I am drowning in doom these days. Death doom, funeral doom, epic doom, doom rock, sludge doom, it keeps pouring in. Some of it is good, some of it useless, some of it so-so, some of it brilliant. Hooded Menace from Finland have been around since 2007 and have so many released under their belt that they feel it's time for a compilation of songs from EP's and splits. When you look at the band's discography, you'll see that they've made three EP's and released no less than six splits apart from from the three proper albums they've done (in 2008, 2010 and 2012). Some bands really like EP's and splits, others have to do them because they haven't really got the material or support for full-lengths. Whether Hooded Menace belongs in the one category or the other, I'm not sure.
The 'Gloom Immemorial' compilation starts out extremely strong with the track Fulfill the Curse. It's a slow and grinding monolith of a song, yet with upbeat elements that make the song very dynamic. The Eyeless Horde is no less diverse and dynamic. A Decay of Mind and Flesh, an instrumental, isn't that interesting, but alright.
The Haunted Ossuary starts out really heavy and, well, stays to be so. Cool tune all in all, but not one to blow your mind. I, Devil Master is reaaaally slow and heavy and to be honest also becomes a bit boring after two or three minutes. After this, the floating drive of Catacombs of the Graceless is a bit of a relief - but even that becomes a bit much with it's running time of over six minutes.
Abode of the Grotesque, on the other hand, represents a diversity I like more. Basic, very heavy riff, but with breaks and double bass drum rolls and melodic guitar harmonies throughout. With Instruments of Eternal Damnation, it takes Hooded Menace around five or six minutes to get things into gear. Overall boring. Chasm of Wraith is over nine minutes long and has interesting material for about five. The Creeping Flesh continues in the same vein. Concluding tune, Monuments of Misery lightings things up with a great, uptempo guitar intro and then takes the tempo down into the, I'm tempted to say, usual droning riffing. Six minutes into the song, something interesting happens again with very, very cool solo pieces and variations.
Yes, I know that the game of doom can be slowness. But in my view that doesn't mean boring. It all depends how it's done. Hooded Menace have really, really great passages, but they also manage to bore me to death (no pun intended) - and as a general observation I have to note that I have rarely heard a vocalist be so consistently without any kind of variation throughout the eleven songs on this album (and, mind you, these songs are from more a handful of releases).