Mgla’s melodic metal majesty

Mgła is one of the most consistent bands in black metal. They deliver album after album of riveting, hypnotic music with total conviction, and their latest, “Exercises in Futility,” is no different. Every track contains one or more stirring, epic melodies that are nothing less than inspirational calls to battle for the metal brotherhood.

As is always the cryptic way of these eccentric black wizards, the tracks are not given titles, only Roman numerals: I-VI in this case. This tactic further reinforces the sense of the album as a journey, rather than individual steps. And within that journey lie wondrous and spellbinding sounds. More so even than the powerful melodies themselves, the real potency of this music lies in the fact that Mgła has mastered chord changes to mesmerizing effect. The way they manipulate the melodies, shifting up and down, is riveting. I am always amazed by the emotional force they conjure, a force that stirs feeling deep within.

Part I is somewhat demure at first, barely hinting at what is to come … slowly building, and then, at 3:23, a brief stop followed by the marvelous unleashing of the soul of Mgła. Melody, rhythm, and atmosphere coalesce into an unbridled storm of rapture. From there on out it never recedes for long, every part bringing some new combination of wicked melodies and chords that captivate and offer a vast, lovely void in which to lose oneself. Of special note are the cascading, Cascadian rush in Part II; the gleaming fury of Part IV, as well as great lyrics and a chorus that reminds me of Primordial; the spiraling, trance-inducing attack of Part V; and the shades of “Silent Enigma”-era Anathema in Part VI. In fact, Part VI is where the album reaches the peak of glorious melodic fervor, and is wholly transcendent. It is Mgła at their best, unswerving and locked into total blazing magnificence.

Simply put, Mgła are black metal gods and “Exercises in Futility” is another worthy entry into their pantheon.

Hail black metal supremacy:

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