Night Hag - Phantasmal Scourge (2022)Release ID: 34511

Night Hag - Phantasmal Scourge (2022) Cover
Ben Ben / May 06, 2022 / Comments 1 / 2

Night Hag's filthy debut death doom ceremony has been desecrating my eardrums for the past couple of weeks. Throughout these self-inflicted episodes, it has continually crossed my mind just how similar the experience is to that I was subjected to by Druid Lord earlier in the year. The albums were released just seven days apart in January, and both contain a similar horror-fuelled form of doom with vocals that simply must be emanating from the decrepit beings that adorn their covers.

So how does Night Hag stack up? While I think it achieves what it set out to do, and it would be difficult for any death doom fan not to get some enjoyment out of it (unless you only enjoy the more gothic influenced form), I don't think Phantasmal Scourge offers enough to be called an essential listen. The two highlight tracks for me (the title track and Witching Hour Violation) delve into funeral doom and traditional death metal, and I think it's this variety, and the extremity of those tracks that take them to another level. The band's stock sound is just a bit monotonous, without the crushing power that makes that description a positive for other doom acts. I definitely enjoy the Druid Lord album more than this one, and I think that has a lot to do with the fantastic lead guitar work that permeated its running time; an addition that added a dimension that Night Hag might want to consider in future.

All up, this is a solid release that I'm still willing to give 3.5 stars, but unless you love death doom as much as Sonny and I do, you might find that this phantasmal scourge doesn't quite violate you as much other, more effective relics of the dead.

Sonny Sonny / March 04, 2022 / Comments 0 / 0

Well you know what they say, "There's no school like the old school". Now Night Hag may not be fully-fledged graduates of the death doom old-school but they sure as hell have studied the curriculum intensely. Despite reportedly forming in 2012, this is the Virginia three-piece's debut full-length, with only a 2018 EP and 2021 split (with Cryptic Brood) being released during the preceding decade. While the band don't do anything new or innovative with that old-school death doom formula, they do go all-in on the doom side of things and as such, this is crawlingly abyssal-sounding for large parts of it's runtime - with no complaints from me! I make no apologies for admitting to preferring the old-school as far as death metal goes and Night Hag claw back to the likes of Cianide, Ceremonium and Rippikoulu for inspiration and do a great job of reproducing that filthy early nineties death metal sound, with the caveat that Phantasmal Scourge's modern production values never allow it to reach the truly foetid and filthy sound that made those early nineties death doom releases such classic records. Imagine someone had taken Autumn Shade or A Descent Into Hell and scraped some of the mould and crustiness off them then you get some idea of what Night Hag have achieved here.

As I said earlier, the band certainly focus on the doom side of their death doom, especially during the early tracks on the album with the tempo almost verging on funeral doom at times (the title track for example) but they can unleash some pretty great quicker metal riffs too when the mood takes them - I love the banger of a riff at the conclusion of opener Slowly Festering in Rigor Mortis to name but one. The guitar tone has that satisfying crunch requisite of OSDM, downtuned and replete with heavy distortion and the vocals have that breaking boulder deep growl that should be familiar to any OSDM fanatic. In all honesty, the album is a track or two overlong, fifty-five minutes being a bit of a stretch, the classics always knew to take their leave around the forty minute mark - better to leave them wanting more than to oversatiate the listener, but this is a quibble really and the length doesn't affect the experience too adversely.

Look, if you've come to this looking for something new and innovative then keep walking because you are definitely in the wrong place. If, however, you know exactly what you want from modern old-school-influenced death doom then you should be right at home here. Should appeal to fans of modern death doom acts like Coffins, Atavisma and Druid Lord as well as the classic nineties acts.


Release info

Release Site Rating

Ratings: 3 | Reviews: 2


Release Clan Rating

Ratings: 2 | Reviews: 2


Cover Site Rating

Ratings: 4


Cover Clan Rating

Ratings: 3

Phantasmal Scourge
The Fallen
Doom Metal

Death Doom Metal

Voted For: 1 | Against: 0

Night Hag chronology

Insemination Rites of the Succubus (2018)
Phantasmal Scourge (2022)