|Death Metal, Doom Metal
Eye.On Lion Recordings
September 11th, 2012
Release length: 50:56
And, for a Death/Doom Metal offering, it isn’t half bad. Unfortunately, the audio quality doesn’t quite live up to expectations some of the time. While still a bit on the raw side, the guitars end up a little cleaner, and the bass is pretty deep, though not too dominant thanks to the volume level being loud, but offering up a dull roar in the output. Also offering a crisp modern sound really doesn’t help any either. The drums establish a bit of a creepy atmosphere. The cymbals sound great and are heard quite well without being too loud, and the thud of the bass kicks do add a little extra impact to the mix, though not much more than what the bass guitar brings in. However, the snares really stand out with a mid-range thickness that has a bit of an echo, giving off the sensation of being trapped in a dark basement or dungeon as a musical environment. The vocals have a mixture of weaker, vile sounding gutturals, and some stronger, richer growls that have the ability to go into pig squeels for a short amount of time. Both of these are at their best when the music is its heaviest, though when it’s a little on the empty side, they can end up rather unimpressive, something listener’s will pick up on right away.
This audio greatly impacts the bite of Effigies of Evil, and not always for the better. “Vortex Machine” kicks things off with a slower pace that clearly is meant to be a bit bludgeoning, but simply isn’t. It does pick up the pace, but due to the bass guitar’s lack of impact, things simply don’t reach the depths of heaviness that should come with it. Instead, some areas come off like they lack the bass guitar all together, but really it’s that the higher notes being played are not captured well enough, blending in with the guitars and drums. “Summoned into Euphoric Madness” is similar in many ways. The song isn’t quite as heavy, moving at a mid-tempo pace, but the riffs used are a lot stronger with the bass really adding a heavier edge to the mix. There are some empty areas, such as around the two minutes and fifty-five seconds mark, but these elements are easy to ignore given the quality that makes up the rest of the performance.
Thankfully, some of those hollow issues end up corrected and go away relatively fast. “Effigies of Evil” does make for a far tighter performance, and the bass plays a vital role to the success. The music moves at a decent slower pace, but only a few passages or bridges find it trudging along. This allows the instruments to work together in a bit of a hypnotic manner that easily makes you want to move your head along to the catchy rhythm and various hooks in the lead chords, as well as mask some of the weaker elements of the vocals to make more of an intimidating presence known amid the creepy, disturbing atmosphere. “Curses Scribed in Gore” really sticks out as well, catering to the fans of early Doom Metal in the vein of bands like Candlemass. Really catchy music litters the main verses that harken back to the blossoming of the style, having less of an intimidation behind it outside of the vocals. Instead, the lead riffs sometimes bring in an epic tone to the song, especially in some of the bridges and the guitar solo. The chorus, however, slows things down greatly into a crushing, slow-moving Death Metal assault that is still as memorable as the other verses, but for obviously different reasons. This section has more of a hopeless, despair ridden approach that often doesn’t stay too long, but gets the point across with what time it has before the final third of the song’s lifespan. Of course, these aren’t all of the songs that really stand out, and there are a many others well worth experiencing.
Aside a really rocky start, and a few other lighter areas, Effigies of Evil is an album as heavy as it is catchy. The music weaves in and out of early to modern Doom Metal ideas while sticking with a strong Death Metal influence, creating some kind of fun, even epic material, but also audibly destructive passages throughout. If you’re a fan of Doom Metal and/or Death Metal, then this album should already be on your list of releases to check out as soon as possible. Effigies of Evil is easily one of the best Hooded Menace has put out so far, not including the many split releases, and if you’re new to the group then now is as perfect a time to make yourself aware of this underground three-piece that continues to grow and evolve for the better with each new album.
01. Vortex Macabre – 10:27
02. Effigies of Evil – 5:36
03. In the Dead We Dwell – 7:50
04. Curses Scribed in Gore – 6:15
05. Crumbling Insanity – 6:32
06. Summoned into Euphoric Madness – 5:43
07. Evoken Vulgarity – 6:48
08. Retribution in Eternity – 1:45
|Overall Score: 8.5/10
Digital review copy of this release provided by Relapse Records.