Hooded Menace - Never Cross The Dead
Profound Lore Records
Doom/Death
8 songs (51:23)
Release year: 2010
Profound Lore Records
Reviewed by Goat

Four Finnish guys mixing old-school Death Metal and Doom doesn’t necessary sound like the most exciting of projects, but as Hooded Menace prove here on their second full-length, it’s a recipe for awesomeness. Featuring former Acid Witch man Lasse Pyykkö on guitar, the band manage to balance all their various influences to create an album that’s dark and dank without becoming dull, melodic without being cheesy, and utterly headbangable throughout. Never Cross The Dead knows how to please the listener, as you’ll hear from the opening title track which switches between NWOBHM melodic soloing and downtuned Doom stomp. Like the best My Dying Bride songs, the dynamics are excellent, Hammer Horror-esque tales of undead Knights Templar and the like spat out by Oula Kerkelä in a deep growl (channelling Mikael Åkerfeldt’s Bloodbathian mastery perfectly) whilst the band pound out a heavy Asphyxian dirge, early Paradise Lost as played by reanimated corpses.

True, this is slow Death Metal as opposed to true Doom, but it’s impossible not to recognise the gloomy atmosphere or the ghost of Iommi hanging over some of the riffs. So compelling is the aforementioned title track, so hypnotic in delivery that you only notice it’s eight minutes long when it’s over. As slow and grim as the first part of Night Of The Deathcult is, it kicks into Cathedralesque stomp soon enough, and the melodic soloing on Terror Castle rivals old Arch Enemy, and doesn’t remove from the song’s dread power one iota. You have to praise the compositional skills of Lasse Pyykkö, the man writes some brilliant riffs and makes sure to use plenty of them. Heck, even modern mosh kids will lose their inhibitions and start necksnapping with the best, as there’s enough killer gallop for everyone.

It’s about as close as music can get to the actual experience of exploring a castle with such evil and terrible goings-on. Occasional distant shrieks keep you moving, running from the strange creepy figures stalking the corridors, as strange disembodied voices speak behind doors and your heart slowly fills with dread... Hooded Menace’s music has the same foreboding darkness as their name, and Never Cross The Dead is an album that fans of the Doom/Death style should love.

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Killing Songs :
Never Cross The Dead, Terror Castle, Night Of The Deathcult, As The Creatures Ascend
Goat quoted 84 / 100
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