Imagine if Cathedral had not gone all hippie after the release of their magnificent debut album. What would they have sounded like? Well, chances are that they might have sounded like the Finnish doom metal act Hooded Menace do on Effigies of Evil.
Effigies of Evil features the same type of slow and oppressive doo metal music heard on Forest of Equilibrium. And, yes, the Cathedral influence definitely seems ubiquituous on Hooded Menace's latest effort. However, the Finns do add their very own twist on the genre that was resurrected and redefined by Cathedral back in the early 90s, combining traditional doom metal with a slight touch of 70s psychedelia and an overarching death metal attitude.
Thus, Effigies of Evil features some of the most crushing doom metal riffs known to mankind, but these are combines with a very melodic approach to the use of two guitars. More often than not do Hooded Menace make use of harmonic twin guitars, and, on the whole, melodic guitar leads constitute the defining feature of this album. Into the mix, Hooded Menace pour a good dose of 70s groove and a pinch of psychedelia, without their music ever tilting over into stoner metal territory.
On the musical side, Effigies of Evil is defintiely one of the finest doom metal albums to see the light of day since Cathedral's debut, and, if you like haunting slow and depressive music, then look no further. The only aspect of the album that does not appeal to me personally is the use of gutturally growled death metal vocals. Then again, after a handful of listens, my ears have at least been attuned towards the vocals, but I still have not learned to fully appreciate growls in doom metal, so, essentially that's my own problem. Also, given that Hooded Menace's lyrical universe evolves around horror, the growls might actually not be that misplaced after all. I am sure that most metalheads will totally dig the guttural growls on this album.
Fans of doom metal – and especially death-doom and, even more so, fans of Cathedral's debut album – must not miss out on the depressive and haunting, darkly melodic doom metal that Hooded Menace offer up on Effigies of Evil.
1. Vortex Macabre
2. Effigies of Evil
3. In the Dead We Dwell
4. Curses Scribed in Gore
5. Crumbling Insanity
6. Summoned into Euphoric Madness
7. Evoken Vulgarity
8. Retribution in Eternity