Hooded Priest – ‘The Hour Be None’ (I Hate) Print E-mail
CD Reviews
Written by Mark Ashby   
Thursday, 21 December 2017 04:00

Hooded Priest artworkAlthough staples of the Dutch and Flemish, and wider European, doom scene for a little more than a decade now, Hooded Priest have taken a full seven years to follow up their debut album, ‘Devil Worship Reckoning’ – which beggars the question of what they’ve been doing in the intervening period… Well, apart from developing a reputation as one of the most popular doom bands on the specialist festival circuit, they’ve probably been sitting around, smoking a lot of weed and thinking of ways to make their sound event danker, denser and heavier than on that first offering away back in the mists of dope-addled time…

 

If that is the case, then they certainly have succeeded, because dank, dense and heavy are three descriptives which most certainly can be applied to this second opus.  And you can add “as fuck” onto the end of each of those adjectives, as they take each of them and apply extra coats of dankness, density and heaviness.  Tonnes of them. So much so that it will probably take all the factories manufacturing each quality a good few years to build up new stocks.

 

The dolorous instrumental ‘Dolen – Exiting The Real’ sets the tone with sufficiently eerie moodiness, warning you that you are indeed about to exit the reality you knew before you hit the play button and enter an alternate one created by some of the most lasciviously clever proponents of their art. 

 

‘Call For The Hearse’ heaves itself out of a morass thicker than a bucket of treacle with an opening riff that grabs your soul and declares “your mine”, hooking you and drawing you into the quagmire of deathly delight that follows.  And this is before Luther Veldmark delivers his first word – but, boy, when he does… equally evil and mischievous (as exemplified by the cheeky song title), he delivers a sublimely evil performance which is entrancing and dramatic in equal measures, referencing the classic masters of the genre while stamping his own anti-divine seal of individuality on both his surreal lyrics and the music as a whole.  Then, just as you think you’ve got into the groove of this eight-legged monster, they totally changed tack and take us into more gothic territory, with Joe Mazurewics’ bass briefly taking over the instrumental lead from Jeff Von D’s demon-inducing guitar sound before returning us to the chugging main riff.

 

Building slowly from a rumbling bass line, ‘These Skies Must Break’ has a very early-Seventies psychedelic sound to it, showing that the band are not afraid to integrate other musical styles and themes into their basic doom framework:  the debut album had lots of classic metal and thrash references in it, and while ‘The Hour…’ generally is a lot heavier, other less doleful paths are explored, such as the Gothicism which pervades ‘Herod Again’, especially in Veldmark’s theatrical vocal style, which at times somehow even manages to invoke the spirit of Jim Morrison is some of the more reflective passages.

 

Their earlier thrash influences come into play again on ‘Locust Reaper’, the second of three thematically linked tracks which make up the second half of the release: it starts off a true doom territory, with only Quornelius Backus’ occasional ring of a triangle lightening the mood before it turns up the speed and crashes through into a rambunctiously evil sleigh-ride of cascading riffs and crashing cymbals. Closer ‘Mother Of Plagues’ again mixes passages of dolorous density with cascading waterfalls of lightness in a way in which the latter accentuates the darkness and depths of the former.

 

‘The Hour Be None’ is a superb slice of brilliantly crafted doom, adventurous and creative without straying too far from the well-trodden path of what has gone before, and at the same time sublimely eloquent in every department.  An essential earworm for doomsters everywhere.

 

‘The Hour Be None’ is out now. You can get your copy HERE.

 

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