So…this is it? This, is the far and away number one album of the year so far? Are you kidding me? Is this an elaborate ruse done by all of Mgła’s fans? Considering I’ve heard people call this album dissonant, I’m starting to think so. This album is the exact opposite of dissonant, it’s way too tonal. There’s been other comments on this album that makes me think people just haven’t listened to it, or like I said, are trolling. This includes some people saying it’s experimental, which is laughable. To start off the critique, let me explain the formula to this album. Take one idea. Repeat it ad-nauseam until the listener grows bored. Then keep doing it for another few minutes until the track is over. Repeat that six times, and you have some fittingly named Exercises in Futility. This album is like a theme and variations, except they forgot to add the variations part. Now I am not saying I’m against repetition in albums. One of my favorite albums of all time is Corrupted’s Paso Inferior, which is essentially repeating one idea for an hour. The difference between the two is that Paso Inferio has atmosphere. The album conveys the pointless struggle of existence, the torturous repetition of daily life, how we slog through every trial only to end up in the same place. It’s painful to get through, and it’s a work of art and a master piece. It also helps that it’s rumored to be about life after the Hiroshima bombing, in which case the possible added context just makes it so much better. In Exercises in Futility, Mgla decided to say fuck that, let’s go play major 7ths. Which brings me to my next point. The major 7th is the single most dangerous chord to use in music. Because it either makes you look like a genius and brings a climactic eargasm to the listener, or it makes you look ridiculous and your entire song becomes an embarrassment. Guess which direction this album goes towards? It’s not even that Mgla uses it a lot, it’s that they complete ABUSE it in every track. It is a staple chord in almost every song on the album. And since every track is just one repeated idea, you’re going to hear it a lot, and get tired of it really fast. And the worst part about it goes back to what i was talking about with atmosphere. From what I understand, this is supposed to be a modern take on traditional black metal. And it does certainly sound modern, though I would attribute that almost entirely to the production job. The problem is, even though traditional black metal albums repeated ideas a lot, they had an atmosphere. That is, a generally feeling about them that was consistent throughout the entire album. And while sure, much of that feeling could be reduced to generic things like darkness, satan, etc, there was at least something tangible to hold onto. The album had some sort of direction. This feels like it’s going nowhere. It doesn’t feel dark because of the major 7th chords, and it doesn’t feel triumphant because of everything else. It just feels stuck in neutral, and when the atmosphere is neutral, that makes for a very dull album. In a possible twist of genius, maybe that just is the exercise in futility, but I highly doubt that, and if is, that’s just lazy art. The one good thing I will say about this album is that the drumming can get somewhat interesting. The opening track, though I think it’s the worst on the album, is driven mostly by not only blast beats, but some sort of punk rockish rhythm. There are multiple examples of multi-rythm on here, in which there are generic black metal beats combined with interesting beats using symbols. There’s a bit of syncopation that’s pretty cool that I haven’t heard in any other black metal album. But alas, that cannot save this album, which considering how long it’s high rating holds, might be one of the most overrated metal albums of all time. Exercises in Futility certainly is an a exercise in futility, in that it’s futile to find much worthwhile to listen to.