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Hooded Menace - Ossuarium Silhouettes Unhallowed

Hooded Menace
Ossuarium Silhouettes Unhallowed
by Lauren Fonto at 07 February 2018, 8:19 AM

HOODED MENACE return with another intoxicating brew of death doom. This is their fifth full-length album, alongside a number of splits with such luminaries as ASPHYX and COFFINS. Earlier this year, I listened to their younger death-doom peers DRUID LORD, who seem have a somewhat similar sound and lyrical themes to HOODED MENACE. That being said, the latter will of course be judged on their own merit (of which they have plenty).

Throughout the album, the band imbues their work with a sinister, haunted atmosphere. I was reminded of dusty, abandoned castles. “In Eerie Deliverance” is a good example of this. There’s a cavernous feel to the vocals, and a bubbling riff with a slower counter-melody adds a sense of menace. The bass guitar “lurks” in the background, mixed at just the right spot. The brief pause before the faster section is effective, and gives way to earworm riffs which have an uneasiness to them. “Cathedral of Labyrinthine Darkness” goes bottom-of-sea-heavy in the opening passages, and has a beautiful, mournful solo, made so by the reverb and sustained notes. The counter-melodies heighten the emotional feel of this track, and an energetic solo is like a burst of light through the gloom. Solo bass notes bring things back to a heavier tone, with some supple guitar runs adding an interesting musical contrast.

“Cascade of Ashes” opens with powerful growls and slow, super heavy riffs. The ringing riffs add a sense of melancholy, and contrast with the somewhat faster bassline. Quiet riffs give way to rich bass tones and strong tom fills, with interesting vocal phrasing. The guitar solo has a melancholy beauty to it, with a harmonized passage being the emotional high point. The delicate opening riffs, with a cascading counter-melody, set the scene on “Charnel Reflections”. The clean notes have a sense of wistfulness in their tone. Things then take a turn to the sinister side with the arrival of heavier elements, notably the bone-shaking bass and pulverizing riffs. The slides and bends in the solo give it a sinister feel, with the harmonized notes adding tension. The repetition of gloomy notes in the rhythm section conjure a sense of inevitability – there’s no running away from how the bones in a charnel house were once the living, and the living will one day be bones.

HOODED MENACE have made a good-quality addition to the death-doom subgenre with this year’s release. In the end, I enjoyed this album as much as I did the one from DRUID LORD, but for different reasons. Each band does death-doom in their own particular way, thus adding more jewels to the crown of the subgenre.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Sempiternal Grotesqueries
2. In Eerie Deliverance
3. Cathedral of Labyrinthine Darkness
4. Cascade of Ashes
5. Charnel Reflections
6. Black Moss
7. Sorrows of the Moon
Lasse Pyykkö – Guitars
Teemu Hannonen – Guitars (Rhythm)
Harri Kuokkanen – Vocals
Antti Poutanen – Bass
Otso Ukkonen – Drums 
Record Label: Season of Mist


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