Like Thou, Hooded Menace has made a habit of releasing lots of EP and splits between albums, and many of those releases feature some of their best songs. Sadly, the vinyl frenzy is still creating a rush towards limited edition release and Doomentia, who released all of Hooded Menace’s material (apart from the split with Ilsa, released on Contagion), is one of these very looked after label for resellers on Ebay. Therefore, most of the material on this compilation has become very hard to find, especially the split with Asphyx, if you want to get everything on vinyl. For those of you who simply want to listen to the song easily, this compilation is a perfect companion to your collection of Hooded Menace albums.
The first two songs will be very well know to fans since they are just alternative versions of songs re-recorded for their debut album, Fulfill the curse. The sound is just a bit more rough and has a more swedish edge than on the album, which is perfectly fine by me, especially considering how good these songs are. Afterwards, the songs come in their order of release, starting with the split with Anima Morte, then with Coffins, Ilsa, Asphyx, Horse Latitudes, the Labyrinth of carrion breeze EP and finally the split with Loss.
All of the material here is excellent and features some of the band’s best songs. The haunted ossuary (off the split with Coffins) stands out as my favorite, but you can easily have a different choice considering the level of quality contained on Gloom immemorial. The booklet also features all of the original part and is quite thick, which makes it very impractical to put it back in the folder without bits of it being torn apart.
Musically, the only frustration comes from the fact that since this is a compilation of songs that were supposed to stand out, the whole album is quite long, clocking at more than an hour, with most songs being some of the most epic ones Hooded Menace has written. Therefore, fans should not be surprised to not find the coherence of other releases.
On the other hand, even if Gloom immemorial is not a best of, you could easily consider this a good introduction to the band’s biggest strength. Heavy doom riffs with some epic and morose leads influenced as much by Cathedral and by Asphyx. The perfect kind of combination of classic doom and old school death metal. As they are getting ready to release their fourth album, Gloom immemorial closes one part of Hooded Menace‘s career quite nicely and prepare us for more release. Keep them coming !