Hagatiz is a new name to the Black Metal block and ‘Cursed to the Night’ is their very first record. But this fresh entry to the scene can appear deceptive, as the members behind the entity are seasoned veterans of the German Black Metal scene. Combining the creative minds behind Dauþuz, Häxenzijrkell, Abythic, Lunar Chalice and Mysteria Mystica Aeterna, the band presents their first seven tracks together through the home of a fair number of their projects, Amor Fati Productions.
The musical ideas coming together on ‘Cursed to the Night’ is distinctly in the vein of 90’s Black Metal. A key influence is that of ‘De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas’, but arguably the band sounds even more like a more recent band that gave their own stellar interpretation of Mayhem’s legendary record: The Norwegians of Mare. That feeling isn’t just obvious in opener ‘The Gathering’, but throughout songs like ‘Demimonde’, ‘Echoes from the Afterlife’ and essentially within every song. Now Hagatiz isn’t nearly as ritualistic, opting for a more stripped down version that also fits with Polish and German second wave Black Metal aesthetics. The result is something that sounds authentic, with a clearly audible bass, analog drums and sharp distorted guitars. Topping it all off are the vocals which are raspy and a touch throaty, with a few excellent high-pitched cries interlaced in the songs such as ‘Scourge Beneath the Skin’.
Filled with tremolo picking melodies, the bareboned songs aren’t hard to digest. As a consequence, ‘Cursed to the Night’ is an album that instantly falls into place. Especially in a pile of records on my reviewing table that take a fair share of in depth exploring, the more straightforward qualities of the Hagatiz debut make it a pleasant listen. It may lack the majestic brilliant depth of ‘De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas’ or the trance-inducing atmosphere of Mare’s ‘Spheres Like Death’, but those that are looking for a straight from the heart and right to the point early 90’s Black Metal record, definitely give this one a chance.