Monday, 26 May 2014

Hooded Menace - Labyrinth Of Carrion Breeze 12"

Following their Relapse Records debut in 2012 with the rockin' death-doom masterpiece Effigies Of Evil, 2013 saw the prolific Hooded Menace retreat back into obscurity. However, they weren't merely hanging out watching their 'Tombs Of The Blind Dead' videotape for the hundredth time, as they're back with with yet another monstrous release via Doomentia Records: Labyrinth Of Carrion Breeze.

It's clear from the tone and tempo that 'Chasm Of The Wraith' leans more towards the funereal end of the doom spectrum than their usual fare and when Lasse's chasmic vocals kick in, they'll blow the cobwebs off of your casket, that's for damn sure!

Hooded Menace's strong point has always been in the simultaneous catchiness and heaviness of Lasse's riffs, and this new material is no exception; he packs more interesting riffs into a single song than most bands have in their entire catalogue. Only occasionally descending into histrionics, for the most part this track is all killer, no filler, especially impressive for a 10 minute song!

'The Creeping Flesh' pulls no punches, as that roar emerges from the depths immediately, dragging you down into the darkness. While not quite as varied as the opener, this track does feature some prime ribcage-rattling double-kick work from drummer Pekka Koskelo. For those of you who dig the bands that Hooded Menace take their inspiration from, you'll want to throw on Lost Paradise after hearing this one, trust me.

Hooded Menace are one of the most notable death-doom bands of recent years thanks to a slew of consistently excellent releases, and with the release of Labyrinth Of Carrion Breeze their reputation as one of the best in the genre has only been further cemented. There are still copies of the black vinyl variant going over at Doomentia Records, so snag one while you still can!

You can read my full, unedited review of this record over at Echoes & Dust...

Hooded Menace on Facebook | Bandcamp

Lizzard Wizzard - s/t tape

Lizzard Wizzard are probably Brisbane, Australia's best turn-based stoner doom band, and while I'm still waiting for someone to buy me a place ticket out there to confirm this for myself, their debut recording does suggest it might just be the case.

Also, for their debut release they really knock it out of the fucking park in terms of artwork and packaging. A limited edition tape release of the album was available via California's Houdini Tapes, but thats long gone by now, which came with all these extra goodies for the discerning stoner nerd.

Opening track 'Twilight Of The Terminator' opens with some heavy Sleep vibes, the lurching menace of the riff sounding like guitarists Michael Clarke and Nick McKeon dipped their joints in embalming fluid before before being forced to listen to Dopesmoker 13 hours in a row. Thankfully they keep the running time of the track to a nice concise 5 minutes so as to not send every listener off to the asylum. 'Total Handjob Future' has a similarly woozy gait, with a nice depraved satisfyingly sludgy middle section, the aural equivalent of of waking up still hungover and devouring a cold leftover takeaway. You know you shouldn't enjoy something so horrible, but it's so fucking good.

With the sound of a lighter sparking up repeatedly (a nod to 'Sweet Leaf' perhaps?) the band's take on the popular HBO fantasy series theme song hits its stride when that instantly recognisable riff kicks in. There have been a slew of metal covers of this song because, well, metal is for fucking nerds, but endless youtube videos made by symphonic power metal dweebs with BC Rich Warlocks can't compare with 'Game Of Cones'.
The rhythm of the song lends itself far better to a heavier interpretation, and drummer Luke Osborne totally nails the relentless floor-tom battery of the original, and when they've run through the 90 seconds we're all familiar with, they take the tempo down into serious doom territory, giving the track a genuinely melancholic vibe.
If they don't shoot a highly intoxicated parody of the series for the video to this song, a la Red Fang, then that'd be an excellent opportunity missed.

The album closes out with the twin-guitar-led slow burner 'Dogs Die In Hot Cars', which meanders along in a similarly wasted fashion to the rest of the tracks, until out of nowhere the spirit of Josh Homme possesses the entire band and they kick out the fuckin' jams. When the demented vocals arrive, you'll swear this is a lost Nick Oliveri-fronted b-side from the Deaf sessions. Culminating in more of the old low 'n' slow, and even some heartbreaking puppy howls, it's probably the cutest ending you could imagine for a doom album.

But this isn't just stoner doom... this is Lizzard Wizzard!

Read my full, unedited review over at Echoes & Dust...

Lizzard Wizzard on Facebook | Bandcamp