Music

Hooded Menace Stake Their Claim Atop the Death Metal Pantheon with 'Ossuarium Silhouettes Unhallowed'

Publicity photo via Bandcamp

Finnish doom/death overlords Hooded Menace return with Ossuarium Silhouettes Unhallowed which reaffirms their position in today's metal pantheon.

Ossuarium Silhouettes Unhallowed
Hooded Menace

Season of Mist

26 Jan 2018

There was something inherently magical about the doom/death sound of the '90s. It is one of these things that seem so obvious, fusing the weight of doom-laden, Sabbath-ian riffs with the brutality and aggression of early death metal. And thus a great tradition was established that saw one gem after the other, from Morgion's grand Among Majestic Ruin, Winter's monolithic Into Darkness, Anathema's seminal debut Serenades, the list is endless. Not many have been able to follow this lineage, but there are these few that really grasped the essence of the genre. Hooded Menace is one of these examples, and they have been exploring the old-school doom/death since they formed.

Even though the band founded in 2007, it has remained very active when it comes to releases. Four full-length records have been produced, as well as split releases with some of the cream of the crop when it comes to the heavy extreme acts, including bands such as Coffins, Asphyx, Horse Latitudes and Loss. Now, following the release of their 2015 record, Darkness Drips Forth, Hooded Menace return with their fifth record in Ossuarium Silhouettes Unhallowed, and deliver one of their finest moments.

The funereal sound speaks of eras long past, as the band balances perfectly between the colossal doom progression and the guttural death metal aesthetics. It is a punishing process that Hooded Menace initiates, and it works brilliantly in crafting the main themes of the record. On top of this imposing background, the lead work flourishes, covering much ground in the process. Despite following an old-school perspective to their doom/death recipe, the band makes sure the record hits all the right notes. The hellish lead work of the opening track leads to the twisted dissonance of "In Eerie Deliverance", while the crystalline melodies of "Cathedral of Labyrinthine Darkness" delivers a terrifying moment of darkness and despair.

Death metal moments are given their proper due in this monumental procession, as Hooded Menace masterfully fit the faster and more aggressive qualities within the structures. The spirit of both the European and American death metal scenes of the '90s is allowed to shine, as the band pays homage to fellow compatriots Demigod, and of course death metal legends Autopsy. The sorrowful meets the guttural, in an astounding union that feels completely seamless.

The strength of Hooded Menace lies in the songwriting and especially the honesty they display in delivering this sound. Despite not breaking new ground in doom/death, the band produces another stunning release, one that does not stand out simply in the context of their discography. The narrative is clear, the way forth is filled with terror and gloom, and Hooded Menace possess all the tools and knowledge to depict this most darkly and horrifyingly. Through Ossuarium Silhouettes Unhallowed, they make sure to explore all the qualities that have made doom/death such an interesting and enticing genre. The melodies are overwhelming, taking on mournful and melancholic perspectives, while dissonant parts are still visited. The tempo switches between the processional and the more groovy, with the death metal alter ego always just a step away. There simply are not that many bands out there that are capable of writing so good doom/death today.

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