Released: 2010, EmanesMetal Records
Reviewer: Luxi Lahtinen
Hooded Priest, this traditional doom/heavy metal act, was originally put together in 2006 by several members of different Dutch and Belgian old school metal acts. The band was meant to be a side project, but soon became a primary focus for each member involved.
CALL FOR THE HEARSE, the band´s debut (rehearsal) demo was recorded in 2008, and the French label Emanes Metal Records got their hands on it in the summer of 2009, offering a record deal to the band.
Hooded Priest´s debut album, DEVIL WORSHIP RECKONING, is a 7-track effort - and I have to admit honestly that it smokes. The band has mixed 80´s pure heavy metal á la Griffin, Savage Grace, Trouble, ADX and the likes - together with Solitude´s (or Solitude Aeturnus) demo era. The music is strong back-to-the-roots type of heavy/doom metal, in which the main emphasis in clearly on catchy riffs, simplicity and striking vocal delivery. The song writing is thoroughly superb on this album in terms of keeping it simple, and everything works amazingly well for them, kind of wanting me to live through the most nostalgic times all over again. Hooded Priest is basically a prime example of how I personally want my doomy heavy metal band to sound like. Catchiness and simplicity are the magic words to make it all work out for me. The last song, "Hooded Priest Pt I & II" just could not reek more of classy doom-filled heavy metal, being a sinfully addictive and genius attempt to put listeners craving more of the same. Also, Hooded Priest can also surprise its listeners by breaking themselves out of a certain musical mold momentarily. In the title track of the album, "Devil Worship Reckoning" - starting from at 3:15 minute mark, the guys have clearly tried out their creative wings in the murky fields of vicious black metal. It does surprise quite a bit yet oddly fits so well into that part of the song structure like the song could not survive without it. Other than that, Hooded Priest´s mission to capture the spirit and vibe of the 80´s metal, has more than well paid off for them. It´s easy to see these guys gaining a sufficient amount of sincere appreciation among the old school metal fans who rather enjoy their metal organic, straight and simple than over-polished, complicated and overproduced. They are seriously great, keeping the flag high for the finest form of traditional heavy/doom metal - and hammering down all the skeptics for the necessity of the bands of their kind in today´s metal scene in which many tend to forget what real metal originally used to be all about. Hooded Priest rocks!