Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Hour of Penance - Sedition

If you want to know how I discovered Hour of Penance, read my review of The Vile Conception. Although I would highly recommend that you read that review first because it’s my favorite Hour of Penance record, it still will only minimally prepare you for the epic power of Sedition. For those of you Fleshgod Apocalypse fans that pretty much only listen to The Vile Conception because it features Fleshgod members on drums and vocals, you’d be surprised how much this band has stuck to their sound. And if there’s one thing that I know for sure, it’s that the Fleshgod drummer is one of the best and the fastest drummers of all-time. Of course, to Hour of Penance, settling for less was out of the question; so they went out and got a drummer that was fully capable of the speed and complexity of his predecessor, AND a vocalist (that’s so short he only goes up to my shoulders) that sounds maybe a little TOO much like Francesco.

For those of you that are familiar with the type of technicality played by bands like Fleshgod Apocalypse, Decapitated, and (obviously) Hour of Penance, don’t expect anything disappointing. The sound of Sedition is similar to the rest of the band’s discography, yet it gives off a vibe unlike no other. Most of Hour of Penance’s other albums have the same epic and explosive technicality, speed, and brutality. Sedition has all of that, but there’s just something about it that gives the listener a WHOLE different experience. But what I like (and a whole lot of other people like) about Sedition and Hour of Penance in general is that technical death can’t get any purer than what Hour of Penance plays.

I know that technical death has been around since the late 1980s (Atheist), but, let’s be honest, the genre didn’t explode until the late 1990s. We have the purely generic tech death bands (who oddly enough ALL sound different) like Decapitated, Neuraxis, and many others. Now my goal isn’t to degrade any bands here, but ever since the turn of the century, the technical death genre branched off into so many different variations in just…what…FIVE years? Maybe less?? It’s branched off into SO many different variations that what we consider to be GENERIC technical death metal is in fact not generic at all, it’s just a trend.

The same way how people are starting to consider “generic” deathcore to be deathcore bands that put 90% of their focus on BREAKDOWNS (thanks to two of the worst metal bands in history, Emmure and The Acacia Strain). People take bands like Emmure, Dr. Acula, and any other breakdown-focused band and put THEIR name on the “generic” label when they should be putting the REAL generic (not necessarily bad) deathcore bands under the generic label like Carnifex, Suicide Silence, Impending Doom, I Declare War, and Oceano. NOW, back to what I was talking about with technical death.

The technical death trend that has been placed under the GENERIC label is the stuff that has the most complexity possible; usually consisting of a lot of high-pitched guitar shredding and sweep picking. Although I will admit that I am a fan of a lot of those bands (one of them being one of my favorite bands EVER), it’s not the generic form of the technical death genre! People are taking bands like Origin, Rings of Saturn, Decrepit Birth, Brain Drill, Slaughterbox, and Spawn  of Possession, and calling THEM generic. Bands like Decapitated, Necrophagist, and Hour of Penance play truly raw technical death metal.

The thing that’s UNIQUE about Hour of Penance is one of the things that makes Fleshgod Apocalypse unique. The drumming is so beyond brutal and technical that it can pretty much only be described as “insanity”. The song structure is fairly complex, but not overly complex. Hour of Penance always decides to create the base of the technical death sound and make it AS SOLID AS THEY POSSIBLY CAN, and then throw on a layer of insane drumming. After they do that, they don’t touch it; they leave it as is, raw, a bit unique, crisp, and pure. Seriously, there isn’t a single tech death fan out there than can deny the fact that Hour of Penance is not only one of the best, but also one of the only bands striving to keep the PURE and REAL sound of technical death alive and well. I mean, you can’t paint a picture unless you have paper to put it on. Hour of Penance is one of the best representations of the paper that everyone else builds on top of. I would give this album 18/20.