CD Review: Hour of Penance / Regicide
Reviewed by: B. Cross
Italian death metal stalwarts Hour of Penance have spent their career taking no prisoners, and extremity is assured on their sixth album Regicide. Kicking things off with an intro reminiscent of a dark fantasy film, the band immediately shifts into high gear with “Reforging the Crowns.” From there to album finisher “Theogony,” Hour of Penance have created a solid slab of high-octane death metal that runs at full speed.
Paolo Pieri dishes out some uncompromising vocals, without ever sounding too guttural or too over-the-top. Accompanied by fellow guitarist Giulio Moschini, their technical skill is outstanding throughout the record. Standouts like “Spears of Sacred Doom” and the title track burn your eardrums with brutal riffs that still manage to keep some melody going.
Regicide’s clear production allows the band’s songwriting and musicianship to really shine through, especially the shredding solo work. I know some extreme metal purists enjoy a lo-fi, recorded-in-a-garage sound, but it just wouldn’t work here. You wouldn’t want to obscure those intricate riffs under a layer of mud, now would you?
Even the drums are razor-sharp. Sickening blastbeats courtesy of James Payne are never overbearing, flowing into the overall mix with ease, and Marco Mastrobuono’s basslines are expertly layered atop the percussion. Ominous choral arrangements round out the whole package, especially on “Desecrated Souls,” giving Regicide a very slight classical feel without veering into symphonic metal territory.
Clocking in at just over forty minutes of brutality, Regicide is powerful death metal that sinks its claws in deep and refuses to release you. (Sony should just hire these guys to score the next God of War game.) Hour of Penance has outdone themselves, and they’ll soon be carving a swath of destruction across the country when they embark on the “Conquerors of the World” tour alongside Septicflesh, Fleshgod Apocalypse, and Necronomicon. Don’t miss it, and in the meantime, grab a copy of Regicide when it drops on May 13 from Prosthetic Records. (Pre-order it on iTunes now here.)