Hooded Menace – Effigies of Evil
“Effigies of Evil” is the third album from Finnish death-doom band Hooded Menace. I have been waiting since September to slip this into the rotation somewhere, and the time has finally arrived. I receive so much submitted music these days that I can hardly manage to slip in something that I picked up myself, but I just had to talk about this album.
Hooded Menace is probably the epitome of where my musical tastes lay at this moment. The music is fairly doom in nature, though oftentimes a bit faster than one would think for doom. Even when the songs are quick the riffing is still very much doom in execution if not pacing. The vocals are harsh and have a deep from-the-crypt sound like funeral doom, which combined with the music makes for an uber-heavy album.
Sometimes the ultra-slow pace of funeral doom is just what I need, but other times I want a little more weight behind the riffs, which can only be achieved through an increased tempo. I love how Hooded Menace makes music which is so abominably heavy, yet I can still bang my head to it.
This is also one of those situations where clean vocals just do not seem like they could ever be appropriate. These harsh vocals are so monstrous, that anything clean seems like it would not only break the mood, but would probably get swallowed up by the all-encompassing power of the dark.
The production sounds very well done, particularly for this style. The drums have a nice punch to them and the guitars have a beautiful distortion tone. The vocals (and everything else) are mixed perfectly. There just isn’t a single thing about this album that I do not adore.
Prepare for despair. Check out the track “Evoken Vulgarity.”
Mare Cognitum – An Extraconscious Lucidity
Mare Cognitum is a one-man atmospheric black metal project from California, and “An Extraconscious Lucidity” is the second album. All music and vocals are performed by Jacob Buczarski.
The first few minutes of the album are atmospheric instrumental work, with the metal aspect kicking in around four minutes. These songs make use of a fairly traditional atmospheric black metal sound, but I consider the execution to be well above average.
I often complain about bands that use the label “atmospheric” as a crutch for the fact that they just have terrible production. I do not get that impression with Mare Cognitum; I feel like this production is a conscious effort to create a layer of ethereal despair that drapes over the rest of the music. I believe this mostly because the music otherwise sounds very competently produced. The only thing that irks me a little is the fact that the vocals are so amorphous (\m/) and unintelligible. The music comes across pretty clearly, so for the vocals to be so useless is kind of a bummer. On the bright side, err, less dark side anyway, the music is good enough to carry the album for me. Working on clearer vocals could push this project up to a whole new level.
Here is the track “Pulses in Extraconscious Lucidity.”
Klone – The Dreamer’s Hideaway
Klone is a groove metal band from France and “The Dreamer’s Hideaway” is their fourth album.
I am not entirely sure what I was expecting from Klone, but it definitely was not what I got. I mean that in a good way. I was probably expecting some sort of weak industrial death metal or something with a mediocre production, but as it turns out, the production and songs both come across pretty strong.
I cannot immediately think of anyone to compare to Klone (a clone of Klone if you will.) After the previous two albums today this one has a decidedly brighter outlook. Rather than spewing death and destruction, “The Dreamer’s Hideaway” actually has a hopeful air about it.
The music has a heavy and punchy low-end, while the vocals are clean and melodic. This almost sounds like an alternative album that accidentally went too heavy. It is definitely more mainstream sounding than I am used to listening to these days. Despite this I am rather enjoying the album.
Check these guys out. Here is the track “Rocket Smoke.”
Schizoid – The Next Extreme
Schizoid is an extreme metal project from Canada, and “The Next Extreme” is the eighth full-length album. Schizoid is not only the band name, but the name of the dude that does all the music and vocals in the studio.
When I was looking around on YouTube for a video to include I noticed the following genre label: powerviolent blackened digital hardcore industrial punk. Yeah, that about sums it up. I can tell this is digital and programmed because everything sounds overly crisp and piercing. I think maybe dialing back the treble and adding a little more low-end would benefit this album greatly.
Other than that production issue the sound is ok for the style. The songs also seem ok, but I am having a hard time getting into this album because it really falls outside the realm of what I listen to. There is a lot less metal than digital hardcore here, so I do not feel qualified to judge it compared to other similar bands. The only thing that comes to mind for comparison is Atari Teenage Riot, and I hate that shit. As always, I ultimately leave it up to the readers to decide for themselves.
Here is the video for the title track.