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Hour of Penance

One of my favorite Death Metal albums from 2012 was Sedition by Hour of Penance, and for good reason. Next to Origin‘s output, that album was pure technical mayhem that put me right in my place. I even had the opportunity catch the band live, do an in-person interview (which can be viewed here), and witnessing some of the cuts off that album and their earlier material only made me that much more of a fan. So it killed me to read on various sites and among my friends that their latest effort, Regicide, was sort of a flop. I was immediately worried, and sadly, I had every right to be it seems.

The other day I broke down and decided to finally give Regicide a spin and see what’s up with one of my new favorite maestros of complex brutality while out getting some chores done. Sadly, there wasn’t much technicality to be found, or even anything too uniquely brutal. For the most part it sounded like your standard Brutal Death Metal album comparable to modern Job for a Cowboy, but at least done well enough to make you bob your head along once in a while. No particular song really stuck out from my first spin through the release other than “Redeemer of Atrocity,” and that’s due to the blistering bass kicks that made me take notice.

Regicide also just felt unoriginal. Sure, Sedition wasn’t that unique either, but god damn was it a violent outing. Here each song sounded like a cheap Aborted or Nile knock-off. I even felt the latter of the two in the audio quality. One of the reasons I can’t stand about Nile‘s recent Nuclear Blast Records releases is because the audio is more treble oriented, something I don’t think suits the Death Metal genre well all the time. That appears on Regicide as well, and it isn’t even all that crisp to me.

I’m not saying Regicide is a bad album, but it definitely left me bored and desperately looking for something to keep my attention on the road instead of looking around at all the familiar surroundings that offered nothing of interest either. I have no idea why Hour of Penance decided to go with a by-the-books semi-Brutal Death Metal route and this mastering. I’m hoping that none of this has to do with their recent line-up change that brought in a new bassist and drummer. I would love to see these guys live again, and I’ll be absolutely heartbroken if they can’t pull off any of their older material.

Hopefully when I get to the review stage for Regicide my views towards it change. Right now, on a personal level, I just can’t get into it. This seems like a huge step backwards for the group, and I know I’m not the only one who feels this way. It’s just such a shame, especially right after such a ground breaking album. But, who knows, maybe on closer inspection it’ll grow on me, or I may appreciate it more on a critical level than just something I hoped to bang my head to and keep me from actually getting out of my car and pulling every obnoxious driver in north eastern Pennsylvania out their car through their window by the eye sockets and beat them upside the head with their own tire iron.

…I mean, keep me alert and not pass out behind the wheel. Yeah, that’s what I meant. Sure.

Hour of Penance
Hour of Penance

Digital review material for this article provided by Prosthetic Records.