All was dark, the sound of falling rain my only companion as I watched the world from atop Black Mount Promo. Hushed whispers warning of The Nighthag‘s return had found their way to my ears, and I had to be sure. Before long, Iightning split the sky, shattering the surrounding dark, and there she was: The Nighthag, back for Part 2 of her deadly visit to our lands, summoned by The Projectionist. My breath drew short, but my gaze held fast. We had survived her cacophonous Canadian horrors before; we would do so again. I prepared to appraise my brethren, and as the skies illuminated the land once more, something caught my eye and chilled my blood. The Nighthag drew nigh to conclude her black metal opera of chaos, and behind her, skulking further back but very much on their way, loomed the silhouettes of her brothers. I could hardly believe the truth unfolding before me: should we survive this final half of the Nighthag‘s assault, six more operatic forces of obsidian ardor would still lay in her wake and on our horizon.
I rode back to the Hall, pondering what I had learned. That The Nighthag would return was always known, yet this news of six subsequent assaults was trvly disquieting. Would each of these encroaching siblings employ identical tactics and instrumental weaponry? By Jørn, wouldn’t that get old… then again, what if each subsequent invader proved weaker than the last? Such would be a pity for The Projectionist, given the grand scope of his diabolical ambitions, but it would certainly spare the psyches of untold Hall denizens. Just as I found myself entertaining the fascinatingly terrifying notion of these oncoming leviathans somehow surpassing The Nighthag, the sky broke and the earth trembled: she had returned.
When the world fell apart and the violence began, I was captivated by the familiarity of it all. This second round of Hagging wasn’t identical to the inaugural invasion, not by a long shot, and yet the chill in the air and the poison in the atmosphere were distinctly hers. The haunting Eldamarian fog that surrounds her, the blackened discomfort of her Sargeistic and somewhat Scar Sighted strings, the utter cacophony that is her voice… we survivors of Part 1 can never forget those terrifying sounds, and those of us unable to escape found our scars gloriously re-opened. The familiar feel brought our wounds back to life, and an increased ferocity and determination to explore the lands she had decimated with her raw black weaponry left us bloodier than ever. There could be no doubt that such psychotic devastation was the work of The Projectionist‘s nightmarish mistress, and yet these vicious attacks left even more devastation in their wake; the tormented shrieks ov every shade of black metal filled the air and the deadly deftness with which she now wielded her axe all but severed the banging heads of those who beheld her execrable grandeur. I had believed myself prepared; I was wrong. This was a weaponized nightmare, a sonic genocide that made Madam Hag‘s last decimation of our great Hall seem like a lighthearted game in comparison. Why, then, am I still here, able to offer sane recollection rather than writhing uncontrollably in the throes of jubilant dementia?
The answer, sweet child of Jørn, is as ageless as Steel1: like any great villain, Our Lady Hag insisted on narrating her wickedness as it unfolded, frequently lapsing into rasping monologues and subsequently presenting several opportunities for her victims to break free of their hypnosis. Though hers was a dark design that demanded detailed delineation, The Nighthag‘s somewhat heavy-handed attempts to directly chronicle her ongoing chaos often undercut the effectiveness of her enthralling instrumentation, consequently diminishing her death grip on our ears. Indeed, when she capped off the carnage with a drawn-out monologue, her recent horrors almost felt as though they were already years behind us. While her presence may have been unmistakable and unnerving, and her invasion quite calculated and competently conducted, even the best-laid plans of rats and demons often go awry; The Nighthag‘s sonic weaponry surely dealt greater damage this time around, yet she simply allowed too many of us to escape to rate this victory on par with Part 1.
Though I have now managed to survive a second nightmarish assault orchestrated by The Projectionist, I am no less troubled by the threat of his eventual return. Part 2 may not have been the war to end all wars, but this fiend has already vowed to return five more times, and only the slightest bit of hubris had kept him from claiming total victory this time around. If even one of The Nighthag‘s six successors are able to wield the lethal focus of Part 1 alongside the devastating blackness of Part 2‘s armament, innocent minds will break by the thousands; if each of the coming conquerors should prove able to learn from The Nighthag‘s minor missteps, The Projectionist will easily create a blackened kingdom of sinister sonic stories to rival the likes of King Diamond.2 Jørn help us all.
DR: 9 | Format Reviewed: 256 kbps mp3
Label: Appalachian Noise Records | Bandcamp
Websites: thetrueprojectionist.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/the-projectionist
Releases Worldwide: June 28th, 2019