HOUR OF PENANCE
Italy, Unique Leader Records, Technical Brutal Death Metal
I discovered Hour of Penance right after they released this album, and I have to say, I’m damn impressed. I’ve always thought that satanists/anti-christians had the best metal, and this has most definately confirmed this. It’s a relentless onslaught which can’t be stopped.
The first song on the album is called “Paradogma”, and it starts the album of with an atmoshperic orchestral string section, that slowly gets louder and louder, and then… BAM! Everything kicks off at Mach 7, before an ear-shattering growl destroys everything. The song carries on for another few minutes, and after this, the next few songs follow suit.
“Malevolence of the Righteous” is a bit slower, but still just as heavy an attack on everything within a 2 foot radius of the speaker system the album’s playing through. After that, you’ll have to brace yourselves for yet more ungodly speed and brutality.
I have to praise the precision at this point, everything is played to the highest standard, and produced and mixed flawlessly. The guitarists (one of which is also the vocalist) play catchy riffs with an unbeatable tone; not so much low distortion as a high treble, volume-goes-to-11 sort of tone. The solos cut through everything at the speed of light. The drums are also worth praise, the drummer has some serious talent, and it shows on this release. It sounds more like he’s shooting a machine gun while he plays, than actual drumming. The bass pounds along seperately, filling the low frequencies with perfection.
I only have 3 problems with this otherwise incredible release:
1. The guitar riffs and solos sound too similar, it sometimes feels like listening to the same song over and over.
2. The vocals also sound too similar, and too much like every other death metal vocalist at the moment. Given, he has his moments of pure awesomeness, and those moments come often, but I still feel more could be done.
3. The final track, “Apeothosis” starts with a fade-in breakdown (one of the one note chug-a-lug sort of ones) which pretty much ruins everything. I still can’t let that get in the way of my rating too much, though. All in all though, I’d HIGHLY recommend this album to any death metalhead, even with just the slightest interest in technical death metal.