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Hooded Menace – The Tritonus Bell

Hooded Menace
The Tritonus Bell
by Justin "Witty City" Wittenmeier at 04 October 2021, 10:10 AM

HOODED MENANCE is a Finnish death/doom band who formed in 2007. "The Tritonus Bell" is their sixth full length album. They have also released seven splits, a demo, ep and one compilation. Although I've heard their name before, this is my first experience with the band. As such, I cannot compare this release to any of their previous albums so I'm taking this one on its own. As far as death/doom goes, this album is surprisingly accessible. I certainly don't mean that in a bad way. But it isn't as dark and depressing as the genre usually is. It helps that "The Tritonus Bell" is often times melodic.

The album isn't keen on playing the death metal part of their sound nonstop. There is actually a lot of variety on display here. Obviously the growls keep the death metal elements alive. And while the band does still provide plenty of more extreme elements, there is a lot of groove to this album that recalls NWOBHM; traditional doom elements abound as well. For me, all these different dimensions of the band result in a refreshing album that is a blast. In addition, the album only has five full length tracks so it appears to have been written in the mindset of wanting fans to listen to it in quick seasons over multiple times. If so, the idea worked because this is definitely an album that is well written enough to demand those repeated listens.

I will say up front that the intro and outro tracks, "Chthonic Exordium," and "Instruments Of Somber Finality" are basically filler. While both instrumentals feature short but sweet guitar work, each fill like they are unfinished and had so much more potential. Now let's get to the meat of the album. "Chime Diabolicus," opens with dueling guitar melodies followed by solid riffing. A decent solo perfectly leads the song to galloping guitars before the song slows to a crawl. The death growls are excellent and go along so well with the song even when it is at its most melodic. The main riff is thick and spirals through the song while the rhythm section holds it all up. Subtle touches of keys add just enough theatrics without going overboard.

"Blood Ornaments," is a kick ass song that reminds me of a doom oriented mixture of 80s heavy metal and thrash.  The song slows to let the lead guitar shine but those growls are straight from the grave. Even when the songs are slow as a rotting zombie, the band continues to inject interesting elements into the music as they are not content on just laying down a heavy riff and letting it sit there. The song grows colder and more deadly as it goes along especially in the mid-section with the dismal atmosphere combining with the faster riffs.

I love the huge guitars at the beginning of "Those Who Absorb The Night." This might be my favorite track on the album because it so somber in tone compared to the other songs. It is still rich with fantastic lead guitar and deep bass that gives the more shining moments that much needed low end. Galloping guitars returns with "Corpus Asunder" which is a track that flows very well. The drums in particular are a standout, hitting the right notes at the right times to keep said flow going. This song has a lot of guitar melodies that intersect with the slower sections while integrating exceedingly well with the faster passages.

"Scattered Into Dark" is a whopper of a song. The opening moments have that slow groove that doom is so famous for.  This song is a slower burn than the others but that allows the band to really flesh out their sound and give us a song that fully encompasses what they were going for on this album. "The Tritonus Bell," is a successful album that blends melodic doom, and other styles, into death/doom with well-crafted song structures.  I can definitely see this album appealing to both doom fans and people who haven’t yet been introduced to the vast genre.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Chthonic Exordium
2. Chime Diabolicus
3. Blood Ornaments
4. Those Who Absorb the Night 0
5. Corpus Asunder
6. Scattered into Dark
7. Instruments of Somber Finality
Lasse Pyykkö  - Guitars (Lead), Guitars Rhythm), Keyboards, Bass
Pekka Koskelo - Drums
Teemu Hannonen - Guitars (Rhythm)
Harri Kuokkanen - Vocals
Record Label: Season of Mist


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Edited 05 December 2022

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