HOODED MENACE – Appropriately fresh and exciting
With the rapidly rising interest in doom metal these days, it has sadly become a saturated market. There’s a lot of fluff out there, especially when it comes to rehashed stoner doom. However, for the trained ear, it’s not difficult to cut through the trash and find the true gems. Hooded Menace is one such discovery that everybody needs to know about.
Beginning in 2007 and having three monstrous full-lengths out, these Finns have made a profound impact in the metal scene. Their live shows contain an intensity and atmosphere that is difficult to match, and their recordings are quite varied and never dull. This is how this doom should be done, and to anybody who gives this band a spin, it won’t take much convincing. The melody, the gargantuan riffs, the power of the vocals – they’ve got it down.
Eternal Terror got the pleasure of having a chat with guitarist/vocalist and founding member Lasse Pyykkö. Within, the bands exciting upcoming projects are discussed, as well as their touring plans, visions for the future, and the inner workings of their metal style of choice. Read on, and enjoy!
"Effigies of Evil" has been out for about six months now, and has been very well received. Are you happy with how the reception and how the album turned out as a whole?
Not much to complain. We’re satisfied with how the album turned out and the feedback has been almost entirely very positive.
How is work on the "Labyrinth of Carrion Breeze" EP going?
We’re currently rehearsing the material and look forward to start recording in April. If everything goes according to plan, the EP should be out in July on Doomentia Records. Time really flies so we’ll see about that. The cover art is already in works. Adam Geyer, who colored Matt "Putrid" Carr’s inks for our second album, "Never Cross the Dead", is currently working on the coloring for the piece drawn by Joshua Brettell of Ilsa fame.
What sort of direction are the songs for said EP headed in comparison to your catalogue of work?
Some of it is perhaps the most melodic stuff we’ve ever written, but it’s always really heavy and atmospheric. Of course, nothing too soft or cheesy. Then again, there’s crushingly suffocating death/doom to keep things morbid and menacing enough. It’s a good balance of graceful melodies and murky sledgehammer riffs. Basically, it’s more of the same, but at the same time it sounds just appropriately fresh and exciting.
How do you think working with Damian Herring will impact your sound?
I’m very curious about it. It’ll be a bit different, for sure. I thought it would be an interesting idea to work with someone who does not only know how to turn the knobs, but is also a death metal musician. His band Horrendous is definitely one of the best newer death metal bands around, and I like Damian’s production work for their album. I have a lot respect for the guy and I think he will "get" us, just as our usual studio guy Mikko Saastamoinen does. Mikko always does a great job. It’s just that this time we want to try something new for a change, and an EP would be ideal opportunity to give it a try.
What do you have planned with the split with Loss?
We have a ridiculously heavy and slow, epic song called "Monuments of Misery" in store for this split. The song speeds up a bit in the end and swallows you into a doomed groove, but for the most part, it’s really bleak, total depressive bliss. Damian is supposed to do the mixing/mastering for the song. I suppose the split will be out on Doomentia later 2013.
You guys are hitting some big festivals this summer with Obscene Extreme, Party San, Hellfest, etc. being booked already. Any other festival plans in the works?
There are a few more festivals scheduled for later 2013, but I can’t give away more details yet. Most likely, we won’t be playing any other festivals this summer in addition to Hellfest, OEF, and Party.San. This spring, we’ll do a couple of gigs here and there and a summer mini-tour for mid-Europe is in the works. I think this year is pretty much fully booked now. It’s not a lot, but it’s as much as we can and want to do in 2013.
Hooded Menace has come a long way since the band’s formation. What do you see in the near and distant future for the band?
I guess and wish there will be more great opportunities to play live, more solid albums to be made for our, and hopefully also for others’, satisfaction. When the band started, I had zero expectations and I’m not going to start building it up now either. In the beginning, all I cared was that a handful of freaks would appreciate my music and I could keep releasing albums. I’m pleasantly surprised things turned out this fine.
Doom metal as a whole has been becoming more and more popular in the metal scene in the last few years. What do you attribute to that?
I don’t know, maybe it’s just that the Internet that makes it so much easier to discover stuff, so more and more people have finally found about doom metal. Everything just snowballed. There was, and are, doom bands popping up everywhere, more labels interested to put out the music, more gigs, and so forth. I guess the genre benefited from the "old school" death metal revival. Everything affects everything. These days, there’s more diversity in doom than ever. The genre is so fragmented and all kinds of bands get doom-tagged, but at least the word gets around. What comes up must come down, and I think it’s only a matter of time when a lot of these people will be somewhere else. I wish I was wrong, but that’s how I see it. Hopefully the better bands will stick around and there will be an audience for them.
Is there a place you’d like to play where you haven’t had the opportunity as of yet?
Sure! There are many places in US where we’d like to play, like the west coast, for example. I’d also love to play NYC again, and all those US festivals we did a couple of years back. I’m dying to get back because we’re so much better now with two guitarists in the band. Also, Canada would be cool, as well as Japan, Australia, Norway, and many other corners of the world. We play gigs quite rarely, so there’s still many, many places we’d like to go.
Are there any plans to return to North America? I saw your performance at Maryland Deathfest in 2011 and am certainly eager to see you guys again!
Hopefully next year! This year is pretty much fully booked with European dates.
What has been your most satisfying personal accomplishment in the music business?
Record deals with well-respected labels like Profound Lore and Relapse is pretty well done, I think. Playing festivals like Roadburn, MDF and Chaos in Tejas feels very good, too. Getting out to play this summer’s Hellfest is amazing. It’s such a massive fest. I didn’t start the band to play big festivals. I didn’t plan to play live at all! So it’s a bit confusing and almost surreal, but it’s really exciting and fun to experience it. Whether it’s a small club or a big festival, it’s always exciting. We don’t gig all the time, so every time at any place is very special to us.
How have things with Relapse been going? Profound Lore did a good job with you guys, it seems, but I’m sure a label the size of Relapse helps get you more "out there".
Yeah, it seems Relapse has got us more "out there". They are happy with how the album has moved, and so are we. It’s been really good to work with them so far. Not a bad word to say about Profound Lore, either.
With sheer number of bands out there flooding the market, how difficult is it to be able to stand out amongst the bloated crowd?
I don’t know; we never tried too hard to stand out. We just did our thing. It’s been a rather smooth and fortunate ride for us. I guess it requires strong vision, creativity, talent, hard work, and luck to stand out these days. I know we owe a lot to the old masters, but somehow we’ve managed to create our own quite distinctive style that is a rather catchy type of death/doom. It’s easy to point out our influences here and there, but the entirety is our own. This is our take on death/doom, and for some reason quite many seem to like it. We work very hard for every song and every release – it’s not a quantity over quality mentality with us, and I think people see that.
Your powerful live shows are a huge part of what makes Hooded Menace. How do you think your live presentation has evolved since the band first formed to now?
It jumped to the next level when Teemu joined as a 2nd guitarist. This stuff definitely needs more than one guitar, but I don’t regret playing shows without a 2nd guitarist. It was a compromise, but we had fun and you’ve got to start somewhere. Our current line up sounds the best, and I hope the people who saw us live with one guitar will have an opportunity to catch us live again, because it’s tighter, more layered and twice as heavy now!
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Thanks for the interview! Check us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/HoodedMenace to keep up with all the latest news ands updates. Just doom it!