It’s still pretty early in the year, but everything already seems fucked with no real chance of recovery. So, let’s just immerse ourselves in unnatural horrors to get by. You know, the ones containing zombies and vampires, but not the shitty ones we see represented in our rapidly declining pop culture.
No. We’re talking digging into old films, scratchy ones, where you don’t understand the language, and what’s going on looks cheesy to an extent, but it still scares the living shit out of you. That’s where Finnish doom-death band Hooded Menace long have built their punishing terrors, and we get more of that on their massive new record “Ossuarium Silhouettes Unhallowed,” one of the finest in their entire catalog. As bleak, deadly, and soul-destroying as this record is, it’s a pleasure to hear if their sounds are what turn on your dark soul. We’ve been writing about this band since their start—both here and elsewhere—and I don’t remember another of their albums that was this instantly immersive. I took my cat to the vet the other day and had this playing and kept asking him if he heard this fucking thing? He didn’t give a shit because he was on his way to get a shot, but I knew he knew. This is a massive, unforgiving monster that this band—Harri Kuokkanen (vocals), Lasse Pyykkö (lead, rhythm, and acoustic guitars), Teemu Hannonen (rhythm guitar), Antti Poutanen (bass), Otso Ukkonen (drums)—has created, and it comes at a perfect time when everything seems ready to crumble.
“Sempiternal Grotesqueries” gets things started with pure funeral doom misery, as the growls scrape along, and the pace begins to chug and crush. Melodies pool and flood over, as the riffs strike, and the song bleeds sorrow. Dual guitar lines merge and glow, and then we ramp back into violence, as the growls maul, and everything ends in elegant sadness. “In Eerie Deliverance” trudges and bleeds, as the guitars tear open a hole, and gothic playing emerges. A female voice speaks over the madness, while the song gets scarier, and the growls gurgle mud. Spacious playing comes out of that, as the song ends in melodic acid. “Cathedral of Labyrinthine Darkness” is slow driving with a thick bassline and atmospheric rumbling. The growls crush, pushing toward spacious thunder that opens the storm clouds, and that leads to meaty bass punishing, dual leads adding texture, and the back end wailing out.
“Cascade of Ashes” starts in a pit of growls, as the song blows open, and oxygen-infused terror begins to crawl its way toward you. The pace is lumbering and devastating, and then the pace halts and gives way to stormy, moody guitars. The growls slither, while the murky playing adds to the cloud cover, and the thick music keeps cascading right up to the end. “Charnel Reflections” begins with cool guitars dripping, as the mood gets darker and causes your chest to heave. The track gets sludgy and punishing, as the leads destroy bones, and the ground melts. The guitar work slips into Maiden-like glory, and then the pace kicks back into death, barreling out to the finish line. Closer “Black Moss” is the shortest song at 2:20, a place where guitars fold into each other, and the earth begins to quake. Great leads intertwine, gushing classic metal glory, but once the battle subsides, acoustic guitars emerge and take us into the mist.
Hooded Menace always find the ideal way to rip out our guts, and they’ve done it again, painfully so, on this massive new album. “Ossuarium Silhouettes Unhallowed” is a sinewy snapshot of a band that has recognized its power and is continuing to build on their massive bloodthirst. It’s a miserable world in which we live, so might as well revel with the filth and those who seek to eat our souls, disappearing into the blackness forever.
For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/HoodedMenace/
To buy the album, go here (North America): https://shopusa.season-of-mist.com/
Or here (International): https://shop.season-of-mist.com/
For more on the label, go here: http://www.season-of-mist.com/