Fulfill The Curse
posted on 11/2008 By:
The extreme metal scene of Finland may not be as fecund as that of neighboring Sweden but it does seem to produce acts of exceedingly high quality, such as Amorphis, Demigod, Demilich and Impaled Nazarene, to name a few. Hooded Menace continue the tradition of quality Finish metal with their debut CD Fulfill the Curse, an unholy creeping horror of a doom metal record.
Hooded Menace play the sort of torturously slow, crushingly heavy doom popularized by early nineties bands like Winter and Cathedral (circa Forest of Equilibrium). This style of crawling doom is well suited to the band's horror movie motif which is evidenced by song titles like “Rotting Rampage (Menace of the Skeletal Dead),” “The Eyeless Horde” and “The Love Song of Gotha, Hunchback of the Morgue” and the various samples of screams, creepy noises and demented monologue interspersed between the songs. The sepulchral, death metal styled vocals further augment the eldritch atmosphere.
Musically, Hooded Menace is surprisingly melodic; the band often employs mournful single note riffs that are reminiscent of Candlemass, (if Candlemass overdosed on Quaaludes). The lead guitar is also quite integral to the band’s sound, adding complementary melodic themes to the underlying rhythms as in “Grasp of the Beastwoman” and the infectious dual lead line in “The Eyeless Horde,” and brief but memorable accent phrases, such as the six note lick during the main riff of “Beauty and the Feast”. The band's penchant for melody is brought entirely to the fore in the closing track, “The Theme from Manhattan Baby,” a majestic dirge with a soaring theme that borders on transcendent. However, while melody is prominent, the band spends no small amount of time bombarding the listener with megalithic power chords, and though the songs never approach a tempo anywhere near fast, there is plenty of mid-paced trudging to get one’s head a-banging, the galloping “Children of the Grave” riff in “The Love Song of Gotha” being a prime example of such.
Fulfill the Curse is not an easy listen; at forty eight minutes, the album's massive, unrelenting wall of sound and snail-like pacing may overwhelm the casual listener and the compositional subtleties may go unnoticed. However, for those willing to give the album the attention it deserves, it is a rewarding listening experience.
Hooded Menace manages to combine dark beauty and macabre menace in a compelling manner, refreshingly devoid of any gothic trappings. If you like your doom metal slow, heavy and horrifying, then by all means, get this album and Fulfill the Curse.
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