Review Summary: Slaughtering everyone on the first listen.
With a cover as artistically haunting as the new album by Hour Of Penance is, I was expecting a catapulting, breakneck metal record. I was not surprised at what I heard at all, but I was increasingly satisfied with every song that passed through the headphones. Regicide is a release meant to be aggressive, and the band made sure to bring everything to the table, sacrifice it, and then regurgitate it with a side of brutality.
First off, I have to give a shout out to the drummer James Payne. His work on this album is unbelievable. Every blastbeat left me awestruck. 'Desecrated Souls' has some technical work laying around the lower ends of the mix. Even with the palm muted guitars, choir vocals and visceral grunts by Paulo Pieri, Payne makes the song ever more chaotic with the never ending assault. I want to ask if he ever gets tired, but I noticed there were still eight more tracks left.
Many of the guitar riffs are striking as well. Hour Of Penance knows how to create odd patterns that are both captivating and intricate at the same time. The riffs that bellow their way through 'Resurgence Of The Empire' maintain variations from the opening theme, freshening up the song as it continues. The lead guitar work is at a mastery. The solos are absolutely shredded out, with the guitarists racing across the fretboard in competition. This two guitar approach means that there will be times in a song where riffs and solos bounce off each other like a game of Pong, except at deadly speeds.
Regicide also features times where the band breaks the instruments down with impressive chugs. 'Redeemer Of Atrocity' has an extended chug riff that keeps the back half of the album fresh. The syncopation between guitars and drums in the song 'The Seas Of Light' keeps the head banging, even if at a more varied time due to the odd time signatures being thrown around and switched by the band at ease. 'Theogony' is the closer, keeping up the pace and devastating every last second of the song with a non stop beatdown.
Regicide is not just a death metal album. Regicide is a ferocious assault on the ears. The record blasts its way through auditory senses with a wall of destruction fronted by four Italian musicians with the darkest side of humanity at their backs. For fans of Behemoth, this is a LP to immediately listen to. Hour Of Penance have not only released a comparable death metal album, but have confronted death metal and brutally pushed through the label of the genre with their massive sound across their new album. Prosthetic Records earns another stellar release for the year.