When we hear death/doom metal as a musical genre, to the forefront of our minds comes the classic death/doom from names like ANATHEMA, PARADISE LOST, KATATONIA, and several others great bands. We are very fortunate to be living during a time where we have almost just as many modern names that are able to deliver the same level of material and quality that many of us have grown up with. Sometimes it can easily feel as though there is not much room for innovative or fresh approaches to this style of playing. It all depends on the bands themselves, to make the music feel fresh and diverse. One of those bands is HOODED MENACE. They have already made a name for themselves and in almost 15 years, they have become modern legends. This is their sixth full length album, titled “The Tritonus Bell,” released through Season of Mist on August 1st.
With no intention to slow down and with the air of fresh ideas, “The Tritonus Bell” is an album that will bring listeners and fans of death/doom metal some true refreshment. HOODED MENACE threw more classic ’80s heavy metal into this album, resulting in their most up-tempo release with their trademark death/doom elements.
The album opens with an overture, “Chthonic Exordium,” that is a perfectly fitting mood piece. It begins with dreary guitars with catacombs-like sound, with soaring guitar leads and sampled rain in the background that all combine into a soulful emotive atmosphere. The solo licks played by Lasse Pyykkö are delicate and radiate outward with clean guitar lines alongside pouring rain and rolling thunder, until harsh-sounding chants emerge to announce the next song. “Chime Diabolicus,” a slow and heavy piece, includes palm-muted chugging provided by Lasse Pyykkö, cut-through riffage and the striking rhythms of guitarist Teemu Hannonen, and drummer Pekka Koskelo playing on the cymbals and toms to give the rhythm a very ’80s feel. This is all wrapped up with the vocals of Harri Kuokkanen – a throaty bellowing growl with a demonic shriek, his performance lands like heavy and hell-raising preaching.
The third song and single, “Blood Ornaments,” starts with an intro riff, flirting with moments of washed-out ambience, the double-kick cavalcades of a drummer, and throttled tempo shifts that gallop now in and out with a decidedly headbangy flair. “Those Who Absorb The Night” has a lead solo with a feel like its composition was guided by something serpentine. Lead passages and wavering bends are complemented with growling vocals before pitching into a stomping finale that any ’80s metal band would be proud of. This is all accompanied by soaring harmonies and melodic undercurrents.
“Corpus Asunder” has galloping guitars that lead into Harri Kuokkanen singing with a much more Gothic feel, opening theatricality and with passion, before dropping right back into a morbid roar that echoes alongside galloping guitar riffs. Another long track, “Scattered Into Dark” feels really colossal with all the changing tempos and different riffs that change lead melodies and parts, keeping the song interesting. The variety of different melodic riffs give impressions like small sections of a whole story, connecting all together with one piece: the gentle but muddy growling voice of Harri Kuokkanen.
The last song, “Instruments of Somber Finality,” is an instrumental work that brings everything to a close with a full circle, linking back to the heavy metal inspirations lining the album’s opener.
Overall, the album “The Tritonus Bell” gives something new to the tested and proved style that HOODED MENACE are known for. The mix of the heavy melodic riffs – typically saved for heavy metal – combine with death/doom like bread and butter, while the changing tempos gives a feel of progressiveness. Somehow, they manage to balance these stylistic shifts while also retaining their classic murky sound. HOODED MENACE have figured out how to combine death/doom with catchy riffs that fit them – definitely an album to give a spin.
Written by Peter Jerman
- Chthonic Exordium
- Chime Diabolicus
- Blood Ornaments
- Those who absorb the Night
- Corpus Asunder
- Scattered into Dark
- Instruments of Somber Finality
- The Torture Never Stops – Bonus (W.a.s.p. cover)
Harri Kuokkanen – Vocals
Lasse Pyykkö – Lead and rhythm guitar, bass
Teemu Hannonen – Rhythm guitar
Pekka Koskelo – Drums
Season of Mist