Artist: Hooded Menace
Album Title: Fulfill the Curse
Label: Razorback Records
This is the first record from Hooded Menace, a Finnish band playing doom/death metal.
The production on this record is overwhemingly heavy, with tons of crushing guitar and buzzing bass. The vocals are an equally low belch, but they've also got a surprising amount of range, and provide much of the variation here. The drums sound a little bit distant, but are otherwise fine, and I love the crisp cymbal sound.
The songs here are relentlessly mid-paced. Each is built upon repetitive, heavy doom riffs, augmented by tons of clever vocal work and catchy lead guitar parts. This band is excellent at keeping the listener's interest through the use of tempo changes and heavy-metal-influenced solos, yet the swaggering pure doom parts are equally great, and will appeal to those looking for slow and powerful metal. Considering the tempo, there's a lot of variety to be found here: songs like "Fulfill the Curse" and "The Eyeless Horde" exploit repetition and doomy atmosphere to great effect, while others, like "Beauty and the Feast" and "The Love Song of Gotho, Hunchback of the Morgue" are packed with memorable vocal and guitar parts. I also really like the horror-movie theme, and Hooded Menace does a great job of bringing it together through the lyrics, atmosphere, visual presentation, and even the sparing use of samples.
Just about anyone who likes mid-paced metal will enjoy "Fulfill the Curse", but I especially recommend it for fans of traditional doom who also like slow death metal -- if you like both crushing repetitive sections and stuff that sounds like old Candlemass, this ought to be right up your alley. Recommended.
Standout Tracks: "Fulfill the Curse", "Beauty and the Feast", "The Love Song of Gotho, Hunchback of the Morgue"