Night of the Deathcult
Finnish Death / Doom scene has always been quite strong! Of course, not all names are fully known and run, I wonít here appoint a number of great bands from this country, I write just that nowadays it is most certainly promising band with a dark name HOODED MENACE. The quartetto of Joensuu has started his way by demo "The Eyeless Horde" '07, then came debut "Fullfill The Curse" '08 and after split with ANIMA MORTE '10 came second full-length album "Never Cross The Dead" '10. Review of this great disk you have to read on our website, now you can soak by rotten stench of this excellent band in our interview. The questions were answered by Lasse PyykkŲ, guitarist by HOODED MENACE, return of the blind dead is coming...

Hello, how are things going for HOODED MENACE these days? Your new album is out already a few months. Are you happy with the result?
Things are going just fine, thanks! Rehearsals and some songwriting going on. Yeah, Iím totally happy with how the new album came out. The reviews have been very positive too.

Can you please clarify how actually HOODED MENACE has started? Who has formed the band and what purpose for?
In the summer of 2007 we jammed some Candlemass songs with death metal vocals and right there I said that we should form a death/doom band. In fact I have wanted to do this type of music for a long time, so it really was about time to finally do something about it. We took some lyrical inspiration from the Blind Dead horror movie series etc. horror stuff, recorded a demo and got signed to Razorback Records for one album. Thatís how it started, briefly. Our purpose was/is to play ultra-heavy, crushing doom-laden death metal with memorable songs. I donít want to sound arrogant but Hooded Menace really is our vision of how death/doom should sound at its best.

Your first recording is two songs demo "The Eyeless Horde" with beautiful cover art. How do you remember the demo days today?
Itís a cool demo but we re-recorded the songs for the first album and the album versions are much better. But yeah, I still like it a lot as for what it is; a demo. Very soon went on to write and record our first album so the demo days were such a short phase in Hooded Menaceís biography that thereís not much to tell.

Your music is always heavy, but also very melodic and atmospheric. How much important is the atmosphere in your music?
Iíd say atmosphere and soul are pretty much the most important things in music generally. Everyone can be heavy, fast or slow and so forth but without atmosphere and soul itís just a hollow, empty feeling.

At listening to your new album I am always fascinated by your rolling, compelling melodies, whenever one disappear; another come soon, even better, and so again and again. It is known that Finnish bands have strong melodies. How can you explain it? Do you think this is the norm in the Nordic countries?
Hmm, maybe itís because of Amorphis? They influenced a ton of bands in Finland in as well as all over the world with Karelian Isthmus and especially Tales from the Thousand Lakes. That spawned a ton of melodic death metal bands that I donít give two shits about but yes, early Amorphis is good and probably have influenced us a bit too. Anyhow, our melodies come mostly from our love for the 80īs Candemass albums. Melodies are very important element in our music.  Having just an endless chugging riffage going on would be so damn boring.

Your songs usually go over 5 minutes, often 6 or 7 minutes. Do you think it is more difficult to compose longer tracks than shorter ones? Or do you think it's only due to slowness that stretches the songs?
Of course the slowness stretches the songs. The songs clock around 5-8 minutes very naturally, so be it. A great, short say 3 min doom/death song would be pretty hard to make. Long songs are just fine. This stuff is epic by nature.

How would you compare your new album to the debut? Can you see there any progress or difference?
The new album is more diverse. This time around we stretched the extremities a bit. The heavy is heavier, dark is darker and melodies are more melodic or at least thereíre more of them. Itís a good mixture of all our influences. Anyhow, itís not too different from Fulfill The Curse, so if you liked that one, you are not going to diss the new album. I still like Fulfill The Curse a lot and we didnít want to drift away from it. We just wanted to create equally as good follow up album or even better, a greater album with more depth in it. I think we accomplished that.

Seems that your new album gets praise everywhere. In my personal view, you managed to record very strong, compact album where all songs are top; I cannot choose the best one of the album. Do you have some more and less favorite tracks?
Thanks! We avoid filler tracks like a plague. I really like all the songs too but I guess my favorite is probably From Their Coffined Slumber. Itís one of the last songs we wrote for the album. So maybe it tells a bit of what to expect from the future... My least fave might be Terror Castle or Theme From Return Of The Evil Dead. For some reason they seem less interesting to me than the other tracks. But as I said, I really like them all and I wouldnít change a note.

Your music is full of darkness, dread and alike daunting feelings. Do you think these feelings can be better expressed by slow music than fast music?
Sure. Slow music fits better for delivering creepy and desolate feelings and such, while fast stuff is better for expressing sheer aggression and chaos.

How do you create the tracks? Who is the most creative member of the band? Do you have some an already proven writing procedure?
So far I have written all the music. As for the lyrics we have a circle of horror obsessed friends who write for us. It works great this way as Iím not too eager to write lyrics myself. As for the songwriting... I just sit down, start making riffs, record the first good idea and go on from there. I make a demo with a drum-machine of every song, send an mp3 to the other guys and theyíll learn it. Usually I change nothing afterwards. The stuff is very ready at this demo phase.

Where is the source of your inspiration to write new songs?
Simply good music. I still get my kicks and inspiration pretty much from the same stuff that I listened in the 80īs and early 90īs. But also good newer bands can be very inspiring as thereíre some great bands out there today. Of course the good old horror flicks, old architecture, graveyards and gloomy forests must get a mention here as well.

It is known you are big fans of old horrors. I saw your video clip for the ďThe Eyeless HordeĒ song which is edited from one I think the Spanish horror. I have seen this movie very long ago and I really liked it, but I forgot his name. It was about some rotten corpses in the hoods running on horses...
Yeah, the video was edited from Tombs Of The Blind Dead. In fact I did it. Thereís also a fan video online for Rotting Rampage (Menace Of The Skeletal Dead) edited from another Blind Dead film called The Ghost Galleon. Itís much better than mine.

Which movies are your faves? Do you watch also todayís horrors? Have you seen such new ones as ďParanormal ActivityĒ or ďDrag Me to HellĒ by Sam Raimi? How do you like it?
There are so many great films... some of my faves are Day Of The Dead, The Beyond, City Of The Living Dead, Toxic Avenger, Let Sleeping Corpses Lie etc... and The Blind Dead films obviously heh! I donít watch new horror films so I canít comment the movies you mentioned. But Iím sure they are not nearly as good as Raimiís best work: Evil Dead, haha! Because there are lots of old stuff I havenít seen yet, Iíd rather check out those old gems than waste my time watching modern horror films. 

Your new album has been released by the excellent label Profound Lore. How did you get to them and how many albums you have signed a deal? Are you satisfied with their work and what you say to your colleagues on this label?
They contacted us offering us a better deal so we took it. Now we get the kind of promotion, distribution etc. that we need and deserve at this point of our so called "career". Itís a one album deal. So far everythingís been great with the label, but we havenít discussed about the future with them yet. Profound Lore have some very interesting bands on their roster. I think they are one of the most original metal labels out there these days and we are glad to be on the board.

Do you play live concerts as well? How many ones you have played? Have you also played outside of Finland?
We havenít played any gigs so far but soon we will. Iíve had pretty negative attitude towards playing shows because I never enjoyed them too much in the past (with my old band Phlegethon) and basically Iíd rather use my time and energy for creating and documenting new music. Anyway, we have got lots of good offers to play live and finally agreed to do a few. Three shows are confirmed for this year: Black Mass Ritual Fest in Helsinki (w/ Dead Congregation, Necros Christos, Repugnant etc.), Live Evil Fest in London (w/ Angel Witch, Vulcano, Ramesses etc.) and Dutch Doom Days in Rotterdam (w/ Revelation, Place Of Skulls, Fall Of The Idols etc.).

How are you satisfied with life in Finland? Could you also imagine to live in another country, and if so, where?
Finland is a good and easy place to live in. Itís clean, safe and wealthy. Also pretty vast land for 5 million people only... which is good in my opinion as Iím not too interested living in antís nest. I dig that all four seasons are very different from each other up here, the nature is nice and clean with lots of lakes and forests, but most of the cities look pretty ugly as we donít have much of an old architecture. Altho Finland is pretty good place to be in, itís pretty far away from everything... so yeah, basically I could imagine living somewhere in the mid-Europe. Maybe France, Czech, Belgium... 

What are you currently going to do just now after release of your new album? I have heard something about split CD with Dutch ASPHYX band...
We have two split 7" EPīs lined up. One with Asphyx and one with Coffins which should be available any time soon. Both releases will be released by Doomentia Records. Also the vinyl version of Never Cross The Dead will be out soon on the same label. Lately we have been rehearsing always when possible because of all these upcoming shows.

Ok, it would be all on my part, if I forgot anything, feel free to write what you want. Thank you for this interview and wish you all the best while destroying by your heavy, cryptic Doom / Death forever!
Thanks for the support! Cheers!

Lasse                                                       5. 7. 2010 Mortuary

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