Live report by Lupus Canis – MMXVI.
Our story goes way back in time when the Presence EP came out from Polish black metallers Mgła and it had tremendously rich memories left behind. My first encounter with them was the magnificent Crushing The Holy Trinity compilation, but I did not pay that much attention to the Polish musicians. (Well, DSO and Clandestine Blaze were more in the focus.) I just kept in my mind that I should really watch out for them for future releases. The Mdłości EP came out in the same year as Presence (in 2006 more correctly) and I came to realize that I found some kind of a hidden treasure. My fascination grew stronger towards them with each record they created. Full-lengths, like Groza, With Hearts Toward None and their latest opus Exercises In Futility holds a big status in the so called black metal universe.
So the day came. Only the Polish formation as the headliner and some fine acts of the Hungarian black metal underground. Weeks before the event all the tickets were sold out, it seemed that there were much more people would like to attend the show than the actual settings could possibly allow. Maybe a bigger venue could simply solve this next time… and hopefully that was not the first and last time we saw them on tour in our motherland.
Svoid from Miskolc entered the stage first. There were a little change in their line-up: the guitarist from black metal fellow-band Karst, Balázs played bass live, while vocalist/mastermind S only handled the microphone. This was my second time I saw them (the first was at IAC Fest Szeged last year) and they played a pretty decent set. Sound was not on the top: drum parts were buried under the distorted guitar riffs, was a bit impossible to hear out the well written themes Dániel played on percussion. Vocals were all-right, frontman S’s stage presence is intense as usual and devoted to the BM phenomena. Besides their own songs, Watain’s classic, the Devil’s Blood seemed a correct choice for cover again. All in all, Svoid is a nice example how black metal should be played: raw and energetic with full on spirit.
Then Dunkelheit followed the Left Hand Path. They are a four piece BM assault sharing members with Lepra and playing in the traditional way. The room began to fill up with people, almost full-house. Simple, raw & sharp stuff, some kind of old school BM tunes filled with cold, isolating emotions. I don’t know who the local engineer was at that night but the sound changed a bit: guitars and drums were quite okay, quite balanced, but vocals were somehow lower in the mix. I really had to concentrate on what was happening, maybe with louder vocals it would have been better. They played only new tracks from the upcoming Dunkelheit album (an intro plus a set of 6 songs) which will be possibly out at the end of the year. Promising.
Lepra was the third on the list. Despite hailing from the City Of Sun – Szeged, they gave a slab of rotten, but somehow fresh, black meat. Black metal, to be precise. I have to mention their „faceless & anonymous” stage appearance: I know that there is some kind of trend wearing shrouds, robes, hoods and black balaclavas and stuff these days, so literally speaking, Lepra’s obscure eradication can be witnessed as a whole only with these elements. That is my point of view, of course. (Cavemen drone masters SUNN O))) was the first in the early days and then dozens of bands followed, partly in the black metal genre, which is okay for me.) A huge fucking banner at the background, a smell of incense, seeing of red wax dropping from black candles, human bones… we were given a cryptic death ritual. Sound of the PA got better, still I could not be able to hear out the vocals. Whatever. One more thing to mention: the guitarist on the right side of the stage had special skills. Great and tight guitar work, it was pulsating through the entire set. Wrecked On The Ruins Of Time is still my favourite one. The closing track was a cover from Norway’s finest: Mayhem – De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas. Svoid’s frontman came up on stage to take part in vocals. A memorable moment, then I left the swarming crowd.
After waiting more like 10 years to see the Mist live, I stood astonished when they began their set. The concert hall was full of people, was nearly impossible to go forward, towards the stage. I felt like a fucking herring among fucking herrings in a small, plastic lutch. Not a good situation. Besides this one negative thing, the concert was nearly flawless. While Mgła only started touring a few years ago (expanding the core-duo with two talented session members live) , they have never had weak-points on the production. I only saw some live videos on the net, so I was about ready to witness this. No song titles just roman numbers on each record, so please let me set aside a valid set-list. This was just all about the experience, because it was an experience. I must say it was like a precise operation on the mind’s eye. They sounded great enough to enjoy. Drumming was extraordinary (same hit-ups and cymbal crashes, even the timing, tight parts) songs like the second one from Exercises In Futility, was hitting me really hard inside. Total cruelty. I have to pull out mastermind M, his charisma shined through his vocals and through his guitar tone. Incredible. Lyrically Mgła has the most well thought lyrics in the black metal industry and musically they operate with an absolutely understandable formula. This worked out pretty well. The closing track (ending) was like a high kick unto the head, more exactly unto the chin. They won with a knock out.
To sum it up, I still feel a little bit unsure about the event, I am vacillating between two things: too much people in one crowded small place contra an almost perfect black metal concert. Nevermind. One thing I know, next time if they come across our motherland, let these great bands get what they deserve (I mean circumstances and organization, etc.) and not for just the bands, us, for the listeners, too.