlwind of knives, hacking away constantly at your every bit of your being. Firmly set in the ‘orthodox’ black metal mould, with lyrical themes mainly revolving around theistic Satanism and various other esoteric subjects bands like Funeral Mist, Ofermod and Ondskapt would be the nearest comparisons.

The scything and oppressive riffing together with M’s deep abrasive roar and the scorching drumming all ties in together perfectly and the clear yet devastating production enhances this perfectly. Variety is one of the album’s great successes, no song ever sounds the same and the tempo is constantly switching from a restrained pounding dissonance to an all out aural onslaught thrashing down on your skull. It also must be noted that when a straight up black metal band can produce a ten minute monolith without any threat of monotony making it appear half the length it really is, then you know you’re on to a winner.

It’s primitive and obnoxious yet still manages to come across very refined it in its delivery. There is an air and authority about Mgla present here which is missing from so many black metal bands these days. For those who appreciate their black metal punishing, engulfed in a hazy bleakness and burning with spirit then With Hearts Towards None has got to be one of your first stops this year. This has cemented these blackened hearts as one of the best Polish black metal acts around at the minute and it’s not hard to see why. Pure unholy black metal that bows to no-one. More of the same please.