Hooded Menace - Effigies of Evil Review
by Matt Hensch
I've always had a soft spot for the slow stuff—who doesn't?—and checking out these guys was an inevitable feat given the universal acclaim that Hooded Menace seems to capture whenever these Finnish warlords leave their droppings. I had seen a lot of folks calling "Effigies of Evil" a vulgar concoction of Autopsy, early Cathedral, and Asphyx (that definition alone caused an involuntary filling of my jeans), so I made the leap into this grotesque void of death/doom metal devastation, hoping for a slaughter. When looking at Hooded Menace, they seem to dwell on just a handful of items: riffs, riffs, riffs, riffs, and more riffs. The utter focus on pounding one's head into dust with a rock is what makes the album fantastic, and they do a wondrous job avoiding many pitfalls a lot of death/doom metal bands fall into; no overt Sabbath fellatio or experimental nonsense here.
Hooded Menace is sort of like the habanero of what they do; standing above a cornucopia of banana peppers which poorly replicate the intensity and honesty of this sort of thing, and the ají dulce sissies attempting to insert misguided emotional tendencies or some whiny nonsense into death/doom metal. "Effigies of Evil" is a total onslaught of maddening grooves and creepy, macabre melodies clawing the surface of Hooded Menace's skull; there's little else attached to the group's execution. Each and every anthem slowly spins on the same axis: recurrent, mortifying riffs which stomp like a horde of giants crushing a village of dwarves groove through ultra-low, guttural vocals and beating percussion. That's the whole package in a nutshell.
Now, it'd be a sad day if Hooded Menace screwed up their authentic slaughter of death/doom metal desecration, yet they have not—far from it if anything. In fact, it's legitimately amazing how Hooded Menace is able to inject so much personality and individualism into so many anthems that otherwise sound very much alike. Hooded Menace's undying ability to create sinful melodies and black-as-night atmospheres through songs that are naturally catchy and enriched is just a vital facet of the group's essence, and the album would certainly lack its bite without the evil hue coloring every corner of the effort. I like "Vortex Macabre" quite a lot—the broiling riffs smolder uncontrollably and they might burn your headphones if you aren't careful.
"Crumbling Insanity" might as well be infused with pheromones from Hell given how addictive it is, and the remaining tunes crush like they're being paid to do so. "Effigies of Evil" has riffs, unrelenting brutality, sinister shades, and a killer collection of death/doom metal fragments which would make many of their forefathers proud. Not only a fantastic introduction to the world of Hooded Menace but also a fine staple of death/doom metal that sounds like butchering madness and somehow manages to appear even better in its real form. "Effigies of Evil" is the real deal, and you haven't been exposed to true heaviness unless you've heard Hooded Menace, no joke.
Hooded Menace - Effigies of Evil
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