On Saturday, May 7th,2022, Polish black metal exemplars MGŁA, with the supporting bands MARTWA AURA, MANBRYNE, DARVAZA, and DEUS MORTEM – hit Hype Park in Krakow. The show was organized by local booking agency Left Hand Sounds and was set to start at 19:00.
MARTWA AURA was the first to kick off the show. Hailing from Poznan and formed in 2010, they have developed a very distinctive sound and style, as well as a very high quality. MARTWA AURA tended to follow the Polish formula in their music and the feeling is reminiscent of MGŁA, PLAGA, and others. Lyrics were in Polish, which added a plus of ritualistic darkness to the chants and harsh vocals. The melodic base of their songs was simply fantastic, very mid-paced, and even slow, which increased the melancholic and mesmerizing aura. The highlight song was “Medytacja II.”
MANBRYNE is a project of Paweł “Sonneillon” Marzec from BLAZE OF PERDITION. Formed in 2021, they’ve recorded a full-length album, “Heilsweg: O udręce ciała i tułaczce duszy” [“Of Carnal Torment and The Wandering of the Soul”]. The sound was carefully sculpted and it was a fresh approach to the genre. They had the vicious melody, typical to the Polish scene, but polished to perfection. What caught my attention was the melancholic vocals of Sonneillon, emphasized by shrieks, well-structured tracks, melodies, and a profound sense of loss and melancholy. Their art direction was impeccable, having set up an altar in the center of the stage, with black candles, while all musicians had a distinct corpse paint – all blacked out with a cross in the eye area.
DARVAZA is an Italian/Norwegian project. They offered the audience a change of pace – from the first riffs, they slapped the crowd with explosive energy, cowboy boots, and leather pants. Their frontman, Wraath, was brilliant, covered in fake blood and pouring with charisma. They performed tracks from their debut album, “Ascending into Perdition,” a fast-paced pure black metal experience. All musicians were feeling it, and one could tell they were professional performers, working with the crowd in a truly high-quality manner. DARVAZA was an interesting mix of “North meets the South” sounds and certainly enjoyable to witness live.
DEUS MORTEM was up next. Led by Necrosodom, DEUS MORTEM, as usual, had a presence on them and changed the atmosphere of the room. They are combining the raw sounds of ’80s and ’90s black metal, coating it with their unique style. There was a short technical issue at the beginning, before descending into the sea of aggressive riffs, blast beats, and harsh vocals. The ones that made the crowd go into swing were “Nod” and the closing track, “The Destroyer.”
Then the moment everybody was waiting for came finally arrived. MGŁA needs no presentation – they are true Polish black metal in full bloom. The word itself translates to fog, perfectly describing their act – full of obscurity and depression. The venue was sold out and the antsy fans blew in cheers when the band entered the stage. They wore matching stage clothes that consisted of jeans, boots, hoodies, leather jackets, and full face masks, all of which were black colored, transforming them into a human-sized blob – a statement that music was important, not the way they looked. The light was minimalistic as well, with warm highlights, all created for that special MGŁA mood. Mikołaj “M” Żentara’s raspy, hollow growl reverberated all over the venue. The opened with “Age of Excuse II,” ascending into “Exercises in Futility I & IV.” Fans were stage diving and going absolutely berserk! Further into the 1-hour set, they gave a masterclass on how to create a suitably dark, raw, and thoughtful black metal show. They closed with “Age of Excuse VI.”
Overall, the show felt like a mini-festival, with talented bands who had unique stage presences. The sound was crisp and the lights varied, although the headliner had the best lights. The organizers from Left Hand Sounds gave us a saturated, packed, well-prepared show.
Photos by Alexandra Aim