Italian death metal legends Hour of Penance have once again graced us with a new record, and much like their previous works, “Cast The First Stone” is yet another reliable, crushing death metal effort. In fact, the least predictable thing about this record is that it took the band 3 years to release it rather than their usual pace of putting out a record every 2 years.
As you might imagine, “Cast The First Stone” consists of 34 minutes of blast beats, absurdly heavy riffs, and generally just trying to sound as brutal as possible. The vocals are deep and completely inhuman, though you could probably pick up a few words with some concentrated effort. The drumming presents pure mechanical precision, as double bass is played seamlessly and constantly. The riffs or song structures offer little in the way of innovation, but that’s not such a bad thing. The only obvious example of experimentation is in the title track, which is guided by a riff that would sound much more at home a melodic death metal record. This song, in combination with “Wall of Cohorts” (which uses some atmospheric keyboards in the vein of a band like Nocturnus) shows that Hour of Penance can do more than simply bludgeon your skull with an endless rhythmic pounding.
Of course, this barbaric assault is still what the band is best at. It’s also what they spend the vast majority of the record doing. Even the aforementioned title track has some of the speediest, most aggressive moments on the record despite the fact that it is also the most melodic song. Much of the album runs together, which is to be expected for this kind of music. The end result is another reliable, if unspectacular Hour of Penance record. Fans will enjoy the band’s continued loyalty to their sound, while previous detractors will remain unconvinced. Regardless of which side you fall on, one thing is for sure: this album is seriously devastating!
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All of it
3.7/5 or 74%.
Written by Scott