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Hooded Menace - Never Cross The Dead (8,5/10) - Finland - 2010

Genre: Death Metal / Doom Metal
Label: Profound Lore Records
Playing time: 51:23
Band homepage: Hooded Menace

Tracklist:

  1. Never Cross the Dead
  2. Terror Castle
  3. Night of the Deathcult
  4. The House of Hammer
  5. Rituals of Mortal Cremation
  6. As the Creatures Ascend
  7. From Their Confined Slumber
  8. Theme From Return of the Evil Dead
Hooded Menace - Never Cross The Dead

With a relatively young career and only a few releases as yet in their curriculum vitae, HOODED MENACE have already created a stir among fans of old-school Death/Doom. Their debut full-length, “Fulfill The Curse,” an EP and a few splits, have all been well-received by critics and fans. For their sophomore effort, “Never Cross The Dead,” the band deliver more of those qualities which attracted so many listeners: lumbering riffs, ominous guitar tones, and horrifying imagery.

 

The star of all this is the vocal performance by Lasse Pyykkö, who has emerged as one of the best growlers in Metal. His delivery is vomitous, feral, and frightening. Few vocalists can produce such a guttural sound, and yet still make the lyrics decipherable in the performance. His voice drips with mucous-coated evil, and gives an even more sinister feel to lyrics and music that are already horror-themed. Without any hyperbole, Pyykkö has become one of the benchmarks for this vocal style.

 

The music itself is threatening and disquieting. The band proudly affirm their love for Hammer films with song titles such as “Terror Castle”, “The House Of Hammer”, and “From Their Coffined Slumber,” and the music does the films justice. Plodding tempos and gritty low tones evoke a feeling of foreboding that complements the atmosphere of classic horror films in which the threat of impending doom was far more terrifying than its actual realization (in contrast with later horror which sacrificed suspense and dread for visceral shock).

 

If there is any flaw here, it is in the band’s over-reliance on its own formula for its composition. All of the songs follow a similar pattern for tempo changes, starting off slow, and then transitioning to a mid-tempo pace before slowing down again. While this is initially successful in maintaining high listener engagement, after a few songs one begins to anticipate the pattern, making the music predictable.

 

Overall, though, HOODED MENACE have delivered another winner, and have further established themselves as members of the current crop of Death/Doom young guns channeling the classic sounds of AUTOPSY and GOATLORD. For those who prefer their Metal slow, filthy, and extreme, “Never Cross The Dead” is one to check out.

(Online June 3, 2011)

Steve Herrmann



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