SummaryDennis the Hooded Menace
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Although Hooded Menace managed to keep the doom/death metal spirit alive while evolving at the same time, this band hasn’t always interested me as much as they do nowadays. Indeed, over a decade ago this band had yet to embrace light as much as they embraces shades and while that’s not necessarily a bad thing, I never understood the praise that Fulfill the Curse received.
Don’t get me wrong, the horror themes are appealing and the lyrics, while simplistic, make a fine read. The song titles and even the artwork itself are promising. Musically speaking, influences range from Black Sabbath, Candlemass, Cathedral and more, so Fulfill the Curse clearly should be a good record. Unfortunately, there’s nothing suspenseful or dramatic about it and while it is well played, my reactions to it are extremely mild. Never do I feel like I’m about to meet an unfortunate fate. Rarely does the record cause any positive physical effects, unless you consider a slight head bobbing movement to be a sign of pleasure. It’s not like the band isn’t trying, as the guitars crawl, provide a swinging groove and trudge along, while inhumane, if unconvincing barks howl over the compositions, yet Fulfill the Curse serves as a reminder of better bands. Yes, the grooves of “Beauty and the Feast” remind me a lot of Runemagick, but they rather gets me in the mood for that band instead. Certainly, “Laboratory of Nightmares” has a kicking Candlemass-esque riff verse, but in between you end up with a few lifeless riffs that could put me to sleep.
It also doesn’t help that the majority of these compositions feel longer than they actually are and that’s never a good sign. Given how Hooded Menace do refrain from the slow-is-more approach, you’d think that these songs would be over in no time, but that’s not how I experience Fulfill the Curse. Perhaps this would have been forgiven, if only you’d end up with several proper tunes here and there, but alas that’s not the case. Most of the time certain sections manage to stand out, but that’s obviously not enough. “Arcane Epitaph” rides on a bulldozer of a riff, but only does so halfway through. Until then, and then again until the ending refrain, you end up with some seriously sluggish riffs that appear to be as stiff as a zombie. “The Eyeless Horde” at least ends up somewhat memorable due to the catchier lead riffs appearing between the been-there-done-that doom riffs, but that’s about it. If anything, “The Love Song of Gotho, Hunchback of the Morgue” is the clear highlight of Fulfill the Curse, as it owes a lot to a stomping Celtic Frost riff that injects some life into the song and right away, it’s as if I get a flashback of Paradise Lost’s Gothic. It also helps that the following series of riffs sound far more vibrant than anything else here, even if you end up with a brief chugging section in between.
While Fulfill the Curse would work well as some decent background music, Hooded Menace have proven that they’re capable of so much more and if you think that the vocals will inject some life into these compositions, you better think again. Lasse Pyykkö’s barks are as one dimensional as they get it and while the same could be said about Hooded Menace’s recent works, they at least manage to sound outstanding. Fulfill the Curse does not.
Release date: October 1st, 2008
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