HoodedWhilst being nowhere near the likes of Nunslaughter in the ‘fuck me, how many releases? How am I gonna ever own all that?’ stakes, Finnish atmospheric doom / death titans Hooded Menace still have a respectable smattering of super-limited edition 7” splits & EPs – mostly restricted to only 300 – 500 vinyl only copies – out there to make being a Menace completest a bit of a challenge.  Since Most of these were put out over the last four years on Czech label ‘Doomentia Records’ who have now blessed us with an early Christmas pressie in the form of this compilation.

No more trawling eBay / Discogs trying to find a tasty bit of orange vinyl loveliness (well we still will won’t we?), here we have pretty much everything covered from the ‘Eyeless Horde’ 7” demo recordings through to ‘Monuments Of Misery’ from this year’s ‘A View From The Rope’ 12” split with Loss (500 copies on brown vinyl if you were wondering). A lovely touch is the inclusion of ‘I, Devil Master’ from 2010’s ‘Live Evil Vol. 1’ compilation.

The only exclusion I can see here is the two cover versions from 2012’s ‘Necrotic Monuments’ 7” (500 / orange) but that was released by Relapse so maybe there’s licensing issues.

Anyway if you’re a Hooded Menace fan you’ll know what to expect here. Lasse Pyykko and the boys (four different line ups) have always produced a super inventive and addictive blend of Candlemass & Autopsy that oozes sick twisted riffs and some unholy vocals. These horror obsessives are all about atmosphere and a creeping dread that pervades every single track. Sure some sound a little rawer than others but songs like ‘Catacombs Of The Graceless’ (from 2011’s 12” split with Ilsa) clearly display what an amazing, powerful band Hooded Menace are.  Never about pointless brutality and needless speed, the crushing landscapes this band conjure can actually scare the listener!

If you’re only exposure to HM’s work is their last full length ‘Effigies Of Evil’ and you can’t be arsed tracking down these various individual releases this comp is totally indispensible, and if you are that Menace completest then never fear, those kind ladies & gents have made ‘Gloom Immemorial’ available as a limited edition CD box that contains an original art from all old split/demo/EP releases, printed on an individual card with the song’s credits on the flipside. Delicious!

(9.5/10 Mark Eve)