Hooded Menace – Ossuarium Silhouettes Unhallowed

    Falling into the category of bands with names that really aren’t as scary as they probably think they are, Finland’s Hooded Menace may sound like a Hanna-Barbera cartoon villain with gnarled fingers and a sinister laugh who hangs around creepy looking abandoned fairgrounds, but their music is the embodiment of shit-your-pants scary Death/Doom Metal.

    With crushingly slow bone-crunching riffs, maggot-infested solos, and the rasping, dripping vocals of the recently deceased, the band’s horrific fifth full-length album, Ossuarium Silhouettes Unhallowed (Season of Mist) crawls inexorably out of the fetid, rain-soaked earth, eager to feast on helpless victims with ghoulish delight.

    For forty all-too-brief minutes, Hooded Menace keeps a vice-like grip on the listener’s attention. Passages of dismal beauty suddenly transform into hideous portals to Hell, never giving slowly unraveling minds the chance to wander. A classic, gothic black and white ghost story one moment, a subtlety-free, blood-drenched video nasty the next.

    The ten-minute monolithic opener, ‘Sempiternal Grotesqueries’ begins the mesmeric, serpentine tour of the underworld, the song, like the whole album, taking many different forms as it progresses. ‘In Eerie Deliverance’ follows, almost like a sequel until a haunting, ghostly female voice hanging in the ether leads you by the hand into a different dimension entirely.

    If Ossuarium… features one song title which encapsulates the mood of the record perfectly, then it surely has to be ‘Cathedral of Labyrinthine Darkness’ with its Morbid Angel-esque riffing and oppressive atmosphere. Frontman Lasse Pyykkö‘s tortured guttural vocals herald the entrance of the mournful but occasionally savage ‘Cascade of Ashes’, while ‘Charnel Reflections’ begins in an almost dreamlike manner before continuing to pound slowly at your sanity like some unrelenting eldritch nightmare, while even managing to incorporate a riff obviously inspired by Iron Maiden without it sounding out of place.

    The rusted and cobwebbed gates to this ethereal, yet densely claustrophobic netherworld are eventually closed shut with the short instrumental piece, ‘Black Moss’. But fear not. These gates are not closed forever. They remain unlocked and willing for anyone brave enough to enter once more. And you will want to, even if it changes you forever…




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