Despite the general metal community’s love of modern death metal, it’s always seemed like a stagnant style of music to me. There is only so much you can do with 220+ BPM blast beats, double bass, and tremolo picking for 40 minutes straight. Of all of the bands that do this, Hour of Penance is certainly among the better ones. Their new record, “Regicide”, is largely in the same vein as described above, but there are a couple of reasons why you might otherwise visit this record. The first is the opener, “Reforging The Crowns”, which shows some old school thrash riffing that is a bit more melodic in nature. This riff dominates much of the song, and brings a new energy to the band’s sound (which unfortunately is mostly squashed when the blasts kick in). Nevertheless, this is a killer song that really shows the potential of this band. Another highlight is the second track, “Desecrated Souls”. After a couple of minutes of Hour of Penance’s standard sound, they bust out an insane riff that shows the more technical side of the band.
Most of the remainder of the record is what you’d expect. The production definitely enhances this sound. The drums aren’t too loud, nor are they particularly tinny. The kicks are punishing; any time they get a chance to shine without the excessive blasting, you’ll notice how crushing they are. This is evident at quite a few points in “Desecrated Souls”, particularly near the start. The guitars do manage to cut through the drums well, but once the vocals are added to the mix, the riffs tend to get lost unless you really listen for them. The guitars shine the most when they are soloing, and there are a surprising number of leads on this record. While nothing spectacular, they are great to help break up the monotony of the album.
While “Regicide” is certainly a better effort than the band’s last album, I struggle to recommend it for anything beyond a brutal experience. When the album is over, there is little that will bring you back to this specific album. If you are looking to headbang for the better part of an hour, then it will definitely fill that need, but this is nothing that countless other bands can’t offer. For that matter, the band themselves did a better job with this on “Paradogma”. The only reason I say that Hour of Penance is better than the standard band of this sound is because they really don't mess anything up at any point on their albums. Unless you can’t get enough of this sound, “Regicide” is probably worth a pass.
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"Reforging The Crowns"
3.5/5 or 70%.
Written by Scott