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Back from the lands of nowhere. - 90%

DSOfan97, September 4th, 2015

Mgła are back after two and a half years of silence. Well, they released two EP's but those were mere re-issues, not all new material. It's alright. Exercises in Futility is the album of the month in my opinion. The duet from Poland managed to, not only reach but also surpass With Hearts Toward None. The previous album, while being great, had those moments when I would think of stuff irrelevant to the music, whilst in this one they draw your attention for much more time. Thus we can assume that the band has evolved and expanded its skills in every direction and dimension and most of all, there is a massive shift towards consistency.

Structure wise, this is not that different from With Heart Toward None, and yet consistency took its toll in the process of shaping the new album, making it a really significant chapter in the band's discography. Whoever hasn't heard of Mgła's previous full-length, has at least heard of the Crushing the Holy Trinity split in which they took part. This time everyone must listen to these voices, these guitars with the extremely sharp tone, or the drums... Well, I will elaborate further on the drums later. Back to the guitars now, the melodies are amazing but I would like some more harmony and some more detail. Some riffs are based in one single root note, a feat that isn't quite enthralling to be honest. The distorted sound however is both heavy and crispy, while the brief clean introduction of the final track calms the atmosphere before the rigid black metal performance is continued. The vocals have a unique sound to them, they sound literally as if M. has torn his vocal cords apart. And the lyrics are great too, as there seems to be some kind of mutual themes in the first two tracks, while the whole album shares the same feel and themes, of hell, torment and misanthropy. The way the lyrics are spoken/screamed though is going to take its time until it sinks in. In the end you'll probably enjoy it, just give it some time.

The drums now... Do you know why Mgła stand out while not being experimental or something? For two reasons. One of them is that the two of them really fit with each other and thus their music is more tightly written. The other is Darkside. His drumming is hard to describe, but basically, he keeps a steady beat with the kick drum and the snare while adding flavor using a vast array of cymbals. His work withe cymbals stands out because he uses to roll on the cymbals as if they were floor toms. And since he's the only one who plays like that, as far as I'm concerned, Mgła have a great advantage when compared to other artists of their league.

Mgła deserve an album like this. An album that will once and for all cast them out of the shadows of the, nowadays, poor underground. Exercises in Futility has the potential to become one of this year's highlights and make many lists. For most of its playing time you will feel dazzled but after its completion you will instantly want to repeat it. Since I'm still new to this album, I'm not sure whether I'll keep enjoying it as much in the following months, but this is surely a good album. For now, I love it and that's all that counts.

Favorite tracks: "Exercises in Futility I", "Exercises in Futility IV", "Exercises in Futility VI".