MGŁA – Age of Excuse
Whenever a new Mgła release comes around, we simply want it to sound like Mgła. Personally considering Exercises in Futility and With Hearts Toward None as two of my favourite black metal albums of the 2010s, the surprising release of Age of Excuse on September 2nd was one that excited me a great deal, and the good news is that it sounds exactly like you’d come to expect Mgła to sound like at this point.
Immediately sending us back to the release of Exercises in Futility in 2016, AoE I opens with what sounds like someone gnawing on a bone or perhaps grinding their teeth, highly reminiscent of the seething, constrained beast that opened Exercises, and Mgła’s distinct sound just keeps unfolding from there. Haunting, dissonant melodies screech from left to right, accompanying tremolo lines rising and falling like the tides, while M professes his hatred for and discontent with the human race and all its shortcomings, whereas the drumming is on average as strong as the true highlights on Exercises and With Hearts Toward None, with Darkside’s playful dancing on the cymbals giving the album an extra melodic dimension, on top of what is already being offered to the listener in bulk by the guitars and bass. The lyrics are, in the same vein, simply a continuation of Mgła’s neverending gripes with humanity and existence, each song casting a new curse upon the earth, although this time around with even more literary references and sophistication.
Although another strong release that completely captivated me from the first few spins, I do find it just a tad less memorable than its predecessors, being on average a very strong release, but with the standout moments not quite reaching the same heights as those on Exercises or With Hearts. This could however change over time, as the album is being given listen after listen, something that does not seem to cease anytime soon. Album of the year contender for sure, to absolutely no one’s surprise.