Ossuarium Silhouettes Unhallowed (Season of Mist)
By Mike Delano
Judged by their name alone, you might think Finland’s Hooded Menace trades in the kind of dark murder fantasies that you’d find on a Cannibal Corpse album or the albums of many, many other death metal bands. But that’s not their thing, and the cover art for their fifth album, Ossuarium Silhouettes Unhallowed, gives a big hint as to what they’re about. It looks similar to the cover art of Amorphis’ iconic Tales from the Thousand Lakes (creepy, running water, close enough), and sure enough, Hooded Menace’s polished death/doom takes a few cues from their fellow Finns, although with a much greater emphasis on the doom. The band has no problem sprinkling in some melody throughout these 40 minutes of crushing doom, nor does it mind switching up the tempo to avoid venturing into drone territory. It’s never about being the heaviest or the doomiest — instead, throughout the album there’s an overall sense of careful consideration. Everything is in its right place on the 11-minute opener “Sempiternal Grotesqueries,” from the grand riff intro to the creeping doom crater midway through to the galloping outro that leads right back to the opening riff. But even though Ossuarium Silhouettes Unhallowed seems a little more thoughtful than your average doom record, and there’s a hopeful guitar solo near the end of “Charnel Reflections” where you might think the album is gonna end with some light at the end of the tunnel, keep in mind that this is still a death/doom record through and through. Rest assured that by the closing notes of “Black Moss” you’ll feel suitably torn asunder and buried alive, with the grime under your fingernails to prove it.