HOODED MENACE - Fulfill the Curse (DOOMENTIA Records CD 2008)
Great things always come out of nowhere and unexpected. It was mid 2000’s and not many people around the extreme metal underground were thinking about playing fuckin doomy and classic to the bone death metal. And this guy, Lasse Pyykkö, formed his new band Hooded Menace and it immediately became a lantern for what will happen in the death metal scene in years to come – a total resurgence of traditional sound of death metal, including a fantastic evolvement and explosion of doom / death metal. Yeah, I love it. And surely Hooded Menace is one of my favourite acts from this sort of music that were ever formed. I love Lasse’s music. “Fulfill the Curse” was his first full length he ever did, even though Pyykkö was / and still is / involved in many bands. Fans of Finnish death metal will know him mostly from Phlegethon obviously! This band did some great recordings in the old days, “Fresco Lungs” being probably the most memorable. Years after Phlegethon’s decease in the 90’s Lasse Pyykkö not only reformed his own band in the mid 00’s, but also formed the greatest of all his bands, Hooded Menace. And “Fulfill the Curse” is a debut of this band, released in 2008.
I like everything about Hooded Menace. Not only the music, which is so super heavy and dark, but also how this band brings horror themes into their concept. The lyrics and artwork, and the music as well, are influenced by some of these old movies like “Return of the Blind Dead”, “Tombs of the Blind Dead” and other such obscure films from the 70’s. I have to say that I’m not necessarily big fan of this old cinema, but for example I just love the graphics, posters and atmosphere of these films. And damn, Hooded Menace is like a perfect tribute. The lyrics have deep connection to them and the artwork by Putrid Mat is simply exceptional and stunning. It looks very much like those killer posters from old movies and the result is killer. You can even see those evil Knights Templar there! Super awesome!
And the music surely evokes the malicious and eerie aura immediately, with the very first riff of “Rotting Rampage (Menace of the Skeletal Dead)”. Slow pace, creepy, sinister riffs, ghastly vocals and heaviness!!! Fuckin heaviness! Each song on this album walks one path and never really steps away from that formula of doom / death metal, except maybe the final track, which is a death metal version of theme from “Manhattan Baby” movie – and which by the way sounds super fantastic and belongs to the real highlights of the whole album (not the first time when a horror movie theme turns into super awesome riffs!! You all remember what Entombed did with “Phantasm” theme, right?). Hooded Menace has some riffs, which sound like a heavier, death metal Candlemass, with some harmonious parts here and there also… It all just sounds super creepy and massive, really dark and the aura fits the horror themed lyrics just perfectly. Some of you may find this music a bit too monotonous, but that’s only matter of taste, I guess. I enjoyed this album a lot, even though it isn’t my favourite Hooded Menace full length.
The vocals have very typical for old Finnish death metal sound, so common among bands like Funebre, Disgrace, not to forget about Demilich and obviously also Phlegethon! So, they’re very brutal, really deep and guttural growling that sound like some creepy monstrous gurgle echoing in the catacombs. And I think it’s fantastic. Not only because such vocals are not that common among death metal bands these days, but also because in the past they were unique just for a small number of classic Finnish death metal acts and this way it makes connection between Hooded Menace and the old scene from Suomi. The vocal approach is very simple, they have not even a single moment where Lasse would sound more melodic or cleaner, they’re quite one dimensional growl right from the guts from start to finish.
And you know what? This album could easily have been recorded in the early or mid 90’s. That should be enough for great recommendation. Check “Fulfill the Curse” and some other Hooded Menace stuff now!!!
Standout tracks: “Rotting Rampage (Menace of the Skeletal Dead)”, “Laboratory of Nightmares”, “The Love Song of Gotho, Hunchback of the Morgue”, “Theme from Manhattan Baby”
Final rate: 80/100