The sixth release from Italian death metal band Hour Of Penance is easily one of the better death metal albums I have heard in quite some time. I would firmly rank Regicide a close second behind Behemoth’s The Satanist for the best death metal album of 2014 so far. It also beats out the two best genre albums from 2013, Exhumed’s Necrocracy and Suffocation’s Pinnacle of Bedlam, by a solid margin in my opinion.
Regicide kicks your ass from the second it starts and literally does not let up. Never have I heard a band move so seamlessly from brutal tempos that border on deathgrind to slow, catchy traditional death metal grooves. The guys in Hour Of Penance have a knack for doing what so many others are unable to do. They can give you both technical musical perfection and fast machine-gun like brutality all in one neat package. You will see exactly what I mean when you check out the crazy blast beat drumming of James Payne and the fast, yet perfect riffs of Paolo Pieri and Giulio Moschini.
In addition to the breakneck pace and technical prowess, the band also adds in the wrinkle of slight guitar harmonization. Don’t worry, brutal death metal fans. Nothing is coming anywhere close to melodic death metal. These higher pitched, melodic riffs on songs like, “Reforging the Crowns” and “The Seas of Light”, are so subtle that most listeners might not even notice, but it is just enough to really help set the band apart even more. This sound is certainly mixed in throughout the album, but it is definitely not on every song. There are still those super fast, brutal death metal tracks that we have all come to know from Hour Of Penance including “Spears of Sacred Doom”, “Redeemer of Atrocity” and “The Sun Worship”.
There are a lot of positives that we can talk about with this record, but what I think I love the most is the major focus on the guitar work, especially the long form guitar solos. So often, the focus in death metal is to be the fastest, loudest and the most brutal with typically short, screechy solos. As I said, this album certainly has all of those elements, but has the addition of finely crafted riffs and more technical solos.
There is really nothing to complain about with regard to Regicide. It has all the elements needed for a near perfect death metal album. The songs are heavy and fast with great grooves. The arrangements are well written and the musicianship is flawless. Also Hour Of Penance provides just enough new and technical wrinkles in the music to really set this one apart. The album is even somewhat of a concept or at the very least a subjective album which seems to be about the subversive effects that overly powerful organized religion can have on world leaders. All the songs are excellent and should not be missed, but the ones I would definitely recommend the most are “Reforging The Crowns”, “Desecrated Souls”, “Resurgence of the Empire”, “Regicide” and The Seas of Light”. Regicide gives you all the great aspects of death metal and leaves any of the weak or crude elements by the wayside making for one of the best death metal listening experiences in quite some time.
Have you checked out Regicide? What are your thoughts on the album? How would you rate it? Tell us about it in the comments section.