History & BiographyThe Hour Of Penance is an Italian death metal band which reared its head in 2000 with a promotional demo. The band had come together a year earlier in Rome as a cover band. The band recorded for a split-7" with Cadaveric Crematorium in 2001, but the recording went unpublished. Francesco left the band looking for something more melodic and was replaced by Stefano Morabito formerly of Chthonian Nemeton and Fauces. On June 1, 2002 the band travelled to Sweden to play at the first edition of Gothenburg Deathfest. Oddly, Stefano quit and was replaced by his predecessor.
This line-up signed to Spain's Xtreem Records late in 2002. Having recorded the album, the band lost Francesco again in late 2003. His replacement was one Guilio Moschini. The band began work on its second album in late 2004. Pageantry For Martyrs was recorded at 16th Cellar Studio and issued in the summer. The band was unsigned in 2006 and completed work on three new songs, which were recorded in December. Unique Leader Records announced February 23rd, 2008 as the release date for the new album. The album was entitled The Vile Conception. A new death metal act from Norway called Hideous Divinity (featuring members and ex-members of Hour Of Penance and Eyeconoclast) released a 2-track demo entitled Sinful Star Necrolatry. Guitarist Enrico was back in Hour Of Penance in 2009 after reportedly returning from living in Norway. The Italian death metal band Hour Of Penance picked Paradogma as the name of its fourth album, which was due on March 2nd through Unique Leader Records. Hour Of Penance picked Sedition as the title for its next album, which was out on March 27th, 2012 through Prosthetic Records. Singer/guitarist Pieri and drummer Piras were new. Italian death metal band Hour Of Penance announced the addition of drummer James Payne (Hiss From The Moat and Broken Heart Collage) to its line-up in June 2012. The band had several European shows this summer. Upon release of 2014’s Regicide the band had a new rhythm section. Hour Of Penance moved to Agonia Records in late 2018. A new album was slated for 2019.
Davide Billia exited in 2022 after seven years in the band. Giacomo Torti of Bloodtruth was the new drummer. Hour Of Penance re-released its 2019 album Misotheism through Agonia Records in late January 2023. There was a lyric video for the song Flames Of Merciless Gods. Benediction, Blood Red Throne, Hour Of Penance and Mithras, among others, were playing at Beyond The Grave IV in London, England on the weekend of November 24th/25th 2023.
HOUR OF PENANCE - DISTURBANCE - XTREEM
Hour Of Penance knows two speeds: fast and faster! It is a natural reflex, but when a band's return address includes Italy, this writer's first thoughts do not necessarily include words like quality or worthwhile. Rome-based Hour Of Penance is certainly a contender though. Taking its cue from Cannibal Corpse, Pyrexia and Carcass, the band slashes it way through impressive down-tuned songs like Rise And Oppress, Dawn Of Cerberus and the more varied Blood Tribute. The vocals are not far behind. The singer grunts his way to death metal growler hall of fame and back. The label might not respect the band (a cover taped to the CD-R, no jewel case, no booklet, etc.), but disciples of brutality should. - Ali "The Metallian"
HOUR OF PENANCE - PAGEANTRY FOR MARTYRS - XTREEM
The Roman death metal band Hour Of Penance admits to a direct influence from Cannibal Corpse in its biography so it is not a surprise to hear some of the Floridians' death metal on Pageantry For Martyrs. The other element in the band's sound is Malevolent Creation, but the biggest influence of Hour Of Penance is probably Morbid Angel. This is something that manifests itself in the skilled, precise and fast drumming (which includes the flying bass drums), the breaks and the tight arrangements. The vocals are sometimes doubled-up and maintain a growling vista atop the blasting under them. Past the intro, the band is brutal most of the way except when it occasionally dives into a more clinical riff-oriented groove or screeching guitars. These moments are limited though and fans of powerful speed should not shy away from HOP of course.
Hour Of Penance is not the world's most original band, lo and behold they even have a 'hidden' segment at the end, but check them out for pure death metal that sticks to the core of the matter and does not deviate. - Ali "The Metallian"
InterviewsIn a world drowning in impurity and distrust Italy's Hour Of Penance is a dosage of unfailing authenticity. The Roman legionnaires are back in 2005 with a new album called Pageantry For Martyrs which prompted Ali "The Metallian" to contact guitarist Enrico Schettino for an impromptu chat. Who are these martyrs? Read on - 03.08.2005
METALLIAN: Enrico, the band is back with a new album. What are the band's goals and hopes for Pageantry For Martyrs and how does it compare to the debut?
ENRICO: Hmmm what a tricky question to start (laughs)! No, seriously, I can tell you that the idea behind our 2003 album Disturbance was to essentially make a very aggressive and relentless display of death metal music. We definitively wanted something very fast and angry to show the world that an Italian band need not necessarily be only interested in playing shit like power, prog or gothic. Many things have changed since then. I believe that we have improved a lot and mostly in terms of composition. Moreover, thanks to the contributions that our new guitarist Giulio has made to the band things have improved. Even if it is my personal opinion, I really do believe that Pageantry For Martyrs is an immense step forward compared to our previous CD. I hope that the rest of the death metal audience would agree with me as well.
METALLIAN: Coincidentally, your reply takes me to a question about your line-up. Why did you lose guitarist Francesco? You seem to have a guitarist revolving door.
ENRICO: Francesco was actually never interested in death metal. Right now he has formed a nu-metal band. There is no need to say anything else. Anyway, he left us in a friendly fashion. He is a nice guy. Consider that the real earthquake for us was the departure from the band of singer and bassist Mike who left because of endless personal problems with the rest of the band! He also showed a total lack of commitment in all of our projects in the last year or so. Two new members have joined H.O.P. They are Alex "Necrotorture" on vocals who also recorded all the vocals on the new album and Silvano on bass.
METALLIAN: Going back to the release at hand, Pageantry For Martyrs is an interesting title. Does the title relate to the global political situation?
ENRICO: In a way, I believe that all our lyrics are strictly related to today's absurd and scary global political situation. We saw what happened in Madrid and London. I live in Rome so I am beginning to understand how the "terror" actually works. Impotence generates terror. Terror is something you can't control. Therefore, our main source of inspiration comes from the real world. Death metal can express this state of mind better than anything else, I guess. Our songs are the chronicles, the celebration of an era of destruction. We are the martyrs ourselves.
METALLIAN: Speaking of which, do you have any position vis-à-vis the Italian participation in the war on Iraq?
ENRICO: I am totally against this conflict which is supported by our criminal government in order to "be the good dog" with the USA which has nothing to do actually with helping people or setting them free. The sad things is that terrorists will attack Italy and kill innocent people, not those selfish rich bastards that travel with convoys and surely don't send their own sons to join the Italian army in Nassiriya.
METALLIAN: On the musical front, the band admits to and explicitly incorporates Cannibal Corpse influences.
ENRICO: Cannibal Corpse is just an influence, but they are not the only ones! When I said that Cannibal Corpse's Bloodthirst album changed my life I didn't mean that I only listen to that album. I cannot mention all our influences in just one interview. Right now, I'm crazy for the latest Nile, Origin, Brodequin, Kaamos and Internal Suffering. Also Visceral Bleeding and Odious Mortem are impressive. Bands from Europe that I like are Defeated Sanity, Despondency, Fearer and Viu Drakh. I cannot wait to listen to the first full-length of the incredible guys and my friends in Sinners' Bleed.
METALLIAN: Italy has never been a global death metal or metal powerhouse. Is this situation changing and what do you see your role as?
ENRICO: Perhaps there are some new and interesting death metal acts, like Necrotorture and Wargore, here but we are pretty far from having a scene. It's awful. There are no places to play and there is a small audience everywhere. Aside from pure and brutal death metal bands, do you want to know of a real crushing Italian combo? Then if you're into death/thrash you should check out the incredible Eyeconoclast. They have just released their second demo and it's impressive. Check them out at www.eyeconoclast.com and then you will thank me.
METALLIAN: Are you, or any of the other band members, involved in other projects?
ENRICO: Alex, our singer, is in two brutal projects, namely Necrotorture and Splattered Cavities. Mauro is the drummer for the amazing Eyeconoclast. As I mentioned before, Silvano, our bass player, has his own side-project called Fearwell which is in the vein of Katatonia and Edge Of Sanity and Giulio is writing his own material for a side-project in the vein of Decrepit Birth, I guess. It seems that I am the only one without a side-project. In fact, Hour Of Penance consumes all my energy er, beside the regular office job that I do every day!
METALLIAN: Special mention must be accorded to the drumming of Mauro.
ENRICO: I have been playing with Mauro in a band for almost seven years. We are the only founding members still playing in the band. You can see his total devotion to this music while you hear him play. To work with him and to arrange songs with him is quite easy. We understand each other very well. The question is not what he wants to achieve though. The right question would probably be 'who' he wants to achieve! A couple of names I can mention are Derek Roddy, Tim Yeung, Tony Laureano and Kevin Talley.
METALLIAN: The album is generally fast and blasting, but the band slows down on occasion for more underscored moments Why is this a better song writing formula?
ENRICO: Absolutely, slower moments on a death metal album are much more than mere breaks for the listener. I find these moments while listening to my all-time favourite death metal records. They have these 'quiet after and before the storm' type arrangements In this sense, Nile is the absolute master of this. If you listen to the third song of our new CD, End Of Relief, you'll find that we tried to reach this feeling of slow, intense and brutal decay which is something that we already tested, and liked, with the last song on Disturbance, Blood Tribute.
METALLIAN: How is Xtreem Music treating you and what sort of a contract do you have with them? Which is the best band on the roster and which band do you personally not like?
ENRICO: They promote our first two full-length releases, Disturbance and the new one Pageantry For Martyrs. I don't know if they are going to release our third album. Let us see what the future brings. I like many bands on the roster. The Defaced, Human Mincer, Disgorge and Kronos are very good.
(Laughingly) as for bands I don't like but I don't want to get in trouble with my boss, you will understand! OK, let's say that Anvil Of Doom, even if they are good, don't play my favourite death metal style.
METALLIAN: Enrico, what are the band's plans now and is there any touring on the horizon?
ENRICO: Something really big is coming our way but I won't talk about it until everything is one-hundred percent confirmed. Call it Italian superstition!
METALLIAN: Call it Canadian superstition and it will happen for you
ENRICO: No way! Seriously, I dislike those bands who claim "Hey, we'll be on tour with Cannibal Corpse and Morbid Angel" or such, and then nothing comes to pass. Take a look at the Italian dictionary and search what "figura di merda" (making on look like shit ed) means. It is what I am trying to avoid. I will call you back - I promise - when it is official, OK?
METALLIAN: In your opinion, how big can Hour Of Penance get?
ENRICO: The bigger the better! Thanks for this interview for with it you are giving us a big help. We appreciate it!
METALLIAN: And in that context, why is Metallian the world's best source for metal?
ENRICO: Pick one of the following: 1- because you're probably from the best country in the world, 2- because right now it's me you are talking with and 3- both of the above Cheers to Canada!
For more information on the band see their website www.hourofpenance.net. The band might have something big to announce soon.