Review: Hooded Menace “The Tritonus Bell” [Season of Mist]

Review: Hooded Menace “The Tritonus Bell” [Season of Mist]

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Score 85%
The Finns want to rock!
85 %
User Rating : 0 (0 votes)

Nowadays the fear of your favorite doom/death metal band turning into a gothic rock act is clearly irrational, as plenty of doom/death metal bands have been striving to evolve instead of abandoning their harsh origins. Hooded Menace have experimented with several sub-flavors that made each of their records sound distinctive and The Tritonus Bell highlights a new chapter for this band; as Hooded Menace have taken a step towards the realm of heavy metal itself.

Fear not, for the band’s identity remains intact. You’ll still recognize the one dimensional growls of the hidden monster that perhaps could be lurking around the corner, while evocative leads both soar with melancholy and shred with class – depending on which section you’re encountering. The guitar riffs continue to stomp and slither, but mostly notable are the lack of massive tremolo-shots that have now been replaced by some axe-swinging rhythms that cause a pleasant contrast between the most skin-crawling moments. All things considered, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that The Tritonus Bell functions as the most accessible record of Hooded Menace album so far. The production is nuanced: never allowing instrument to overwhelm the senses, even if that doesn’t stop the band from delivering the doom-tastic goods, yet from a dynamical standpoint, the album rarely turns into a slug. ‘Those Who Absorb the Night’ is the only exception to the rule that sounds like a stinking leftover from Ossuarium Silhouettes Unhallowed. It’s too much of a slow-pounder that features more emphasis on easy-going leads than engaging riffs and even considering its length, I could have done with some more interesting riffs to pound my skull in.

The rest doesn’t mess around and shows how Hooded Menace has evolved from the melancholic, yet groove-laden Ossuarium Silhouettes Unhallowed. ‘Chime Diabolicus’ features a variety of ingredients and sub-chapters; to a point that it almost resembles Paradise Lost’s ‘Pity the Sadness’ (although far better executed). It kicks off with a punchy riff that could have easily appeared on Trouble’s Psalm 9, only to become even more thrilling with some vibrant leads scattered around and eventually slows down to a doom-driven pace and back again. ‘Blood Ornaments’ introduces the unthinkable; as it’s clearly inspired by King Diamond’s swinging riffing fused with a good dose of cave-dwelling doom and as bizarre as it sounds, it makes far more sense to the ears than it does to the eyes. Indeed, it quickly becomes clear that years of experience has taught Hooded Menace about writing engaging songs, but what a fucking superb track it is. The near-nine minute long tune never turns dull in the slightest and whether you’re in the mood to rock out in a horn-throwing manner or prefer to feel melancholic… this track should satisfy either needs. I should also admit that ‘Corpus Asunder’ has to be one of the most exciting tunes that I’ve heard on any recent doom/death metal album; as its range of motion varies from steamrolling riffs that faithfully scream heavy metal to a sentimental crush that you’ve come to expect from this band by now.

Although I had expected Hooded Menace to step up their game after Ossuarium Silhouettes Unhallowed, an album that’s just as worthy works well enough to me. I still yearn for a slightly more convincing vocal attack during slowest moments of the record, but given the band’s interest in rocking out more, that’s hardly something worth criticizing about. Hooded Menace has proven that they’re capable of expanding their character with grace and you can bet that I’ll enjoy The Tritonus Bell many times over until the next chapter unfolds.

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