By Sean Palmerston
Known for their decidedly old school style death metal releases – we’re talking in the vein of Impetigo, (the Canadian) Slaughter and Repulsion here folks – it makes total sense that this album could have only come out on Razorback Records. For while Hooded Menace might be a new band, and this its first non-demo release, this Finnish band’s style is decidedly old school doom/death circa 1989/1990 that will absolutely delight fans of the early works by Cathedral, Asphyx and Winter. Yes, it is absolutely that good. Led by guitarist/vocalist Lasse Pykko, who longtime tape traders will remember from late 80s Finnish death thrashers Phlegethon, the band apparently grew out of Pykko jamming with friends on classic Candlemass songs but wanting to have growly death metal vocals instead of clean singing. So with an idea in mind, and a friendship already established with Razorback’s Billy Nocera, the name Hooded Menace was apparently dubbed on the group by Nocera – who then went the extra step to even write lyrics for the project. Based around the Spanish Blind Dead horror movie series of the early ’70s which ‘stars’ hooded, mummified horse-riding skeletons known as the Templar Knights, the lyrics intertwine around the movies, are well written and fit perfectly with the slow, churning doom-y death metal that Pykko and co have created. This might be the one new record which is good enough that would easily be championed by Lee Dorrian, King Fowley and Will Rahmer if they each had the chance to hear it. That doesn’t mean however that it is perfect. In fact, “The Love Song Of Gotho, Hunchback of the Morgue” almost rips off the main chugging riff of Sabbath’s “Children of The Grave” a little too closely in approach, but in the grand scheme of things even that couldn’t be seen as a bad thing. This album rules, so do yourself a favor and go buy this, will ya? You won’t be disappointed.
(Originally written for the final, unpublished issue of METAL MANIACS – R.I.P.)