South Europe never had many international known bands over the past decades. Especially in the extreme scene of metal you should try to find a couple of them. There are some black metal bands with the international recognition such as Rotting Christ. Probably the sun, which is visible and hot almost the whole year, didn’t give much of inspiration for the Italians, Greeks or Spanish metal bands. Though on the past years the death metal scene in Italy explode with bands such as Hour Of Penance and Fleshgod Apocalypse.
Hour Of Penance is a brutal death metal group from Roma, Italy. Their music is the definition of brutal with many technical and even grind ingredients. If you didn’t know where they come from you could confuse them for a typical US death metal band.
This is their fifth album and if you haven’t heard from them now it is time to do so. In “Sedition” the changes in their music aren’t big, though the changes of their line-up were. After the departure of Francesco Paoli, that left the vocal duties on Hour Of Penance to become the drummer for Fleshgod Apocalypse, and the later departure of the drummer Mauro Mercurio made the future of the group questionable.
“Sedition” was the answer on the worries of the fans. This album is claiming that Hour Of Penance are here more empowered than ever. On the music level here is another CD that would stay inside your players for a long time. There aren’t major differences with the previous albums. Their music is still intense as it has always been.
Many intros of the songs have an Arabic feeling with those eastern scales that are listenable clearly. This is something that reminds me the influence of Nile and Behemoth on the evolution of the modern death metal. This is not a disadvantage by any meaning. The work of the composition and the orchestration has my admiration.
The guitarists made a great effort with the riffing, being slightly technical yet not incomprehensible. In addition the melodies of the leading guitar do combine perfect with the speed and the aggressive of the CD. The songs have also a grinding feeling without anyone could blame the band for being retrospective. The orchestration is hiding an epic taste. It is something that underlines the talent of the musicians of Hour Of Penance, especially Mr. Giulio Moschini.
The next mentioned subject should be the vocals. Mr. Pieri did a great work. The vocals are extreme enough as well as clear too. Some should claim that he is not as brutal as his predecessor. That is true but not something to criticize. And it is another point that makes the epic elements listenable. By epic I must make it clear to you that I don’t mean Hour Of Penance would be a great support band for Candlemass. I must refer to that so no one get confused; this band plays 100 % modern death metal.
The drumming in a death metal group should mention separately. As it is something of great significance in that type of albums. In “Sedition” the drummer give us a lesson of fast blast beats and beautiful breaks. The double-bass blast beats is unstoppable and it must bleed the bass drums. James Payne is a machine gun behind the drum kit and in many songs the great breaks and the rhythm reminds me of crust rhythms.
The production on this album is clear enough. The only objections by me are two. First of all I find myself complaining once again for the almost “invisible” bass lines. Death metal has the ability to disappear the effort of the bass players. The other spot that I am referring to is the triggering on the drums. There many times that you can listen to the drumming as if they are fake or programmed. That alone made me to lower the rating.
Overall this is 100 % great death metal from Italy. Once more I must say that this is modern death metal and the fans of Nile, Behemoth, Kataklysm or even Hate Eternal do not hesitate and welcome Hour Of Penance if you haven’t already.