Mgla
With Hearts Toward None


3.0
good

Review

by Martin L. USER (44 Reviews)
June 23rd, 2012 | 14 replies


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: nothing new to see here

In a musical zeitgeist where genre-combination, stylish throwbacks, and bands pulling from an ever-diverse array of influences is the norm, does that make an artist who does not stray from the conventional patterns and best fit line, in fact, special? One could probably make a case either way, but Mgla (incorrectly spelled like this, without the Russian lettering) fit themselves well within the confines of black metal. Then again, black metal has always been an arena more so than others that prized devoutness. With Hearts Towards None, this Polish duo won’t break any barriers or blow minds; but there’s a charm in the sheer sincerity and over-the-top stylistic approach that screams fuck it just about more than any record this year.

The main draw of With Hearts is the climactic songwriting prowess. Mgla are masters of constructing tension. “III” is the most moving of all, providing a welcome crest to the wave that is the slowly-building first few tracks. That being said, there are definite flaws even in Mgla’s most glaring strength; namely the fact that “VII” drags so unapologetically, seemingly only because it’s the final track.

While a distinct atmosphere is present throughout, it won’t hit many listeners as hard as expectations, especially when their ears are used to the masturbatory techniques of metal acts that focus overwhelmingly hard on atmosphere and aura that they injure just abut every other aspect of the record. So Mgla succeeds in comparison, but unfortunately other aspects of the record don’t hold up quite so well.

The entirety is built around fanaticism and unflinching, black metal orthodoxy. The most egregious of Mgla’s uncompromising adherence to black metal standards is displayed in the lyrics, with its themes of satanic theism and glorious self-destruction. I often have a difficult time taking shit like this seriously, but Mgla manage to keep this rather tasteful and convincing. While this is important, it doesn’t appear that creativity was much of a factor for Mgla in the recording process. With Hearts Towards None relies firmly on the black metal backbone, but you’re not left with much when you strip away the platitudes: tremolo-picking, typical production, lack of bass, reverb-laden vocals. In and of themselves these aspects don’t make a bad record -obviously- but they’re orchestrated in such a cliche way that brings nothing new to the table.

The sad part about With Hearts Towards None’s relative popularity at the moment is that there doesn’t seem to be much substance behind it. The concept is performed adequately for the most part, not much more and not much less, but those who have already delved back into the crypts of obvious 90’s black metal essentials like Burzum, Emperor, or Dark Funeral won’t find much new here. It’s in impersonation and adaption that charms with its passion and relative dexterity at first, but why go back for more? The concept and aims of Mgla are so unyielding that With Hearts Towards None tends to wash over listeners in a haze, providing no real memorability or impetus to return.



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user ratings (56)
Chart.
3.6
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Idnuf
June 23rd 2012


1491 Comments


Good review, though I'd suggest editing this sentence: "While a distinct atmosphere is present throughout, it won’t hit many listeners as hard as expectations, especially when their ears are used to the masturbatory techniques of metal acts that focus overwhelmingly hard on atmosphere and aura that they injure just abut every other aspect of the record."

It's just confusing. I had to read it a couple times to actually understand what you were saying. Maybe splitting into two sentences could work, but IMO the sentence doesn't have that much purpose in the review. If I distill this sentence to its meaning, you're saying that the atmospheric elements are subtle, yes? I can imagine how the bit about masturbatory techniques seems like a nice way to add some flair in concept, but in execution it distracts from what you're trying to say. Maybe it's nitpicking, but I'd consider revision.

This record's been sitting on my computer for a few months now and I haven't had the urge to listen. After reading this review, that probably won't change for a while yet. Pos.

carouse
June 23rd 2012


302 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Thanks for the critique. I didn't revise this review very much at all, nor did I put as much thought into it as usual considering it was tedious getting through this album; therefore I listened much less (and I only write, really, when I'm listening to the album at hand).

That sentence in particular is a little out of context, I may just take it out altogether now that I read it back.

Idnuf
June 23rd 2012


1491 Comments


Yeah that makes sense. tbh I didn't want to come off as inflammatory in my first comment but I did feel that this review was not up to your usual standard

carouse
June 23rd 2012


302 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Sorry, I just have a really hard time seeing with my ears.

kingsoby1
Emeritus
June 23rd 2012


4950 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

^Probably one of the best owning retorts on here in a while. Good review, definitely agree this is overrated right now

kingsoby1
Emeritus
June 23rd 2012


4950 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Wasn't sure you remembered 2006 much since you are obviously 13

kingsoby1
Emeritus
June 23rd 2012


4950 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Yes I will go look at some tupac records

zaruyache
June 24th 2012


6929 Comments


Using one of the most critically claimed and revered hip hop artists of all time as an insult isn't that great of a strategy, bro.

Digging: Ardour Loom - Demo

Oathbreaker
November 12th 2012


1649 Comments


"namely the fact that “VII” drags so unapologetically, seemingly only because it’s the final track. "
stfu retard

SaneTBP
November 12th 2012


1737 Comments


Ok album but Bathory and early Burzum slay this

Digging: Flying Lotus - Cosmogramma

azucarnegra
November 15th 2012


7 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I really don't get the hype around Mgla. Last album was very repetitive with all tracks sounding the same for me... Three guitar chords played in the same key throughout the whole album wasn't thrilling at all. Instead of being mesmerized, I got awfully bored. Sorry guys.

Oathbreaker
November 16th 2012


1649 Comments


nah

Oathbreaker
November 16th 2012


1649 Comments


"Few bands have their own style. Kalessin definitely does. Although there are a few weaker points, rest of the album is a solid piece of work. Great and majestic songs."
I need not say more

SpiritCrusher2
May 14th 2014


3171 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

addicted to the title track numba 3, so good

Digging: Mare Cognitum - Phobos Monolith



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