Band: Hooded Menace
Album: Darkness Drips Forth
Label: Relapse Records
Hooded Menace are a Finnish 4 piece, sitting firmly in the horror infused death/doom region of metal, using the crushing atmosphere and unearthly sounds of the genre fusion to evoke images of the undead, curses and other classic horror iconography. Darkness Drips Forth is the 4th studio album – and 14th piece of material – that Hooded Menace have dropped and with this release they have taken their horror infused sound and slowed it down further, spreading 40 minutes of crushing death/doom over 4 long tracks, and damn does it work out.
Darkness Drips Forth is the culmination of Hooded Menace’s recent trend towards longer and slower tracks, with Blood for the Burning Oath/Dungeons of the Disembodied dragging you into the album’s depths with a bell toll and guitar lead combination before dropping heavy doom laden riffs into your ears, setting the unearthly tone for the rest of the album.
Punctuating the crypt dwelling sounds of Darkness Drips Forth is the inclusion of melodic lead guitar work that accentuates the crushing nature of the rest of the instrumentals by providing a complement, and often creepy one, to such elements. The lead work on Elysium of Dripping Death provides a very sombre and funeral-esque tone often drawing heavy – and positive – focus towards the dirge-like atmosphere and pacing of the low end of the music of this track. Lasse’s vocals remain very consistently at low register growls, more often than not with Lasse dragging out his vocals. The drumming on display does not fall into the pitfall of attempting to slow the pacing down through a minimalist appearance, and the use of fast double kicks and more rapid drumming gives more crushing weight to when they do slow right down. The resulting atmosphere in Darkness… truly reflects the horror given in both album cover and lyrics.
While parts of the 4 tracks do not hold much variation, focusing heavily on creating a seamless 40 minute aural crypt trip, each track contains flourishes of individuality. A large part of the song individuality arises in the particular mood each track has, provided by the way Hooded Menace goes about with the song writing, specifically the pacing and lead work; while Blood/Dungeon has a somewhat aggressive mood to it, Elysium’s atmosphere is much more sombre and melancholic. Ashen with Solemn Decay does a great job at creating its titular dignified decay and hopelessness, and the closing track, Beyond Deserted Flesh seems to combine elements from all three prior tracks.
Ironically while Darkness… is Hooded Menace’s first album to feature such consistently hefty tracks, this album also represents their collectively shortest studio album to date – around 8 minutes shorter than 2012’s Effigies of Evil. This provides a positive towards the album, giving the album room to drag you through its dark depths without overstaying its welcome.
Darkness Drips Forth is an amazing album, creating an intriguing, romantic and almost archaic trip through dark, decaying crypts and flesh. Any fans of Hooded Menace’s previous material should not pass this up, nor should any death/doom fans. A late entry in the year, but one that’s going to be a hefty contender for AOTY.
Check ’em out here: http://hoodedmenace.bandcamp.com/album/darkness-drips-forth