Doom outfit HOODED PRIEST have released their latest full-length record recently, entitled The Hour Be None. Building up their reputation throughout the years as a strong foundation of the genre, especially in Europe, the band have returned. With quite the strong discography backing them, how does The Hour Be None stand in the mix?
The Hour Be None opens with Dolen – Exiting The Real, an ominous and dark intro piece that goes on a little too long to introduce the record. While it is entrancing and does build up intrigue for the record, it could have done with being a little shorter and breaking into the first full track of the record, Call For The Hearse, sooner. Call For The Hearse is a slow, grinding track with simple riffs shadowing Luther Veldmark’s charge on the song, with his smooth yet powerful vocals bursting with more power from time to time. This alternation between softer (yet malevolent) vocals and short jumps in ferocity in his voice make it an interesting listen, but the track as a whole seems to drag on quite a bit.
Herod Again and Mother of Plagues are absolutely the standout tracks on The Hour Be None, with the former being discussed first here. Herod Again has a strong traditional rock vibe pulsating through it, while the distorted guitars have the slight buzz of doom ringing through as Luther Veldmark compliments this style perfectly to create an incredibly catchy track. All of a sudden, the up-tempo pace drops to a slow, malevolent riff from Jeff Von D over the sound of a baby crying, sparking intrigue left right and centre before Luther Veldmark chimes in yet again, his voice now becoming more damning than in the previous section. This dramatic shift in moods from the guitar and the rest of the band is very appealing, and is definitely something that HOODED PRIEST have nailed.
With the second standout, Mother of Plagues, HOODED PRIEST certainly saved the best for last on this record as it is a fantastic closer to the record. Instantly shooting into a heavy riff before slowing down drastically to Quornelius Backus’ beat hiding behind Luther Veldmark’s voice and a simple guitar line, it keeps your attention all the way through. The track building itself back up is equally as enjoyable, making it one of the strongest tracks on the record. One can only wish that the rest of the record had the same impact, but it allows HOODED PRIEST’s finer moments shine through to be appreciated.
Overall, The Hour Be None is a pretty solid doom record that could have been a lot better with a few tweaks here and there. The parts that shine, such as Herod Again and Mother of Plagues, save its downfalls of unnecessarily lengthy intros or lack of some diversity, and make it on the whole enjoyable and something you’d pretty happily pick up and listen to again. It’s certainly a step in the right direction for HOODED PRIEST, as you can see a lot of potential within The Hour Be None, and we look forward to seeing what they do next.
The Hour Be None is out now via I Hate Records.
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