Hooded Menace
Ossuarium Silhouettes Unhallowed

Finland’s Hooded Menace have been slogging their brand of doom death metal for over a decade now and continue to hone their craft and get stronger with each release. Ossuarium Silhouettes Unhallowed, their 5th full length is such a monstrous release, I do not know where to begin.  Adding more band members seems to add an extra layer of complexity and diversity to their sound.  Harri Kuokkanen, new on vocals, Antti Poutanen on bass guitar and Otso Ukkonen on drums, from Krypts all join guitarists Lasse Pyykkö and Teemu Hannonen and are all ready to rumble.

I have throughly enjoyed all of Hooded Menace’s albums and as doom death goes, presently speaking, no other band does it better.  I would have to say adding Otso on drums has been the biggest improvement, since the band now inject a little, not a lot, but a little speed into their songs and some more mid-paced rumbling.  This is their fastest album to date, but again, don’t go on thinking blast beats.  Just some fast gallops mixed in, which is something the band has really never done before.  Opening up the album, with the longest track, the 10+ minute “Sempiternal Grotesqueries”, wastes no time with going right into a depressing opening guitar melody that really makes you feel hopeless-it’s brilliant.  Harri starts growling, with a deep/gruff, yet understandable delivery.  3 minutes later some of that mid-paced speed comes in and nice double bass drums start collapsing chest cavities and dumping them into pits of despair all over the universe.  The tune brings forth some guitar solos and more mid-paced heaviness,  and the trach ends as it started.  Very strong song to start the album.  Ballsy as well.  Opening albums with super long songs sometimes can be dicey, but Hooded Menace pull it off.

“In Eerie Deliverance” has some wonderful and heavy guitar riffing with nice bottom end bass heaviness right before the minute mark.  Then the fast part at the 1.44 part.  Nice part and the guitar melodies are excellent over this part with some nice anguished and pained growling going on.  Harri’s vocal delivery and tone reminds me of Anathema’s, Darren J. White, from Anathema’s best releases-The Crestfallen and Serenades.  Super killer.  The 4.30 depressing doominess is so killer and I caught some pinch harmonics at the end, which I was going nuts over.  The fast moment comes through again and back to more melody and then the song trails off.  I must mention this is the limited edition version I am reviewing with the Celtic Frost cover, “Sorrows of the Moon”.  Picking my favorite song off Frost’s Into the Pandemonium, was a good choice by Hooded Menace.  When band’s do cover versions, by and large they keep the song intact as it was originally recorded.  While good, I always want to see the band inject their own originality into the song and not just recreate a carbon copy.  Hooded Menace knocks this song out of the ‘effin park, big time. While keeping the original aspect of the song, the doom/death guitar heaviness is blended with the Hooded Menace signature guitar melodies, whereas they craft the song as if they had written it themselves.  The added guitar high harmonic pitch at certain classic Frost moments, again make this sound as if Hooded Menace wrote this song.  The vocals at the end capture the Tom Warrior aspect and I really hope Hooded Menace inject this cover into their live set.  Doubtful I’ll ever see them live, as they live in Finland and I’m in the States, but the fact they even attempted such an amazing classic and obscure Celtic Frost song, must be celebrated.

Ossuarium Silhouettes Unhallowed’s limited edition digipak comes with a nice booklet and I love the album with the hooded bastards, hanging around the waterfall.  The production is excellent and keeps all the elements which make Hooded Menace so great.  Again this is their most adventurous album with the added speed and in some parts more melody than we’re used to with Hooded Menace.  Both of these added elements show Hooded Menace’s ability to get better while continuing to expand their sound.  This shows they are great musicians, but also their ability to want to be around for a long time, by adding these new and great nuances into the Hooded Menace toolbox of death doom. Ossuarium Silhouettes Unhallowed is terrific from start to finish.  Buy or Die!!

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Frank Rini
March 5th, 2018

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