Album Review: Hooded Menace – “Ossuarium Silhouettes Unhallowed”

Label: Season of Mist

Release Date: January 26, 2018


A subterranean lair, lit by dying sunlight shimmering on a pool of black water. Hooded Menace guitarist Lasse Pyykkö admires a mosaic of saffron bones lining the cavern walls. He spots a black cord stretched from the muck, and plugs in his guitar. A supernatural riff shakes tarantulas from the sockets of ornamental skulls as three shrouded specters emerge from the depths.

From their Eyeless Horde demo’s first thunder crash of distortion, Hooded Menace paired death/doom with cinematic gloom. Now on their fifth LP, Ossuarium Silhouettes Unhallowed lives somewhere in the candelabra-lit corridor between Paradise Lost’s Lost Paradise and landmark Gothic.

Monolithic opener “Sempiternal Grotesqueries” introduces a band more interested in cobwebbed atmosphere than decaying Templar knights. While Hooded Menace’s lyrics are no stranger to bloodthirst barons and Tomb of the Blind Dead worship, there’s a despondent dread carried by Pyykkö’s crestfallen riffs and Harri Kuokkanen’s tomb-shattering growls. In “Cascade of Ashes,” anger and melancholia feed off the same remains. Funeral doom is still the foundation of Ossuarium Silhouettes Unhallowed, and the album’s dominant tempo is an agonized crawl. But from the rumbling passages of “Charnel Reflection” down to the clean guitar in the record’s last breath, it’s a record in which each song feels painstakingly conceived. Patience has never been an issue for Hooded Menace; the average song duration of 2015’s Darkness Drips Forth was over 10 minutes. But Ossuarium Silhouettes Unhallowed isn’t content with riding a riff to the grave.

After the riffs fade into the cavern’s ancient silence, the shrouded specters turn and watch Pyykkö, a hoodie casting shadows over his eyes. In unison, they nod in approval. Fade to black.