Well, Lasse Pyykko and his band of merry noose-knotters are at it again. Wisely removing themselves from the utter dreck that was 2020, HOODED MENACE return to ring The Tritonus Bell, and, in turn, our ears…we hope.

For the first time since 2008 debut, Fulfill The Curse, the time between full-lengths hasn’t been stop-gapped by at least one EP or split, leading one to believe that ol’ HM really did pour everything it had into the cauldron, churned it up with a femur, added one eye of defrocked priest, one hymen of promiscuous nun, the blood of a somewhat perturbed nanny goat, and tales of corpses unbound by the grave to craft its newest.

While I normally cringe at intro tracks, with a few bands, such as our hooded gents, ACID WITCH, early CANDLEMASS, you want that feeling of impending dread. ‘Chime Diabolicus’ leads the charge, Pyykko and [Teemu] Hannonen riffing like determined demons over the rhythm section at times, collapsing into Iommian sensibilities at others, the mark of HM thus far in its path through the catacombs. Bits of PHLEGETHON flow to the forefront at the start of ‘Blood Ornaments’, but I confess, opening with two 8+ minute songs is a bit tiring. Myself, I’d have flipped ‘Blood Ornaments’ and the crestfallen melancholy of ‘Those Who Absorb The Night’, if only to make the former’s opening chops stand out even more.

‘Corpus Asunder’ stands as the near-fulcrum of the album, Harri Kuokkanen’s gutter-mining esophageal gurglings alternating with despairing wails, cementing his role as vocalist here on his second album with the band. ‘Instruments Of Somber Finality’ tolls the last for The Tritonus Bell proper, an end wordless, befitting the coming quiet of the grave for us all. As we turn to leave the cemetery, one decayed, grimed hand rises from the ground, middle digit high in the form of WASP cover, ‘The Torture Never Stops’. It’s doubtful HOODED MENACE will, either.
A solid “enough” effort, but lacking an undefinable something, and that bothers me.
Review By: Lord Randall

Season Of Mist
2.5 / 6