The Road Less Travelled – 1992 – Rise Above
Parallel Corners – 1994 – Century Media
Alpha & Omega – 2001 - Martyr
Spiritualnatural – 2003 – Martyr
The Road Revisited – 2005 - PsycheDOOMelic

Penance image
Dream Death>>Brian Lawrence [Brian Lawrence Goodbread]>>Dream Death – Mourn, Sally>>Lee Smith>>Sally – Druid, Child Of Fire, Argus, Arduini/Balich, Molasses Barge>>Brian ‘Butch’ Balich>>Child Of Fire, Argus, Arduini/Balich, Molasses Barge

Doomwatch, Dream Death, Blackfinger>>Terry Weston>>Dream Death, Blackfinger - Dream Death>>Brian Lawrence [Brian Lawrence Goodbread>>Dream Death - Wicker Man, Behind Enemy Lines, Blackfinger>>Matt Tuite>>Behind Enemy Lines, Blackfinger – Draxxis, Humbucker>>Dave Roman>>Humbucker, Under The Sun

Deathmass, Dream Death>>Richard Freund [Richard Stempkoski]>>ESP, Dream Death – Deathmass>>Frank Miller>>Deathmass - Tabasco Cat>>Ron Leard>>Humbucker – Master Mechanic, Wormhole, Mythic, Derketa, Em Sinfonia, Novembers Doom, China Blue, Behind Enemy Lines>>Mary Bielich>>Novembers Doom, Behind Enemy Lines – Deathmass, ESP, Dream Death>>Rich Freund>>Dream Death

Dream Death, Internal Void, Cathedral, Pentagram, Under The Sun>>MIKE SMAIL>>Dream Death, Internal Void, Cathedral, Pentagram, Under The Sun

History & Biography
USA-based doom metal group Penance came together initially for six years beginning 1989 only to regroup briefly for the Doom or Be Doomed festival in Baltimore, Maryland in 2007, disappear and re-appear as a part-time gig in 2011. The band itself was the next project of Dream Death members Mike Smail and Terry Weston, alongside Richard Freund, which was a well-known underground band of the ‘80s. The band’s early 1990 demo was called Living Truth.

The Road Less Travelled was issued on Lee Dorrian of Cathedral’s label Rise Above. Mike Smail was also drumming for Cathedral. Brian Lawrence was on vocals for the debut. He quit just before the European tour and the boys recruited Lee Smith. Penance opened for Cathedral and Sleep in Europe. The group released a record for Century Media, but was duly dropped and the band dropped all activity as a result. Lee Smith was earlier deported from the US as he was entering to record an album. He was British and introduced to the band by Lee Dorian when the act needed a singer for the European tour. The band had a 1998 demo called Bridges To Burn and a 1999 called Proving Ground. This was issued by Martyr Music later. A 2000 EP was called Turn For The Worse and was never issued until being tagged to the Alpha & Omega album. Mary and Matt had joined in 2001 and Mary was friends with the Martyr Music manager who was her previous co-worker. Penance was booked for the Born Too Late Doom Festival in New York in 2003. Penance, Well Of Souls and Orodruin toured Europe in 2004. The group was also booked for Doom Shall Rise II in Germany. Penance was confirmed for the Templars Of Doom - The Second Crusade festival in Indianapolis, USA in 2005. The Road Revisited was an earlier version of The Road Less Travelled issued as the band was breaking up. Terry Weston rejoined in 2011 and Richard Freund rejoined in 2013. Penance was booked for the Days Of The Doomed festival to perform its Parallel Corners album in 2013. With singer Lee Smith unavailable, Butch took his place and the band played a variety of tracks from different eras. The band was singer Butch, guitarists terry and Matt, bassist Mary and drummer Mike as of 2020.

The band calls itself Iron City Doom owing to its hometown of Pittsburgh.


It has perpetually been this writers belief that Black Sabbath is an over-rated band - that is until Dio joined . Still they did a fabulous job of copying Zeppelin's Dazed And Confused and influencing good bands like Candlemass and Solitude Aeternus. Penance, America's answer to all things Sabbathy and doomy, is back via new label Martyr and with Alpha & Omega proves its commitment to a sound overtly influenced by the Sabs. What the band lacks in originality though, is compensated by its perseverance, honest statement and the sheer fact that Penance has delivered its doom routinely since the late eighties. The cowboy hat, short hair and strong Sabbath, Vitus et al influences may be forgiven. In actual fact, Penance should relieve the perennial geezers of their annual come-back t$o$u$r and unneeded new albums. Penance sure has the sound and practically does it better anyway. This CD also features the songs from the independent MCD of 2000 entitled Turn For The Worse.