Hooded Menace – “Darkness Drips Forth” (Relapse Records)
Taking their name from a Spanish horror flick where undead, eyeless Templar knights rode on horseback and drank the blood of their victims, this Finnish doom death band’s somewhat more abstract and sophisticated break away from the cookie cutter genre mold has seen them increasingly regarded to what is now their 3rd album release. While keeping to a concept of ultra heavy music graced by spell bounding melancholic melodies, Hooded Menace seem to intentionally shift from a fixed style, with this album being their slowest and heaviest, centered around 4 colossal tracks – each around 10 minutes a piece! From founder guitarist vocalist Lasse Pyykkö’s haunting rasps and primordial roars to Teemu Hannonen‘s filthy rhythm guitar, together they create a density of monster riffs along with some of the most somber melodies this side of death, ably backed by the guttural bass of Markus Makkonen and Pekka Koskelo’s hammer smashing drums. Pyykkö‘s talent for composition shouldn’t be understated, these are masterpieces that twist and turn malevolently presenting new angles without becoming unduly repetitious – all the while being consistent in their crushing capability! Deliberate and unhurried in their atmospheric mood, bask in the suffocating horror of mammoths like ‘Elysium of Dripping Death‘, ‘Ashen With Solemn Decay‘ and the bloody brutality of ‘Beyond Deserted Flesh‘ – it’s like staring at your own funeral from inside your grave! This time opting to record in England with Chris Fielding (Napalm Death, Electric Wizard), “Darkness Drips Forth” has a sound to match, big and oozing with death almost dripping over you as everything veers slowly, but inevitably towards its natural end.