Hooded Menace - Effigies of Evil (Relapse Records)
By: Mike Sloan
[7.5/10] Hooded Menace is back with their latest release and fans of the Finns should be happy with what they’ve created this time for Effigies of Evil, their third full-length. In typical Hooded Menace fashion, the slow, doomy death metal is in full force as the music takes its sweet ol’ time in sucking the life out of the listener, but in a good way.
Stretched out riffs, slow chords and crawling drums fill Effigies of Evil to its rotten gills but luckily the passages aren’t the horrendous and incredibly boring funeral doom variety that has somehow become all the rage these days. Instead, Hooded Menace employs a style that is a potent concoction of Winter, a tiny bit of Autopsy, vintage Tiamat and pre-Elegy era Amorphis.
Though Hooded Menace tend to create long-winded songs in the range of six minutes-plus, they infuse enough minute nuances here and there to coincide with their simplistic riffs to keep things interesting. The sound is rather cold, like many a Scandinavian band, and the final mix has thankfully kept the instruments lively and somewhat raw. The duo of Lasse Pyykkö and Pekka Koskelo has created a tapestry of bleakness and despair with their art and the overall feel is that of anguish and of something ominous approaching.
Though there isn’t a weak song of the bunch, the better ones are the title track, “In the Dead We Dwell,” “Evoken Vulgarity” and the infectious “Crumbling Insanity” with the absolute standout being the catchy and miserable “Curses Scribed in Gore,” which has a very The Karelian Isthmus-like vibe to it.
The only real drawback is that at times the songs do become a bit long in the tooth after a while and since each song is of the slower variety, tedium sets in slightly toward the end. Effigies of Evil is a solid album, but it’s actually better served in increments. Almost an hour’s worth of doomy death metal can grow tiresome after a while but luckily Hooded Menace usually cut their longer songs off just before they reach the point of exhaustion. Definitely worth checking out if you fancy yourself a fan of this genre of metal; all others should sample a few tracks first before investing.