Hooded Menace – Labyrinth of Carrion Breeze
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Considering the metal tribe’s general fascination with horror imagery, it’s a pity that Finnish death doom band Hooded Menace aren’t better known. The band’s been around since 2007, and made their Relapse debut in 2012 with a full-length called Effigies of Evil. Now, they seem to have shunned the big time in favor of releasing a two-song EP, Labyrinth of Carrion Breeze, on Czech label Doomentia Records. Labyrinth of Carrion Breeze also introduces a new lineup that includes guitarist Teemu Hannonen, who used to play with vocalist/guitarist Lasse Pykkö in Phlegethon in the ’90s.
Hooded Menace’s hallmark is slow and low — thick, oppressive doom with dank, dark basement riffs and even darker strangled growls from Pykkö. Slow and low, but still somehow riffy enough that you’re pulled along rather than left to float. The band has never been exactly prolific. Their three full-lengths are all relatively short, with under 10 tracks apiece; they've also released a handful of split recordings and a couple of EPs, like this one, with only two songs. But the songs that you do get are well-formed and inclusive of all that Hooded Menace wants to share. I say “wants” because I get the impression that if they weren’t so intent on being “that horror band” they could do much more, but taking them at face value, they certainly are good at combining horror and death in an elegiac way that other horror bands like Autopsy and Engorged don’t want to do.
“Chasm of the Wraith” offers chants and moans sampled from a vintage horror movie called Cry Of The Banshee. From the mournful guitar and slow pace, the band seems to be mentally prepping for their planned upcoming split with Loss. “The Creeping Flesh,” also a movie reference, is more immediately pummeling, with a double kick drum assault. These two songs, and the band’s approach in general, leave nuance for other bands and instead focus on the death crush of riffs and heaviness, with a colorful touch of the macabre.
At this point, Labyrinth of Carrion Breeze is available only on vinyl, though the band says on their Facebook page that these two songs will be a included on a compilation CD to be released in the second half of 2014.
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