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Hooded Menace - "Effigies of Evil" (CD)

Hooded Menace - "Effigies of Evil" CD cover image

"Effigies of Evil" track listing:

1. Vortex Macabre (10:27)
2. Effigies Of Evil (5:36)
3. In The Dead We Dwell (7:50)
4. Curses Scribed In Gore (6:15)
5. Crumbling Insanity (6:32)
6. Summoned Into Euphoric Madness (5:43)
7. Evoken Vulgarity (6:48)
8. Retribution In Eternity (1:45)

Reviewed by on September 27, 2012

"An album this claustrophobic and bound by the laws of the dead could be unwelcoming, but 'Effigies Of Evil' overcomes any adversity due in large part to the tenacity of Hooded Menace."

Finland’s Hooded Menace has been trudging along with a new release every two years since 2008’s “Fulfill The Curse.” Each album sees the band incorporating the chills of traditional doom metal with the thrills and horrors of early ‘90s death metal a la Winter and Autopsy. “Effigies Of Evil” is the best amalgamation of both styles to date from Hooded Menace. A new label, Relapse Records, has done nothing to siphon the horrific atmospheres and suffocating music, like being trapped in a coffin as it is lowered six feet below ground.

Winter was mentioned in the last paragraph, and those who have been wise enough to track down “Into Darkness” will know the kind of hopeless diatribes Hooded Menace gets into. There is much more of that doom metal pacing than the faster death metal-cued assault newcomers may expect from a death/doom band. “Curses Scribed In Gore” goes straight for the death kill, though making sure to integrate crushing heaviness when appropriate.

Hooded Menace knows how to toy with a listener’s expectations, making them suffer for their pleasure. Every nerve in one’s body will scream for the band to pick up the speed; to extend that wicked riff for just one more minute. Instead, the band sticks to what they have been doing so well for the past two albums: excruciating doom with bouts of vile rage. Songs like “Crumbling Insanity” and “In The Dead We Dwell” engage in this dance of temptation with the fluid nature of a professional tango dancer.

Brevity is not in Hooded Menace’s DNA, as the band maintains a grim-natured state of mind. The only source of any substantial melody is in the controlled pace midway through “Evoken Vulgarity,” where the guitar puts on an ear-friendly front that was previously heard on the gripping opener “Vortex Macabre.” This ten-minute juggernaut has an air of anticipation to it, as the band builds up the necessary tempos to lead to the inevitable blowing-up point at the three-and-a-half minute mark.

“Vortex Macabre” is in the vein of the title track from previous album “Never Cross The Dead,” throwing the most elaborate track right at the top of the card. Each song has a suitable amount of grand measures behind it, as the band doesn’t like to keep things to-the-point. For the most part, that isn’t much of a complaint, though “Vortex Macabre” has an awkward pause in the middle, when a lone clean guitar disrupts the flow of the song. The band uses samples on a few tracks, which enhance the album’s dreadful mood.

Though “Effigies Of Evil” could be mistaken for an album from the ‘90s, it feels relevant today because of how resourceful the songs are. The band has given fans no reason to worry that a slightly bigger label would affect the music, and metal heads that love a hint of death metal in their doom will be left appeased by Hooded Menace’s third album. An album this claustrophobic and bound by the laws of the dead could be unwelcoming, but “Effigies Of Evil” overcomes any adversity due in large part to the tenacity of Hooded Menace.

Highs: Great mix of doom and death metal, crypt-like atmosphere, chilling growls and screams

Lows: Some awkward transitions, occasional moments that drag

Bottom line: Hooded Menace continue to excel in the death/doom sub-genre with their third album "Effigies Of Evil"

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)