Night Hag – Phantasmal Scourge

It’s always fascinating to watch a band right from the nastiest boards of the rotten, seething floor of the underground of death metal to become their own entity that is by no means anything to mess with in any form as they’ve earned their place by honing their craft into something no less than deadly and utterly gripping. Night Hag is easily such a name as they’ve ever so slowly climbed through the bottom-most rungs of the underground’s ladder of notoriety as they’ve slowly dished out demos with an offering each of a live album, EP, and split from almost exactly a year ago that really put them in the spotlight for a hot moment. But it’s now with their own full-length record after toiling away meticulously for twelve years, even surviving a brief hiatus, that Night Hag has earned that spotlight for much more than a fleeting moment for it’s everything brought forth here that many of us are looking for fervently even if we don’t know it.

There have always been and will continue to be many degrees to what all constitutes as death-doom, and I personally wouldn’t have it any other way. We truly have a menagerie of different sounds to choose from despite still being well within the same area to the point where it’s all certifiably the same style. In the case of Night Hag, it was made clear to me a year ago with their split with Cryptic Brood, “Swollen with Rancid Phlegm”, that their particular brand of death-doom was of the nastiest sort where even the very light of the universe that found itself in the midst of their awesome power was devoured in an instant with no room for survivors and only the seasoned veterans of true punishment could persevere, yet that’s just the appetizer for what’s been brought forth in “Phantasmal Scourge”. Of the nine tracks that we’re presented with for this tremendous first go at a full-length album, you could pick any one of them to serve as the lead single or even a standalone single and they would all be worthy selections for every moment in this immensely sticky and undeniably raw effort that looks so amazingly simple on the surface but it’s looking just even one layer into the slime and grime that the real finesse of Night Hag’s vicious prowess starts to show in delectable quality. It’s through such grandeur and an inescapable murderous intent that Night Hag also manages to avoid the fate of sounding too much like other death-doom acts in this same vein as it’s for all of “Phantasmal Scourge” that we see this band really show off the sound that they’ve been honing for so long such that its effect is downright intoxicating in even its smallest moments with a distinct power, utterly fascinating nastiness that permeates the very soul of the record, and a spectacular sense of diversity that always keeps the record feeling fresh and interesting without ever once abandoning the core pillars of the style itself.

Twelve years is a hell of a long time to build up towards finally releasing a full-length, but it’s in the case of Night Hag and what they’ve accomplished with “Phantasmal Scourge” that I cannot help but feel we’ve gotten the best-case scenario hands down with the only thing dropped by the band’s performance is our jaws as they crash into the floor.

“Phantasmal Scourge” releases on January 28th via Rotted Life!

LISTEN to advanced tracks from “Phantasmal Scourge” on Bandcamp here.

LIKE Night Hag on Facebook here.

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