– Hi, thanks for your time. What’s currently going on with HOODED MENACE?
Hi and thanks for having us! The new album and the video for «Crumbling Insanity» are about to be released this week as I we speak, so these are exciting times for us. Furthermore we´re rehearsing our set with our new live vocalist Markus (also in Sadistik Forest) for the upcoming shows. Things got a bit too busy and hectic for Oula so he stepped aside to focus on his own band Death Toll 80k and other stuffs.
– First off, would you mind to tell us how did the band get together?
Hooded Menace was formed in the summer of 2007 with an intent to play crushingly heavy and catchy death/doom inspired by bands such as 80´s Candlemass, Autopsy, Asphyx, early Cathedral, old Paradise Lost, Black Sabbath etc. That´s still pretty much the name of the game, although we´ve been peppering our venomous soup a bit since then to keep things interesting and always evolving a little by little.
– And why did you pick «Hooded Menace» as the band’s name?
It´s ripped from a comic. The name is a reference to the Blind Dead movies that are a big influence to us.
– What are your main influences? Not only musicaly but also cinematically, as your horror lyrics seem to be also inspired by movies.
The aforementioned Blind Dead movies, old Euro Horror, Hammer Horror… Musically, the bands I already listed for the 2nd question.
– Your new record is entitled «Effigies of Evil» and has just been released. How is its feedback being so far?
The feedback has been awesome. So far I´ve seen extremely positive reviews only. People seem to be really excited about this record. We put a lot of passion to it and worked really hard for it, so it´s very satisfying to see people digging it.
– With albums so good and good received as your previous «Never Cross the Dead» and «Fulfill the Curse», do you work under more pressure or is it just a bonus motivation and self-confidence?
I guess it´s a mix of all those things. Once the songwriting set off, I knew pretty soon this album is shaping up to be just as good, if not better than «Never Cross the Dead».
– Anyway, what could you say are the main differences between this new opus and your previous «Never Cross the Dead»?
A little more mid-tempos and melodies have crept into the music. This is our most dynamic and diverse effort to date. It´s pretty logical continuation to «Never Cross the Dead». No drastic changes. It´s just appropriately different from the previous one, just as it should be.
– It seems like, once more, this album is a step forward into the band’s career both in sound and songwriting terms but, what are yor thoughts on this? What has this album supposed and what does it mean personally to you?
Well first of all, I´m really satisfied how the album turned out. Whether people liked it or not, I consider us winners already. You´re your worst critic, you know. I´m still just as enthusiastic as I was when I started the band. That means a world to me. If this album takes us to new places and reaches more people, then cool but the point is to stay creative, inspired and genuinely enthusiastic. What comes to sound/production, we´ve definitely gotten better at it. Our «engineer» Mikko Saastamoinen knows pretty much what we want to achieve sound-wise and his knowledge from the studio work is a huge help for us. «Effigies of Evil» sounds heavier than anything we´ve done before.
– This being said; how has the songwriting process been this time around?
Songs came together quite smoothly. I think it took something like half a year for me to write the music. I didn´t rush it but took my time until it sounded good enough to me. We knew the previous album was very strong and we didn´t want to offer anything less.
– Is it easy to come up with new riffs but always so extreme, slow and heavy? As you have never lose your own sound and trademarks.
I have to admit, it´s getting a bit harder already but I like musical challenges. I think there´re still many ways to expand the expression without ditching the basic elements of our sound. You just have to trust your instinct and vision and take it from there.
– The cover artwork has been crafted by David D’Andrea. Would you mind to tell us how did you work on it and what did you want to express with the visuals?
I sent David the lyrics to the song «Effigies of Evil» and told him what elements I wanted to be there in the artwork, such as the Blind Dead references: a seagull, the templars, a rotting horse… He came up with the rest of stuff. The result is mostly his vision and I think it matches the music and the album title very well. The effigies are part of the landscape. They´re larger than life. The templars are on an eternal path walking from the castle right into to effigies… It´s got magic to it. When I saw the final work, I wanted to live in it, haha!
– This has been your first CD with Relapse Records. Why did you move from Profound Lore to Relapse? Relapse is a rerally big label into Metal so do you have a bigger promotion and coverage with them?
Profound Lore was pretty good to us but Relapse is able to offer us more. They give us pretty good budget, effective promotion and wide distribution. Their long experience from the record business cannot be ignored either. We have nothing against spreading our doom for a a bit wider audience if people want us. We´re very curious to see what it is like to work with a label the size of Relapse. So far it´s been working just fine. I´ve never done this many interviews for instance. Probably I´ve done more in the last few weeks than I´ve done in the past few years, haha!
– Since last 2011 you’ve got three new live members but, haven’t you ever considered the idea of becoming a full band instead of remaining as a two-piece?
Actually now we´re a three-piece since our live-guitarist Teemu recently joined the studio lineup, the «actual» band as well! But yes, it would be nice to have the same, steady lineup for the gigs and for the studio. It´s not that easy to arrange though, and not absolutely necessary either. You know, it´s been going rather well like this so far.
– And finally, what are your near-future plans?
A vinyl split with the US doomgodz Loss is in works for Doomentia Records. Also we´d like to record a 2-song EP for Doomentia at some point. The next show in the calendar right now is Summon The Dead Madridfest in Spain in november. We´ll be co-headlining with the magnificent Dead Congregation. Also Avulsed and Ataraxy will be playing and a couple of others. So it should be pretty awesome night!
– That’s all, thank you once more for answering our questions. If you want to add some final words; feel free to do it.
Thanks for taking time to interview us! Check out the new album and come to see us play if we happen to be in the city near you! Cheers!