“Cast The First Stone”

By Dr. Abner Mality

The call to battle has come and it is time to march. Hour of Penance shall be our soundtrack to the clash of man, monster and machinery. This music screams WAR from the first note to the last.

Coming from the incredibly fertile Italian death metal scene, Hour of Penance didn’t just fall off the tank yesterday. They’ve been crushing skulls with precision death metal for quite a while and have a sizable following. If you are tired of waiting for the new Morbid Angel or maybe fearing that release, then “Cast The First Stone” will quench your thirst for gore. It’s a massive sounding album in the vein of Morbid Angel and related acts like Hate Eternal and Nile. There is something very militaristic about their vision of death metal. The songs are compact and precise and surge forward like a relentless army brigade. The drumming also seems to have a military beat to it.

I’m impressed with how brief and punchy every tune here is, yet still able to blast through many riff and tempo changes. This is technical death metal but the technicality seems to be a side effect instead of the main reason to exist. As with all extreme bands, things get a little samey and cuts like “Shroud of Ashes” go by in a monochrome blur, but this is overall a very  focused effort that comes across like a well-planned assault of brutal, merciless death metal.