Doom/Death Metal from Finland. Their second album from 2010.
Lasse Pyykkö has by now proven himself more than once, he is a single individual involving himself in a number of old school revival projects, many of which are teeming with quality. Listening again now to “Never Cross The Dead” it is difficult not to think of Pyykkö as the very best of his breed, because Hooded Menace is most likely the best of these revival works which channel the crushing sounds of 90’s forebears into a tidier, modern mortuary of goddamn Death and Doom.
“Fulfill the Curse” was a fairly amazing album when it was released in 2008, but Lasse appears to have surpassed that record with a more melodic effort that maintains all of the rigors and even manages to inject a stronger feel of creativity into a few of the riffs. To take a long stagnant genre like Death/Doom and not only invigorate it, but make it fun to listen to is no simple feat, but we have learned not to bite the the hand that feeds, especially when its gouging us on a sound we have rarely enjoyed in many years.
It is all here: the crushing force of bands like Asphyx or Runemagick in their most doomed of days, with a dash of the even earlier charisma of Autopsy, or My Dying Bride and Paradise Lost at their most loathsome, ichor bleeding hearts. But “Never Cross the Dead” does not just end there. It is not merely a tribute. The band have sharpened their scalpels and dissected precisely what makes each one of these songs effective, and honed each of the seven original compositions here into a perfect, solemn force spinning tales of morbid, classic horror. Rarely did an album flow with such determination, and we can hardly think of a single riff across the first 48 minutes which does not seriously kick ass. “Rituals of Mortal Cremation” crushes with its huge, haunted melodic lamentations, and the “The House of Hammer” carves an epitaph into the tomb of the beloved film institution.
Unlike many albums of its type, however, “Never Cross the Dead” does not simply settle for slower, boring material through its entirely, very often picking up to a rousing mid paced crushing rhythm (as in “Never Cross the Dead” or “Night of the Deathcult”) that induces immediate headbanging alongside Lasse’s masterful, massive grinding vocals. He has got to be one of the most consistent vocalists of this genre. Despite a lack of real range, each line is delivered with enough inflection to taunt the listener away from the sterile monotony of the average growler. One could have thought himself tired of this style after “Fulfill the Curse” had Hooded Menace simply decided to phone in a sequel, but it is clear a great care has been placed into just about every festering, necrotic second of this record. It is one of the best albums in this genre ever, and well worth the investment whether you are an old hand at the cemetery or you have just started digging up graves.