originally written by Erik Thomas
This is my first exposure to this Finnish trio featuring Lasse Pyykkö (notably of doomsters Phlegethon and Sarnath, as well as old school death metal/grindcore act Vacant Coffin). It looks like I’m going to have to dig up their 2008 debut Fulfill the Curse, as Never Cross the Dead is the perfect antidote to today’s cookie-cutter over-produced metal bands.
Plying a form of lumbering death/doom metal that reminded me of bands like Runemagick, Funerus, old Paradise Lost and Coffins, Hooded Menace’ssound is a crawling, loping festering beast that has a few strains of innate Finnish melancholy, but Hooded Menace will never be confused for the likes of Swallow the Sun or Insomnium. Their tones and hues are as rank and dingy as a decrepit old tomb, with no sign of light or hope.
Armed with a super-icky guitar tone that’s as oozing as zombie bile, the album’s 7 main tracks range from 6-9 minutes. While none will be instantly memorable and all have a similar structure, they all deliver thick, scrawling riffs that burrow into your head with a slow methodical gait, the occasional double bass rumble and enough groove to snap you from your coma. From the massive lurch of the title track, through the sick rumble of “Terror Castle,” the doom-laden dirge and subsequent groove of “Night of the Deathcult,” somber strains of “The House of Hammer” and super-heavy groove of closer “From Their Confined Slumber,” the album is a consistent slow-burn of massive riffs and cavwernous growls, with not a synth or acoustic in sight.
As a nice little end-note, you get the band’s take on the Return of the Evil Dead theme. It’s a fitting, perfect close to an album that’s made for an undead mosh pit.