"Beasts of Berzano"

Interview by Earth Dog

Hooded Menace,the kings of Death Doom, unleashed their 9 song masterpiece "Fulfill The Curse" to some great reviews.The album is a classic from "Razorback Records" and while the label has many other great bands,Acid Witch and Hooded Menace are the best two for what i am into.Here is a interview with the main man Lasse, AKA "Leper of Berzano"...

WORMWOOD CHRONICLES: Cheers for this allowing me this chance for a interview.Let's startat the beginning...I read the band really started off by you playing Candlemass songs with more deathly vocals !

LASSE: My pleasure! Yep, that's exactly how it all started.

WC: The album has been a surprise to everyone,it seemed to come out of nowhere and now it's somewhat of a Death/Doom classic.Are you pleased with the reaction the CD has got ?

L: Wow! Thanks for the compliment! Yes, I have nothing to complain. The feedback has been amazing. We never expected getting this much attention. Well, I mean it's not like we are a huge band now, haha, but it has been an uphill battle since day one and we know the album came out great but still...we are a bit shocked about the awesome feedback. Good to see that people care about this type of music.

WC: Did it take very long to get that crushing guitar sound or did it all happen naturally ?

L: It took some time to crank it right but not like days...let's say it took more than a couple of hours. It was not found by accident. It was supposed to be heavy, crumbly and dark and I worked hard to get it even tho I can't say it took days, ha! I.'m a bit surprised that it turned out that good actually because usually I have had problems getting the sound I wanted to.

WC: The atmosphere of the CD from the artwork to the music is "pure horror doom".Was that the plan for the band all along ?

L: Yeah, you can say horror is a huge part of our "concept". No horror -no Hooded Menace.

WC: A lot of the lyrics seem to be influenced by horror films featuring monsters and animals like werewolves and so on.Did you sit around watching a lot of these films before recording or was it already in your head ?

L: It was already in our heads. So, we didn't sit around watching the films over and over again. We were in the mood already.

WC: What is your favorite track from the album in terms of lyrics ?

L: Hmmm...maybe the opening track "Rotting Rampage (Menace of the Skeletal Dead)" written by Billy Razorback. The lyrics are very simple actually and they are based on the movie called The Ghost Galleon from the Blind Dead film series (aka "Horror of the Zombies"---Grand Templar Mality) . I think the lyrics capture the mood of that flick in an very efficient and straightforward way. Anyway, it's hard to pick up the best. I like them all. The next day I could name another track. Right now "Rotting Rampage" just came to my mind first as a very successful text.

WC: How did the deal with "Razorback" come about.That label is full of bands of extremely high quality....

L: Basically Billy from Razorback who I was friends with already was there from the start when Hooded Menace was born. I told him that we are jamming Candlemass with death metal vocals and that we are going to write our own material that will be a mixture of doom and death metal. He got really excited about it and came up with his ideas for the lyrics etc. He even came up with the name Hooded Menace. When he heard our demo "The Eyeless Horde" it became clear that he would release the album. So we kinda hooked up from the very beginning.

WC: .I know you were influenced by Candlemass,early Cathedral,Winter etc but are there any bands outside of the Metal world that made a impact ?

L: Fabio Frizzi, Goblin...great horror film soundtracks in general.

WC: .I must say the vocal sound is one of the best i have heard in a long time.Did you have to work on it a lot to get it right ?

L: Thanks again! Yeah, singing is the hardest part. I had some problems with it at first but then I got it.

WC: .With the guitar work,who would you say has had the biggest influence on Hooded Menace ?

L: Candlemass , definitely.

WC: The band has kept a pretty low profile in terms of band photos and such.Do you prefer to just use the artwork for promotional purposes ?

L: At first we though tabout having only drawn art for promotional purposes but now it seems like we are going to take some band photos in the near future. It'll be cool and fun actually. We never had anything against band pics, we just thought that it could be fun and different to use drawings only. But now as we have done that for some time already, we are getting into the idea of having band pics, ha!

WC: The album is now out on vinyl with slightly different artwork ! Do you noticeany difference in the sound with the vinyl release ?

L: Yeah, I guess the vinyl sounds more rough (in a good way of course) but well, my vinyl player set up could be better. I'd like to play it with a really good set up. Anyway, I like to listen to it in both formats. I don't listen to it often, tho.

WC: .I also read that Billy Nocera(Razorback) came up with the name for the band. Did he have much of a influence on the actual music ?

L: Yes, he came up with the name but musically we did our own thing. The lyrics he wrote for us could have had a little influence on me as I wrote some of the songs. Putting me in a certain mood and so on, you know.

WC: You are from Finland which has always from what i can tell has had a great Metal heritage.What is the Finnish scene like for extreme underground Metal bands ?

L: I guess it's pretty much alive. Lots of bands....more than I know. I don't follow the scene that much. I'm too focused on my own things to keep up with everything. I have always been like that. Some active bands worth mentioning are Slugathor, Vorum, Ascended, Fall of the Idols, Spiritus Mortis, Speedtrap...

WC: Are we going to see a Hooded Menace tour anytime soon.I think a Razorback Records Showcase tour would be amazing !!!

L: Man, if there ever will be a Razorback Showcase tour I'm in, haha! I don't know about touring actually. I'm not even sure
if we wanna play gigs at all! I'm more into creating new stuff and recording it but never say never...time will tell.

WC: Have you been working on any new tracks for another Hooded Menace album and if so,can you tell us a bit about them ?

L: Yeah, 6 songs are written already and we need 2 more. It looks like there will be 8 songs on the 2nd album. They are in the same vein as the material on the debut album. Maybe it's a bit more melodic at times but then again some parts are darker than ever. If you liked the first album you will like the second as well. The production will be rawer, I guess.

WC: Well, before the interview gets too long I better wrap up by saying I think the album is one of the best releases of recent years.Is there anything you want to add ?

L: Thanks! Glad you like the album and thanks for this interview! It didn't get "too long" because of my short answers, ha! Sorry about that! I'm a bt in a hurry! Thanks for the support and keep your eyes and ears open for the upcoming Hooded Menace splits and the 2nd album! Take care!