|Cover art by Justin Bartlett|
Most fans of underground metal should be familiar with Hooded Menace by now. The cowled Finns have become renowned for their filthy death/doom saturated by cavernous, bone-chilling growls. Those sentiments still apply on latest album, Darkness Drips Forth. However, whereas on previous work Hooded Menace leaned more on the death side, Darkness Drips Forth brings the doom. With four tracks spanning a massive 43 minutes DDF takes a slower path ensuring demise.
The overall sound of Hooded Menace remains intact but the riffs here are much slower for the most part. Funereal even. Of course, it's not all sagging strings and syrupy tempos.
Hooded Menace turn on the melody and pick up the pace more than enough to give the album the dynamics and depth that keeps the band among the genre's elite. It's as melodic as it is crushing and the tempo changes thrust the listener into the heat of destruction and yank them away from the precipice of impending death.
On the whole, DDF feels as grand and stately as we've come to expect. The thick riffs and cascading melodies match the feeling of conquest often felt. Even if the fight is internal. It's that emotional connection that really hits home as well. For all the determined negativity that seeps from their tone and plodding nature, the melodies open things up to encompass despondency, anguish, heartache and hope.
Dread, terror and menace still rule the day. Tar thick doom riffs and bowel-evacuating tone bulldoze beneath those spectral melodies sending shivers down the spine. On DDF the encapsulating darkness is more calculated and instead of chasing the victim down and killing quickly, Hooded Menace stalk their prey and savour their death.
While not a “standard” Hooded Menace album there's nothing here that will turn away long time fans. The ancient ghosts of cold, desolate wastes will still haunt Hooded Menace's cavernous death/doom, mortality will still wither in the face of massive riffs and darkness will still relentlessly drip forth.
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