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COLD, POLISH(ED) BLACK METAL - 80%

BlackenedSally, March 14th, 2019
Written based on this version: 2013, 12" vinyl, Northern Heritage Records (Repress)

This is the debut album for this polish black metal band. Unlike their following albums, this one is way slower, colder and elegant, almost of the depressive suicidal type (but not quite there ) The drumming is very sparse and simple, with a lot of tasteful double kick-drum fills and tremolo picking, and delightfully simplistic in style without being primitive; even the solos sound like riffs if you know what I mean.

The guitarwork is very good; on side A, both songs -which average 17' each !!! there's clearly a treblier lead guitar on the left channel and a rhythmic, fuller-sounding one on the right channel. This led me to think there was some kind of imbalance, but I was proven wrong by my instruments (VU and several other signal level meters on my rig) They are at the same relative volume, only playing different tones and roles. This side is so cold and atmospheric I could picture icicles forming around my speakers.

On side B the pace of the music picks up, with moderation. Music is still cold, still no breakneck speeds of any sort, but noticeably more uptempo. First song ¨III¨ has luckily a more audible rhythm guitar on the right channel, and the album closer ¨IV¨ features a furious, full-on double-ax, trebley tremolo attack , ending the album furiously.

As on most Polish extreme metal record, production is very polished -pun intended- to the point of sterility, as a Darkthrone fan would say, but I appreciated it. I mean, why hire a gazillion-dollar studio to make a record sound as if it had been recorded in a grave ? That has always been beyond me. I am one of those guys who wished Transilvanian Hunger were re-recorded properly. This is a very interesting MGLA record (it's pronounced mgwa in Polish) IMHO of course. These guys have very interesting aesthetics, live, they all dress exactly alike : black pants, black combat boots, a hoodie with a black biker jacket and a black mask covering all of their heads; kind of an evil, black metal Devo.

The packaging is of the highest quality, perfectly printed cardboard, with poly-lined black paper inner sleeves (no inserts though). The pressing is practically flawless, clean as a lab 140 grs slab of wax, a rare occurrence with current vinyl, especially of the domestic varieties. There is a slight eccentricity to side 1 though, invisible to my eyes, but sonically apparent in that it produced a faint ¨thunk¨ per rev on the dead wax, but it didn't detract from my high-volume listening experience. Strangely enough, MGLA records are only available to me on vinyl in my country so I added this one and ¨With Hearts Towards None¨ to my collection.

I did enjoy the album, but didn't ¨love¨ it -don't need to really- hence only 80%.