Hooded Menace Never Cross the Dead

Hailing from Joensuu, Finland, Hooded Menace take cues from early death and doom (Paradise Lost, Candlemass, Autopsy, etc.), and pay an apt tribute without actually ripping anyone off. Also included is a high dose of sludge, making Never Cross the Dead a thick, measured, plodding affair. They are largely inspired by classic and cult horror movies ― something with which many a metal head can identify. Aided by the blood-soaked lyrics, the overarching gloom and twisted riffs, the listener is imbued with images of foreboding castles, curious rituals and, of course, the living dead. The production is great; it has the air of being filthy and lo-fi, but in fact all the instruments are remarkably audible, giving the record a unique texture. Although there are many excellent songs ("The House of Hammer," "Night of the Deathcult"), those with a low tolerance for the methodical lumbering of sludge may have trouble digesting this one. (Profound Lore)