Gig review: Mgla, Ulcerate, Mord’A’Stigmata @ Apolo LA, Barcelona, December 3rd 2022

Gig review: Mgla, Ulcerate, Mord’A’Stigmata @ Apolo LA, Barcelona, December 3rd 2022

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Another mysterious black metal ritual took place this night in Barcelona with the participation of the Polish bands Mgla and Mord’A’Stigmata and New Zealand’s Ulcerate. Great event, as expected. The concert hall was fully packed, the sound was good, great dedication from the people who came to the concert was noticeable, which all together made an amazing atmosphere.

The gig started with the performance of post-black/avant-garde black metal band Mord’A’Stigmata from Poland. I didn’t have a chance to listen to this band before the concert, so I didn’t know what to expect and which genre this music can be referred to. Now I can say it’s definitely a mix of many genres besides the two mentioned above – jazz, stoner, gothic, progressive and post-metal at least. Moreover, not much is left there from black metal, in my opinion – I would say it’s only dark atmosphere and certain guitar riffs. But I don’t think that the guys had a goal to put themselves into such frames.

The band released their 6th album Like Ants and Snakes a month ago, so they played it fully (or almost fully) this night.  I really liked their performance and felt amazing when I got into its depressive spirit and atmosphere. The songs “Like Ants and Snakes” with its long introduction and jazz drums and “Blood of Angels” when the guitarist changed the guitar for keyboards especially got stuck into my memory.

Gloomy guitar fingerpickings, atmospheric keyboards sound, jazz drums with breakbeats, clean vocals that’s what I would like to highlight in this band. I checked out their last 2 albums and can say for sure they are worth attention.

The second band was Ulcerate. I am well familiar with this band’s material. Their first demos were more into traditional/old-school death metal but starting from the first LP the guys found its unique sound, within which it remains to this day. They call their style as “unorthodox death metal”. I can say it’s also avant-garde, atmospheric, technical and definitely has something in common with black metal.

Their performance was disorienting, at some point made me forget where I am and what is going on around, but at the same time it brought me to altered world and put my consciousness in a hypnotic state. Guys started their show from the song “The Lifeless Advance” from the last album called Stare Into Death and Be Still. Actually, most of the songs they played were from this album – also we heard “Drawn Into The Next Void”, “Dissolved Orders”, “There Is No Horizon” and “Stare Into Death and Be Still” from this one. Personally, I was really looking forward to them playing “Inversion” as it’s my favorite on this album. Hopefully next time 🙂 Long story short – great album, I can highly recommend listening. Also Ulcerate played the songs “Everything Is Fine” from the self-titled album and “Cold Becoming” from The Destroyers of All.

To sum up – Ulcerate is about very atmospheric, viscous, technical music, full of dissonances, anxious melodies and complex song structures. I consider the fact that I became their fan to be really weird as mostly I don’t like disharmonious music and dissonances, but this band is a strong exception.

Polish black metal band Mgla closed the event. When I first heard this band many years ago I thought they was underrated and didn’t get why they were not so popular. With the mainstreamification of a so-called 2nd wave of black metal, they have finally taken their rightful place in the black metal industry of 21st century.

Their performance was like a spiritual journey, nihilistic and dark, atmospheric and aggressive. The guys are extremely musically talented and technical, which is not weird probably, if considering their background, especially their drummer Maciej “Darkside” Kowalski – who took my attention during almost the whole performance and multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Mikołaj “M.” Żentara, who is the founder of the band.

Most of the songs the band played were from their 2 last albums Exercises in Futility and Age of Excuse. I was expecting more from With Hearts Toward None, but only the first song was played. However, it was nice to hear the oldie Mdłości – the EP Mgla released in 2006, love this one.

In general, it was very enjoyable to listen to this band. Someone would say they are quite similar to other Polish (or European in general) black metal bands, but as for me – they still sound interesting, fresh and different. First of all, extremely technical and interesting drums, melodic guitar riffs, aggressive vocals, some other unique features made Mgla be loved and recognized by many people for many years and I am pretty sure this trend will continue.

Photo report is HERE.

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About the author

In love with music since my early childhood. Now listen mostly to Death/Black/Doom Metal. Played in atmospheric black metal band. Interested in art, traveling, motorcycles etc.

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