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2018-02-08

HOODED MENACE - Ossuarium Silhoettes Unhallowed

Forgotten moments of metal greatness:

The silhouette of doom death to come.


Remember that instance during the golden age of death metal in the early nineties, when shortly after the release of Paradise Lost's "Gothic" and Autopy's "Mental Funeral" members of both bands joined forces with their labelmates My Dying Bride and that new finnish group Amorphis?
Since they didn't want to distract the scene too much from the activities of their main bands they chose to remain anonymous, thus the project name Hooded Menace, referrering to the mysterious "Watchmen" character Hooded Justice.

They recorded a whole album, but after its completion the struggles began: at first Autopsy wasn't happy with the mix, because the production wasn't muddy and low-fi enough, and after some back and forth they backed out.
Meanwhile Paradise Lost had left Peaceville and released "Shades Of God" on Music For Nations, who then were unwilling to release the "super group" album, since they didn't want to clash with the release of "Icon". Peaceville agreed to postpone it further, because they wanted to emphasize My Dying Bride's "Turn Loose The Swans"
It was already 1994 then, when Relapse Records stepped on the brakes because they didn't want the album to compete with "Tales From The Thousand Lakes".

Long story short: In the end the release was dragged on and on, until finally all involved just didn't feel it anymore and decided that the momentum was gone.

So how on earth is it that now, almost twenty-five years later, Season Of Mist got their hands on the recordings? Well, that's quite a long story which involves a chase through the dungeons of a doom cultists' temple hidden in the Ural Mountains, almost drowning in an undergound sulphur river and several other incidents worthwhile, but unfortunately a little to complicated to be told here.

And then there's of course the other problem - you called it! - that almost everything I've written so far about "Ossuarium Silhoettes Unhallowed" is bullshit.


HOODED MENACE - Ossuarium Silhoettes Unhallowed (CD) (2018)

At least the names I dropped are not random. Originally coming from a bleaker, even sludgier side of doom death (think of Asphyx or Winter) the finnish band has clearly incorporated more "gothic" and some traditional heavy metal guitar work and harmonies into their sound and full-on thrown itself into the particular spot of death metal history described above.

Not only is the overall tone of "Ossuarium Silhouettes Unhallowed" reminiscent of that style and era, but also a lot of details. Be it the lyrics, which are mostly reduced to rudimentary lines to avoid "normal" words which don't sound a hundred percent  like death metal, be it the female spoken words part of "In Eerie Deliverance", the short instrumental outro track "Black Moss" or the cover version of Celtic Frost's "Sorrows Of The Moon" (bonus track of the first CD pressing) - Hooded Menace are heavily checking boxes everywhere.

And damn, they are doing it good!

So in a way this is indeed a nostalgic retro feel-good/feel-sad album. But first of all this is just a sick, very rich and gripping, flawlessly performed work of death metal, which can stand just as successfully today as it surely would have against the genre classics in their time.

The production, helmed by the same guy who recorded and mixed the most recent two back-to-death metal albums of Paradise Lost, leaves nothing to be desired, either.
Consequently I can only give you my full recommandation for "Ossuarium Silhoetees Unhallowed".

And that's no bullshit, I swear.





Highlights: Cathedral Of Labyrinthine Darkness, Charnel Reflections, Sempiternal Grotesqueries



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