Review Summary: Take the crushing riffs of Worship, the brutality of Incantation, the atmosphere of Winter, and mix it with some horror movie themes...and you have one hell of an album from a band named Hooded Menace.
Whenever some people hear the term "death/doom," they may think the so-called originators of the style, such as My Dying Bride any other kind of band of that nature. To be honest, when I was first getting into metal, that is one of the first bands that would've come to mind for me when that term was thrown around. However, as you dig deeper into the genre, you'll realize that it's not all about mixing death and doom metal with gothic elements. On their debut album Fulfill the Curse
, this Finnish band, Hooded Menace, blend together lyrical content about things that would come out of a horror movie with pure, in-your-face, soul-crushing doom metal and the most brutal of all death metal that is a perfect example of how to do death/doom metal right for all the upcoming bands.
First and foremost, if you had to pick one thing that made this album as great as it is, it would have to be the guitar work displayed throughout the entire duration. I mean, from start to finish you're just being absolutely crushed into oblivion by doom metal riffs that are extremely melodic while still managing to sound like some of the most depressing and melancholic riffs you've ever heard on a metal album. Song in and song out, your being pounded further and further into a deep, dark abyss with these riffs. That's pretty much the only way to describe it. With that being said, there are also some mid-paced brutal riffs that wouldn't be out of place on a purely death metal album. You get both ends of the spectrum here on Fulfill the Curse
and both are absolutely perfected. As for the drumming, it's pretty much the same as the guitar playing. What it lacks in technical ability, it completely makes up for in its ability to sound completely and utterly bleak. When you're going for the depressing feeling that Hooded Menace are, you don't need to have technical ability to get your point across and they prove that right here. As for the vocals, they're pure death metal growls. No kind of clean or happy sounding vocals on this one. They're very guttural, but are still pretty understandable. Nothing really out of the ordinary for death metal, but they're extremely well done.
The production of this album is absolutely perfect for this kind of music. It's not completely clean and there is a little bit of a "buzzing" sound, but it compliments the music so well. Nothing is too high or low in the mix and everything can be heard perfectly, which adds to the crushing atmosphere that the album is trying to get across. You just get an extremely empty and evil feeling when listening to this album and the production on the instruments is a big reason why it's able to convey that. It's like your stuck right in the middle of a horrible nightmare and Satan is taking over your soul and there's absolutely nothing you can do to stop it. May sound terrifying to some, but that's exactly how it should feel. If you get that feeling, then Hooded Menace have done their job.
To put it quite simply, death/doom metal has never sounded this good. There have been plenty of knockoff attempts to perfect the genre and recreate the greatness of other death/doom bands such as Winter, but nobody has pulled it off as well as Hooded Menace have on their debut album. This band is going to be around for quite a long time and they are definitely are a force to be reckoned with. People who listen to so-called death/doom bands like My Dying Bride need to listen to this album immediately and have their perspective changed. No female vocals, no violins, just pure face-melting doom metal.