Review 2195 : Hour of Penance – Devotion – English

Ninth album for Hour of Penance.

Active on the Italian scene since 1999, the band made up of Giulio Moschini (guitar, Coffin Birth), Paolo Pieri (guitar/vocals, ex-Aborym), Marco Mastrobuono (bass, Coffin Birth, Instigate) and their new drummer Giacomo Torti (Bloodtruth, Fjellheim, ex-Ade) return for their 25th anniversary with Devotion, released by Agonia Records.

The album kicks off with Devotion for Tyranny and its dark, majestic introduction to thick massive riffs, complemented by savage vocal parts. The band’s touch of brutal complexity immediately resurfaces to molest us, sometimes accompanied by a few keyboards, as on Parasitic Chain of Command, which also places a hint of dissonance in the leads and a crushing bass. The rhythm is slightly more jerky, promising real carnage live, before returning to a more Old School approach on Birthright Abolished, which makes no secret of its rage and rolls over us unmercifully for over three minutes. The album continues with the chaotic and oppressive Retaliate, which takes advantage of pessimistic samples to embellish its always aggressive riffs and its furious blast, then the tempo accelerates again with Breathe the Dust of Their Dead and its screaming harmonics. The solos remain in this piercing dynamic, while the basis remains just as agitated, before giving way to The Morality of Warfare and its few wilder and more ethereal notes, which contrast with the raw power of the musicians. Severance takes off again at full speed, with an infernal precision that turns each of its riffs into a veritable bulldozer, leaving the ominous final to lead us into The Ravenous Heralds, which takes over the correction at a moment’s notice and in turn pours out all its power thanks to extremely effective patterns. The orchestrations and choirs lend a mystical dimension to the composition, which eventually leads to A Desert Called Peace, with its boundless violence and impenetrable atmosphere created by the constant riffing. The end of the album comes with Spiralling into Decline, which rivals brutality and technicality to make this final track the climax of its epic-sounding violence.

Although the band’s cover art, created in part by Midjourney, has made its mark, Hour of Penance remains a veritable monument to violence. Its Old School influences make Devotion a compendium of complexity and unmistakable fury.


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