REVIEW: HOODED MENACE – “The Tritonus Bell”
Finnish multi-instrumentalist and mastermind Lasse Pyykkö is back with the trendy, yet sinister death/doom that made his name in the scene with Hooded Menace. Having been around blowing minds with catacombic riffs, gloomy ethos, and crushing atmosphere since 2007, the band managed to gather a good set of fans and a respectable history so far, and ‘The Tritonus Bell’ is the stalwart to further carve their name into stone.
For those unfamiliar or unaware, think of Asphyx, Coffins, and Runemagick with a few glimpses of Autopsy and a little bit of Candlemass on steroids and you’ll know what to expect from the quartet. As consolidated in past works, the group bets on a riff-based approach to the genre without leaving the cryptic ambience behind, resulting in an always interesting infestation of fathomless weight and somber musicality.
Continuing their tendencies to be funeral-like and powerful at the same time, ‘The Tritonus Bell’ progresses similarly to their previous endeavor ‘Ossuarium Silhouettes Unhallowed’ in the sense that there is a maintenance of a less-varied pace that slowly builds to a climax. As the intro “Chthonic Exordium” paves the way to the opener “Chime Diabolicus”, it’s easy to discern this as the evocative riffing and unorthodox, dark verses fill the speakers and transport you to the rainy depths of the coldest, most sepulchral cemetery.
Still, on the riffs, it’s easy to underrate Pyykkö’s craft due to Hooded Menace being a niche band, but his songwriting style is nothing less than masterful. His rhythms never grasp for a vengeful presence while his way of playing presents an astucious fluctuation, shifting between jagged and haunting. Easy to see clear examples of that throughout the whole record, but more prominently in tracks such as “Those Who Absorb the Night” and “Scattered into Dark”.
The indulgence of a slow and steady tempo, visceral vocalization, and the commitment to ally the classic passages of death metal to the depressiveness and hopelessness of doom – while being a tried-and-true formula – is an even better combination when seen through the eyes of Hooded Menace. As I said before, you will see them waiving to death metal greats such as Autopsy while aiming to solidify what bands like Asphyx and Bolt-Thrower started out so long ago.
Having considered ‘Ossuarium Silhouettes Unhallowed’ their best work to date, I was a little bit apprehensive with the results of the album and my ability to review it, because it’s only natural to trace parallels, compare and judge a band’s work by their legacy, let alone when they had just reached their peak. With the possibility of being underwhelmed I took the task and, unsurprisingly, I was not; while ‘The Tritonus Bell’ is indeed a step-down from its predecessor, the album’s foundation is still built upon Hooded Menace‘s own personality and eagerness, so the final outcome is yet another testimony of the Finns’ capacity to add something meaningful and (why not) influential to the doom/death genre.