Let's go from the beginning with Hooded Menace and their first album "Fulfill the Curse" (2008), where the band was very rough and heavy, and at the same time they had archaic in its rhythms, but still became addictive. Then this same essence continued in many subsequent albums until reaching “Ossuarium Silhouettes Unhallowed” (2018). Maintaining that Doom / Death Metal mix that becomes one of the styles that indirectly catches my attention, because there are always Finnish or English sounds. So, after 3 years you have the new production of this Finnish band, "The Tritonus Bell" released by Season of Mist, and the idea that I had of the band was really different because this album is a Heavy / Doom album with guttural voices (and remember that guttural voices don't determine a Death Metal band) and I think it is something that was not sought by the band since with its predecessor these points were had in some songs and rhythms. But now the train turns perfectly to its 80s metal influences. Interview with Lasse.

LEER LA ENTREVISTA EN ESPAÑOL: ENTREVISTA A HOODED MENACE

Lasse Pyykkö (guitar & bass)

DARGEDIK: Welcome Lasse to the Dargedik webzine pages, it’s a great pleasure to talk with you about the band and your new album “The Tritonus Bell”. Did you write this new album during the pandemic? Or was it before? 

HOODED MENACE: Hi, thanks for having me! The songs were written before the pandemic hit. 

DARGEDIK: I’ve heard all discography of the band and this new album with the single “Blood Ornaments”. Where I denoted something, the Heavy Metal influences are more attached to this new song and I think the whole album. So, why did you decide to include these classic elements into your Death / Doom Metal style? Do you think with this change the band will take more classic stuff? 

HOODED MENACE: Having grown up in the '80s, the 80´s heavy metal is ingrained the deepest into my brain, so it actually felt very natural to finally channel more of that sound into our music, especially now that we are already at our 6th album. It’s important to be able to refine the sound a bit and avoid painting yourself into a corner, you know. It’s not like we planned this, even if the ideas were there before any notes were written. The songs flowed out pretty naturally, really. It’s not easy, it takes time, but it will flow eventually if you are patient and stay inspired. I could imagine us continuing to add the 80´s heavy metal vibes into our sound in the future as well, but it’s too early to think about that, really. 

Pekka Koskelo (drums)

DARGEDIK: Into the discography subject, the band starts their career in 2007 and then 14 years later you have 6 Full-lengths included this “The Tritonus Bell”. Where the band releases albums every 2 or 3 years. Where does all this imagination come from to be active every 2 or 3 years? And do you think when an album is released with few spaces of time, creativity will decay a little? 

HOODED MENACE: Anyways, I´m not sure why it’s always something like 3 years between the albums. Maybe it’s the best rhythm for us to do this thing properly, at least so far… I don’t know, and frankly, I’m not going to put any pressure on me because of that. I mean, I’m not going to expect us to put out the 7th album in three years from now. It will be ready when it will be ready. It’s actually pretty amazing how many albums in such short-time bands were released in the '80s, and then they also toured their asses off on the top of it. It makes us look like total lazy asses (laughs)! 

DARGEDIK: Another detail with discography was that you worked with Season of Mist with the last two albums, but before you signed with Relapse Records, Profound Lore Records, and Razorback Recordings. What are your memories with Razorback Recordings at the beginning of Hooded Menace? And why were the reasons for change labels in the past until reaching Season Mist? 

HOODED MENACE: In the beginning, things were cozy and laid back at the tiny Razorback, it was just like “let’s make a record and see what happens” -kinda vibe. There were zero expectations, zero budget basically… Soon things got a bit sour though, to say mildly (laughs). Let’s put it this way; the band grew out of the label sooner than anyone expected. Since then we’ve been switching labels as good opportunities have come our way. I don’t believe there is such thing as a “perfect label”, so instead of sticking to one label, we have just kept going on and getting experiences. 

Teemu Hannonen (guitar)

DARGEDIK: More details with the splits edition in Hooded Menace is that you have seven splits with different bands in the world. Why is there such a penchant for Hooded Menace to do splits? And with these details, could it be said that the band is no longer an underground band? Coz it exists in many catalogs. 

HOODED MENACE: As beautiful idea as it is to join forces, so to speak, with a band that you have respect for, a split record is not my favorite format though. Sure there is some excellent stuff released on splits, but mostly I dig a regular, single-band release. Of course, I’m happy and grateful for our split records, but it’s not something we want to do on a regular basis. It was fun before, but when you are at your 6th album, you may want to save shit for full albums (laughs). I’m more interested in doing a new Hooded Menace EP or something, rather than one more split, but you never know… When comes to us being labeled as an underground or overground band or whatever - I could not care less, really. 

DARGEDIK: Talking about the cover arts of the last two albums like “Ossuarium Silhouettes Unhallowed” (2018) and “The Tritonus Bell”. Both have great painters as Adam Burke and the legend Wes Benscoter. For that reason, how do you choose the painters for a new cover? And do you get into the ideas of the painters to have the cover? Do you let the artist do his job just by listening to the music of the new production? 

HOODED MENACE: We’ve always liked to work with different artists and this time it was Wes Benscoter - finally. We’ve been wanting to work with him someday and it turned out that Wes was feeling the same way about us, so there you go! Sometimes the artists create something on their own but most often we have a specific idea in mind, which was the case with The Tritonus Bell as well. I introduced my cover art concept to Wes, he took it from there and delivered. We could not be much happier with the results. I don’t think we’ve ever let the artists hear the new music, no one ever asked actually, but sometimes we have sent over some of the album lyrics for inspiration.

Harri Kuokkanen (Voz)

DARGEDIK: Into this matter, I have a band and I try to contact Adam Burke in the past, but I called him, I wrote him and more things and he never answered me, was it difficult to contact him for the cover of “Ossuarium Silhouettes Unhallowed” (2018)? o Was it Season of mist's idea to contact him? 

HOODED MENACE: I contacted Adam myself and it was not difficult at all to get a reply from him. 

DARGEDIK: Beyond finding dark and gloomy sensations in this "The Tritonus Bell" or relating to style labels. We will talk about an abstract topic such as synesthesia. How would you describe the smells and flavors that the listener will find in this "The Tritonus Bell"? Coz for me, there is that rotten taste and smells of death. 

HOODED MENACE: I´ll leave that for listeners to decide. 

DARGEDIK: Into the matter of how an underground band and a conventional band was should be considered, there are patterns that more vinyl or cassette productions stick to the underground concept, and the CD only expanded the collections of the fans. What do you think are the factors for fans to stick to this underground metal concept? And where are located the digital platforms? 

HOODED MENACE: Yeah, it looks like CD´s are considered a cheap format with not much value to them and even tapes seem to be more valued these days, but I think it’s also that tapes are considered a “cooler” format - more old school, you know. I suppose for younger people that weren’t around during the heydays of tape it’s an exciting and cool, old-school format. Personally, I don’t think tape is a very handy format as it is not very durable and the cover art is even smaller than on CD, but I guess I like it for some stupid nostalgia, and they are pretty cheap to make too. I find digital platforms great for discovering new bands and albums or just for a random jam. I don’t know how underground we´re considered these days, but from my experience, people buy digital albums quite a lot. 


DARGEDIK: According to you, where is located the vinyl, tape, and CD into the metal scene nowadays, are these physical underground formats? Or are these mainstream formats? Coz as I said into the previous question, some people of this new generation prefer to hear an album in Vynil or Tape and not CD. 

HOODED MENACE: Streaming is the mainstream format, but yeah, especially in heavy metal and punk scenes people crave a physical format be it LP or tape, and I believe that even CD´s will be cool again if they aren’t already. I don’t really follow the scene too much. 

DARGEDIK: Another detail is about the listening methods of the fans, coz this new generation prefers to hear one or two songs on the digital platforms. What are you think about the albums doesn’t have the same impact in comparison to the 80s or 90s? And what do bands need to do to improve the listening of all songs in albums? 

HOODED MENACE: It’s lame and I’d switch back to pre-internet days anytime, but I’d rather conform to modern times than whine about it. It is what it is, but that won’t stop us from making albums and considering albums as an entirety that people should be listening to as a whole instead of jamming one or two random tracks from streaming services. But to each his own. 

DARGEDIK: In recent years, old school Death Metal began to saturate, and into this subject, we talked to Tomb Mold, Necrowretch, and other bands more about old school Death Metal going to saturate in the next 5 or 10 years and the style will wane in creativity. Do you think old-school Death Metal will saturate in the next few years? Is there a way to expand the style without looking at the past? 

HOODED MENACE: I might be a picky bastard when comes to death metal, but it is quite seldom these days that I find a death metal band that really excites me. There are some bands that stand out, but I can definitely see this massive pile of bands that sound like everyone else and it bores the hell out of me. But this was my feeling also in the early '90s when death metal peaked and I found the genre pretty much diluted and uninspiring at that point. Things go in cycles though, and people pick it up again and get inspired and excited like it was a new thing. 


DARGEDIK: Going beyond Hooded Menace, you played in a legendary band as Phlegethon is it in Finland. Beyond the compilations released on CD and vinyl, did you think about returning to these times with the first album from Phlegethon? If so, when would this first full length see the light of day? Coz for me it’s a great band that have to return for listening more music and with technology to do by oneself is possible. 

HOODED MENACE: No, we don’t have plans to return and make an album. We have been jamming the old songs for a couple of times though, but it’s nothing serious - just a gathering of four old farts. I don’t think anyone of us got a thrill out of it like “this is what we should be doing”. 

DARGEDIK: When I talking to other metal bands, musicians and people talk about Finland as one of the best countries to listen to heavy metal in the streets, bars, restaurants, and more places. For this reason, one of the details that always comes to mind is the sound from there, because it is different compared to other countries, especially when we speak of Power Metal, Doom Metal, Black Metal, and Death Metal. Why is Heavy Metal in Finland more popular than in other countries in Europe? 

HOODED MENACE: A very often asked question… I don’t know the reason but I’d like to think it’s because of all the darkness and cold that we have to deal with here. But seriously, we are a melancholic nation. There’s something in the darker types of music that click with Finnish mentality. 

DARGEDIK: Speaking of the Finnish sound within Death Metal, there are many things that were left unfinished in the early and mid-90s, because in those years bands like Phlegethon, Demigod, Demilich, Depravity, Rippikoulu, Abhorrence, Pestigore, Disgrace, Xysma, Necropsy, Funebre, Festerday, Sentenced, Convulse and Purtenance came out to the world with an original and impressive sound, which years later they were forgotten because they released only one or two full-length productions, and other bands only stayed with demonstrations in the 90s. What was the main reason that all these bands, including Phlegethon, stopped producing new albums or continuing with the bands during the 90s? Also, why did some of these decide to reappear in this new century? 

HOODED MENACE: I can't speak for anyone on why they decided to come back in this new century, but I think that many of those early bands simply grew out of death metal, they got bored of it when too many bands appeared and the special vibe was lost. You have to remember everyone in those bands was still just a youngster and keen to explore what else there is besides death metal. This is exactly what happened to Phlegethon

DARGEDIK: Well Lasse, the sad time arrived at this interview, I hope you enjoy this one as I did and thank you very much for your time. Congratulations for the new album. Take care during this pandemic situation and our best wishes from this part of the world. Any last words for your fans in Latin America and Dargedik readers? 

HOODED MENACE: Thanks for the interview! Take care and check out our new album out in August 2021 via Season of Mist!

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