The first Hooded Priest album ‘Devil Worship Reckoning’ was this huge, gnarly metal beast with a fuzz-chunky loud guitar tone and big snakey NWOBHM riffs alongside Reverend Bizarre-esque vocals that weren’t afraid to puke themselves dry now and then. It was a loud, diarrhea inducing metal album that stood out even in the crowded Euro-doom landscape of 2010. Seven years later it sure feels like Hooded Priest have polished the grime and gritty Satanic metal snarl out of their epic metal sound. Instead ‘The Hour of None’ expresses itself in a solemn, tight-fisted set of doom metal tracks that sound more like modern Finnish doom metal than anything else. Change is good and it seems this comes from a new line-up and different tastes. If anything this album shows they can both rock out as well as they can curl up and die.
The question in my endlessly comparative mind is what does this album do to stand out in a year where doom metal was undoubtedly booming bigger than ever in both Europe and North America? Well even though bands like Cardinal’s Folly and Church of Void sounded typically Finnish, each band wrote incredible songs and put their own spin on the sound. With ‘The Hour of None’ it feels like a Reverend Bizarre or Lord Vicar offshoot that hasn’t found their footing or style yet, which is doubly frustrating because this band already had a unique sound on their first album. It is an odd feeling as a fan and a listener to like an album but to subconsciously avert yourself to it because it is unoriginal and nowhere near as engaging as similar artwork.
My own personal conflicts with style don’t matter that much, though, because the ‘substance’ required for doom metal success is more or less here at a constant, high quality rate. ‘The Hour Be None’ is regal, powerful, and occasionally shakes its cobwebs away and throttles out songs like “Locust Reaper” which reminds me of Wino-era Vitus at 1.5X speed. The gloom and the foreboding takes a break for the tongue-in-cheek sinister and some punkish kicking around for the most sublime 10+ minutes of the hour. The song seriously saves the record for me. All is not lost with Hooded Priest and while they lose style points with me for the serious tonal shift they’re still world class doom metal through and through.
|Released||December 1, 2017|
|BUY/LISTEN on their Bandcamp!||Follow Hooded Priest on Facebook|
Human race will be erased. 3.0/5.0
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