1.With Hearts Toward None I
2.With Hearts Toward None II
3.With Hearts Toward None III
4.With Hearts Toward None IV
5.With Hearts Toward None V
6.With Hearts Toward None VI
7.With Hearts Toward None VII
Total playing time: 43:47
Crónica @ Satanicarchangel
What Naglfar's New Album Should Have Sounded Like
I'll be straight here, I've never heard anything from this band before, I've heard the name tossed around a fair amount but nothing really sparked my interest in them until this albums release. I mean if something is tagged as raw Melodic Black Metal how could I not check this out? Melodic Black Metal always works for me and this album is no different, mixing the primal aggression of second wave Black Metal with the melodic sensibility of Dissection this album is truly a gem within the black metal underground and in my opinion is the best metal album released this year losing out only to Inhaling Blackness... Reflecting Light by I Spit Ashes.
Okay so what makes this album so good? Well it mixes pitch black atmosphere with stunning melody, I find very few bands can do this and Mgla probably pull it off even better than Dissection. The melody is absolutely stunning, beautiful and cold as ice. Although there are certainly more Melodic Black Metal acts than Mgla none can match the sheer intensity of the music on display here. The riffs themselves aren't overly original, it's easy to draw parallels between Naglfar and Dissection but what makes these guys stand out is how everything is pulled off. The melodies create a dense wall of sound that is utterly absorbing in its delivery, mix this in with some pretty catchy melodies and pitch black atmosphere and you've got yourself a keeper.
The vocals are really good in my opinion, this guy utilises a very throaty rasp almost akin to loud roaring, it sounds really vicious and is also surprisingly decipherable. The vocals aren't overly unique and one can easily see similarities between Necrophobic, Sacramentum, but they are very well performed and wonderfully aggressive. The bass is mostly muffled in the mix but it isn't missed (for me anyway), it'd probably detract from the atmosphere anyway. Drums are standard fare so no complaints there.
This album is just utterly incredible, everything works together in unison to create one of the most original and breathtaking album. This along with Welcome my last chapter has some of the best riffs in Black Metal and I highly recommend this album to anyone for a passion or even a slight interest in Black Metal. This album will hopefully propel Mgla to the forefront of the Black Metal underground. I personally prefer this over the likes of Storm of the light's bane and Welcome my last chapter (though only by a little), and is one of the only albums I would consider an equal to Far away from the sun, though I suspect that if I give it more frequent listens it might become my number one album. I strongly urge all readers to get this album as soon as possible.
Overall rating- 20/20
Crónica @ InfinityZero
Very strong melodic black metal. Intense, dramatic, sorrowful, angry. Sets a great mood while pumping out adrenaline.
Anything I would have nit-picked in Groza is fixed up well here. The band has benefitted from going the “shorter songs, longer track list” route. With Hearts Towards None gives us seven tracks, all titled in roman numerals, and all of them are memorable. With a lot of forward drive going for the music and one memorable riff after another, there’s a lot here that you will find gets stuck in your head upon listening just once. Though the riffs are not necessarily technically stunning, their execution and flowing sound are great at projecting emotion. There’s a lot of passion in those guitar strings, and they’re capable of setting some great moods while exciting the listener and pumping out adrenaline. Aside from that, the music as a whole moves forward as one body, so the dips into slower tempos and time signatures really feel natural. Each section comes in with a lot of force and energy behind it, making this album quite entertaining.
The instruments are all packed tight and all of them are just right in the mix. With the drums and the wall of bass the album sounds quite dense, and with a relatively warm production for a black metal release, the guitars, toned to sound frosty and cold, stand out in great contrast. Many of the riffs here take advantage of this juxtaposition by suddenly jumping strings from deeper to higher notes, giving most of the leading melodies a sense of freedom and elevation. The sound here isn’t nearly as rough in sound as one would expect from a raw black metal band, but I think that given the band’s keen sense of melody that isn’t a bad thing. The vocals here are stunning—not particularly unique, but highly fitting for the music. The roaring growl here could be suited for blackened death metal, but they aren’t out of place within this world. They puncture the storm of blazing instruments, with plenty of grit and punch but still maintaining a relatively surprising amount of decipherability. I can understand most of what M is growling about (hell and evil and misanthropy, all that cuddly stuff), and it makes for some pretty interesting listening. Throwing the occasional curveball, M will sometimes go into a clean sort of shouting that seems purposely blurred under blizzard-like guitar riffs (most notably in the songs III and IV), which gives a neat sort of dimension to the section each this alternate vocal method is introduced.
For an album that’s titled With Hearts Towards None, the album is quite easy to swallow, and its prevailing melodic sensibilities are an easy draw for most people into the extreme branches of metal, even for those just being introduced to rawness and brutalness. At the same time, relentless waves of aggressive riffs and furious energy make this album something far-separated from what one would usually call limp. The black metal music here is intense, dramatic, sorrowful, and strong. With many powerful heavy headbanging riffs (strewn throughout V), melodic and hypnotic strange licks (the pattern around which II is structured), and slow ominous buildups (the intro to VII) there’s certainly a lot to pick out and enjoy. The songs tend to not use too many riffs given their run-time, but the three or four patterns and exchanges they choose to build their songs around work time and time again and are hard to get bored of. It is quite infectious and remains interesting long enough to carry you from one song to the next. This does lead me to what I’d call the only complaint I can make here. I personally feel that, while this album has a lot of strong points throughout and almost always keeps the listener interested without using a ton of riffs and signature changes, it sort of lacks variety, and I think the song writing here is full of potential for expansion. I think a few more songs that seek to push or break the mold would work really well here.
Mg?a have already progressed fairly far from their 2008 album Groza, compacting song structures into smaller but denser packages and amping up the adrenaline a little but (unfortunately losing a bit of their atmosphere in the process, but this is mostly made up for), but I still think that they can go farther with their method and formula. I guess this makes me hopeful and interested in what the band will come out with next, because there’s definitely potential and I think they’ll be able to make some more really good stuff before they start to go stale, assuming that they don’t turn into a copy-paste repetitive band with whatever their next release is. As it now stands, Mg?a is a really accomplished band with only two albums under its belt. Their 2012 release With Hearts Towards None is definitely worthy of being called a great piece of contemporary black metal, despite a minor lack of variety overall. Its uniqueness and its great taste in worthy riffs makes this an album that is worth the time of black metal fans out there.