I don’t feel ill at ease saying that Hour of Penance (or Hour of Penanz as they say in Rome) is the best band Italy has spawned in the last couple of years. I could count world-challenging level Death Metal bands on a hand in the last 15 years and this definitely falls among them. It’s a combination of different things that makes this band unique: despite they broadly belong to the “Brutal Death” scene, there’s something which parts them definitely from the strict set of laws of the genre. There is a vague old school feel in their chords which just part them from the roster of other Amputated Vein – Unmatched Brutality – Neurotic – Unique Leader bands (from what I understood have some works going with this last label). The point is that this band has VISION. A clear concept they explore in every release from the songwriting to the lyrical concepts. Even on stage, this is a band with no frills, no smiles, no clownish attire – they just blast and spew forth blasphemy. Period. I really find it gratifying that one of the first bands able to mix the old and new world of Death Metal so well actually comes from my country.
Trying to portray them musicwise, Hour of Penance are a powerhouse of razor-sharp edged riffs, technical tempo changes, swirling solos and complex hyperfast drumming, all intricately woven and recently reinforced by a new singer whose fast spoken style is definitely similar to that of a way deeper Corpsegrinder (albeit maybe a little bit flatter). Musical references to Morbid Angel, Centurian, Krisiun – and hell one can even whisper Noism or Rotten Sound – are harder here than any post-Suffocation American band (which honestly drove some doubt in me on the choice of covering a song like “Catatonia” on stage).
This 3 track sampler is a recent release made to spotlight this new singer to the world. Forget any layout here, this is just a Cd-r with home printed cover (I can grumble this is actually the kind of demos you give for free… even if 3 Euros was cheap enough) – which might be Ok, if at least track titles were written here!
Summing it up, this is a good hope of things to come. This is surely one of the five best bands ever out of my country, talking about extreme Metal.