Mgla - Age of Excuse
Northern Heritage
Black Metal
6 songs (42' 24")
Release year: 2019
Northern Heritage
Reviewed by Andy

I finally got a chance to hear Mgla's unexpected followup to Exercises in Futility, Age of Excuse. Unless the band got tired of making great black metal albums, it could be safely assured that this one would similarly deliver the goods. It does -- even more smoothly than its predecessor. Some might consider that a good thing, some might not; but Age of Excuse sticks to what previously worked and gives us more of it.

The bone-gnawing sound of the first track is the only sound effect of the whole album, which bursts into Micolaj Zentara's trademark riffing. The riffing is good enough that I could probably live with an album that had nothing but his rhythm guitar working the ears painfully over, but his partner Darkside nearly steals the show. He is quite possibly the best black metal drummer playing today; in a genre famous for its disregard of drums and wide use of session drummers and machines, we get his beautifully mixed cymbal work integrated tightly into traditional blastbeats, and on drum breaks, the cymbals often get equal billing with the toms. The lead guitars are less distinctive, mostly forming an eerie banshee wail that highlights the tough solidity of the main riffs.

The lyrics, grated out by Zentara but mixed into the tracks with such skill as to be easy on the ear, are similarly nihilistic, forming a companion to Exercises in Futility. Where the previous album denied the validity of purpose and action, the lyrics of this one make a mockery of ethics and aspiration, countering the fury of the music in play by their leaden despair -- though it has to be said that Zentara snarls them with as much gusto as if he were singing of happier things. Songwriting-wise, the band nails it as nicely as they do their mix; slow, fast, and mid-tempo songs all make an appearance and break up any likelihood of monotony.

I wouldn't call this an improvement so much as a continuation of what already worked, though they've added a slightly more aggressive edge to their sound on Age of Excuse. A few Internet reviewers, their fingers permanently glued to the fast-forward button, are already prophesying Mgla's collapse in popularity if they don't try anything new, forgetting the impact of Exercises in Futility when it came out -- it's stayed among the bestselling metal albums of Bandcamp for the last four years, and most listeners would be quite happy to hear them make another just like it. It seems that Mgla has taken this route, the less risky one -- and perhaps the wiser. After all, for true nihilists, progress is an illusion.


Killing Songs :
All are great, though II and IV are my favorites
Andy quoted 90 / 100
Other albums by Mgla that we have reviewed:
Mgla - Exercises in Futility reviewed by Andy and quoted 91 / 100
Mgla - With Hearts Towards None reviewed by Goat and quoted 83 / 100
Mgla - Groza reviewed by Goat and quoted 86 / 100
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