"Pray for Death" (Victory; 2003)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

As East Coast Editor Christopher J. Kelter and I have discussed on many occasions, I suck when it comes to differentiating between the many sub-genres of metal. There are so many little differences that transform a band's music from hardcore to metalcore to whatever that I often have trouble telling the difference between this sub-genre and that. Of course, that being said, it doesn't bother me, because I dislike "labels" anyway.

Bands like Hoods are part of my identification problem. Yes, I would classify the music as hardcore: it's fast-paced, riddled with crunchy guitar-riffs and punctuated by staccato drums. But I'd also say there's a little metalcore in there as well - the riffs aren't quite as harsh as I'd expect.

But then vocalist Benito Garcia chimes in (or should I say roars in) and, all of the sudden, I wonder if I'm not listening to a death metal band. Garcia never reaches "cookie monster" level, but his grinding, extreme, guttural vocals are not the screaming loud-talk vocals I expect when I'm listening to a hardcore CD. (Although, at times - as on "E Pugne Limpio," it is).

Although I'm not a big fan of extreme vocals, I guess Garcia's throat work sets Hoods apart from other bands. It certainly increases Hoods potential listening audience, as fans of extreme music that don't care for hardcore will probably find something about "Pray for Death" to their liking.

Hoods:  Mike Hood - guitar, vocals, keyboards; Benito Garcia - vocals; Mario Maynor - bass; Navene Koperweis - drums.

For more information, check out http://www.myspace.com/sactohoods.

"Time ... The Destroyer" (Victory; 2001)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

While hardcore is not my favorite style of heavy music, I must say that I'm beginning to appreciate metalcore a lot more lately. I have Hatebreed's latest CD, "Perseverance," to thank for that. Hoods are the first beneficiary of that new appreciation as my eyes are now wide-open to the power and fury that is metalcore.

As the bastard child of hardcore, metalcore crosses the hardcore and metal communities by combing the raw, unbridled fury of hardcore with the chiseled and precision riffing of metal. Hoods, based in Sacramento and one of the better known names in the hardcore underground, have released four self-produced full-length CDs before signing to Victory Records and releasing their label debut, "Time The Destroyer." That already speaks a lot of their dedication, patience, and perseverance - all revered values in the hardcore community. 

The thirteen tracks (in 30 minutes no less, making for a quick listen) speak of the "do it yourself" ethic espoused by hardcore, but Hoods aren't afraid to describe the darker side of life in their lyrics in unflinching terms. Hoods' music is gritty and very upfront about the harsh realities of life. The rock-solid rhythm section is foundation a-plenty for Mike Hood to build his huge, metal riffs upon. However, even when he quiets down in the intro to "Life" there is a sense of foreboding at the edge of your mind's eye. Hood always keeps the music interesting with cool breakdowns and inventive guitar passages often not heard in hardcore.

While I doubt Hoods' "Time The Destroyer" will make a lot of fans of heavy music outside of hardcore and metalcore, it is certain that fans of the two previously mentioned genres will very much like to hear Hood's brand of music.

"Time ... The Destroyer" was produced by Michael Rosen. The production is solid and clear which makes listening to the CD all the more fun.

Hoods: Ben Garcia on vocals, Mike Hood on guitars, Mario Maynor on bass, and Jeremy Roberts on drums.

For more information, check out http://www.myspace.com/sactohoods.

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.


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Copyright 2003 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 11 Oct 2021 20:43:53 -0400 .