Right now hundreds, if not thousands of death metal releases are clawing and clamoring for your attention, but Pustulent Perversions by Cincinnati, Ohio-based quintet Scab Hag succeeds by first catching your eye with its cover, like a fan’s rendition of a Cannibal Corpse cover with some psychedelic coloring a la Wharflurch’s 2021 full-length. Of course, Scab Hag are a death metal band, and, like its adorning motley-hued cover, the death metal found beneath this striking and deranged piece of art just so happens to be of the highest, sickest order. Like Once Upon the Cross-era Deicide mixed with just the right amount of catchy stoop-skulled brutality—except on the song “Leeched,” which borders on brutal dm for all its relentless pummeling and animalistic gutturals. All things considered, their name, their artwork, their skull-nullifying sound, it all embodies the true spirit of death metal. In short, Scab Hag’s demo (debut EP) crushed its way here to become our featured demo of the week.
“I came up with the name [Scab Hag] before I had people together,” remembers Brian Gascon, the band’s founding member and guitarist. He says, “but I knew I wanted Evan [Adam’s, Scab Hag’s other guitarist] to be in the band cus we had been in a previous project together.”
“I met Evan and Brian at Southgate house on Halloween,” relates vocalist Mike Deurmier. “I saw Brian wearing a Maggot Stomp hat and Frozen Soul [had] just put out the single for ‘Crypt of Ice,’ I figured if there was one person I could talk to about it, it would be him. Brian, Evan and I all started talking about music we liked like Fulci, 200 Stab Wounds, Undeath, Mortician, and Brian said ‘We should start a band together.’ Months later we all met up.”
Mike continues, “I think the mission from get was to make some brutal ass music that’s in the realm of the shit we all like. Personally for me it was to play music that makes people wanna fuck things up.”
Speaking to their local scene, Brian, Scab Hag’s guitarist, says, “Cincinnati has a decent death metal scene but not in the realm of brutal death metal or ‘caveman shit.’”
“Ohio’s scene is phenomenal from Cleveland to Columbus,” says Mike. “You have so many good bands like Inoculation, Kurnugia, 200 Stab Wounds, Embalmer, Mutilatred and Sanguisugabogg. That’s the kind of stuff that inspires me and the type of music we wanna stay true to.”
As for their obnoxiously crushing four-song debut, Evan, guitarist, says, “It came together really quickly. I was pretty much writing a song per practice and then we’d decide if we wanted to use it or not.”
Brian adds, “I wrote all of ‘Leeched’ and we came in and pretty much put it together within 2 practices and called it a wrap on the EP after that until we decided we wanted the intro so we made that up on the spot to beef up the set.”
“Evan and Brian both had a lot of material together,” Mike confirms. “Brian wrote ‘Leeched’ and ‘Baptized in Bogs of Bile.’ Evan wrote ‘Homicidal Hex’ and ‘Communal Consumption.’” He says, “I thought the intro needed a little something extra. I liked that it was an instrumental but I felt it needed something. I’m a big fan of random OUGHs! in songs and I felt that putting one at the beginning would be a great way to start the EP.”
The demo’s second track is our favorite here at Demo:listen HQ. Regarding “Communal Consumption,” Mike says the horror film The Hill Have Eyes “was literally the entire inspiration for the lyrics. [That] was one of the first horror movies I ever watched. The original lyrics weren’t as gruesome and I got pretty drunk one night and deleted all the lyrics and rewrote them a week later cus I wasn’t satisfied with them.”
One of the most impressive aspects of Pustulent Perversions is its production. It’s massive, desolate and clear enough to let the true filth within the music shine and traumatize.
According to bassist Tony Schrader, producing the demo “was pretty easy to be honest,” he says. “Brian and Evan came in and did all their guitar tracks in one or two takes. Mike came in and put down his initial vocal rhythms and growls then came back and added some more things he wanted to do.”
As for the Uncle Buck sample, Tony says. “That was all Brian’s idea, Brian sent us that clip and said I’d like to use this as a sample. Later that day I messed around with it and had the sample you heard.”
The band says, unanimously, they’re grateful for the positive response that Pustulent Perversions has so far received. Overall, are you satisfied with the response the demo has received so far?
Looking ahead, Evan says, “We’re just gonna keep writing new songs and playing out as much as possible and play places we’ve never played. As far as full length that’s the next step.”
Tony says, “We wanna make sure that we’re trying to one up ourselves every time and make something better and better.”
“There’s also the possibility of us releasing a tape here in the future with a couple songs on it then doing the full-length who knows,” says Mike. :As far as sound changes, expect heavier vocals with more gutturals in the future and possibly some more melodies.”
In closing, Tony adds, “We’d like to shout out or guy Will Feiner who runs transplant productions in Cincinnati, thanks for booking some great shows around here and giving us our opportunity for our first gig
Evan says shout outs to “Q and Chris Alsip, who do all the booking at Legends venue in Cincy. Thanks for having us back again and again.”
“I’d like thank everyone who’s ordered anything from us, anyone who has come to a show especially those who haven’t missed a gig (Willy and Andy). I wanna thank Scott McGrath for preordering the EP before it came out, Devin Swank for giving us an opportunity to come to his place and play a set here soon, Sam and Chad from Frozen Soul for supporting us before the EP even dropped and believing in us and Chris Wrobel for helping us try to spread this brutality.”