Saturday, October 18, 2008

Hooded Menace - Fulfill the Curse (2008)

I admit I was initially attracted to this release because of the great cover art, the cool name of the band, and the smashingly awesome song titles.

You had me at "Grasp of the Beastwoman". "The Eyeless Horde". "The Love Song of Gotho, Hunchback of the Morgue". Fantastic. The same horror noir appeal that bands like Deceased or Crypticus have preserved over the years.

My attraction quickly evolved upon hearing the record. This is crushing death/doom hybrid of the sort you haven't really heard since the very early days of Amorphis, Tiamat, Tristitia, or other bands who took the purest of classic death metal, slowed it down to a crawl and layered in the subtle melodic lines, elevating it into immortality.

The debut full-length of this Finnish band may very well achieve such a cult status, the songs are seamlessly catchy and really fucking doom. "Labory of Nightmares" grooves with abandon. The utter crawl of "Beauty and the Feast" and "Rotting Rampage" will appeal to your funeral doom fans as well as your classic death sect. "Arcane Epitaph" is perhaps my favorite, almost as if Candlemass got really fucking rugged.

A flawless debut, I dare say a near masterpiece. Classic death and doom metal cut of a rare cloth, it can both crush the fuck out of you and thrill you with its nostalgic horror-soaked lyrics. Acquire at any cost.

Verdict: Epic Win [9/10]

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