The Italian masters return with the title track from their blistering new album Cast the First Stone. Ready to be set ablaze with righteous vengeance? Then get in here and stab play.
Cast the First Stone is Hour of Penance’s seventh full-length in fourteen years. That sort of dedication sees the death metal maestros playing to their strengths and churning out another fiery batch of technical death metal infused with scathing brutality and disarming melody. Hour of Penance fans and tech death heads are going to find plenty to love in this inflammatory new screed.
“Cast the First Stone” may be the strongest yet of the three tracks HoP have released in the lead-up to the new album, due out next week on the 27th. Not that “The Chains of Misdeed,” which sports some off-kilter Immolation-esque dissonance battling against harmonic melody for dominance, or “XXI Century Imperial Crusade,” with its grim, nausea-inducing leads and bombastic orchestration, are slouches either, but “Cast the First Stone” just presents the perfect balance of all the tricks in this most erudite of band’s wheelhouse. The melody, technicality, and brutality are all subject to the confines of the song itself, demonstrating this band’s mastery of songcraft.
The title track opens with a wee bit of mood-setting ambient orchestration before unleashing a blazing volley of chromatic leads and rumbling percussion just slightly askew of the guitar progression. The effect is one of sublime disorientation that leaves your head spinning and mind-scrambling before the band begins its more traditional death metal riff attack. Perhaps the most surprising segment of the song, though, kicks off at around 2:30, just before the harmonies kick back in; the song takes a sudden twist and slams you off the battlements with an absolutely massive start-and-stop riff sure to get all the militants headbanging in radical revelry. It’s impossible not to want to grab a sword and go on a crusade after hearing that riff.
Rest assured that the rest of Cast the First Stone lives up the promise of this title track. HoP have built a proud tradition of consistency and dependability, and the title track, with its mad alterations between earth-shattering headbangability and face-melting technicality, offers everything you love from the death metal veterans.
Cast the First Stone was recorded at Kick Recording Studios and mastered by bassist Marco Mastrobuono. It features artwork from Gyula Havancsak depicting a deadly clash against the Crusaders. The album drops Friday, January 27th, 2017. You can pre-order via the appropriate Prosthetic webshop here and here or from Bandcamp, iTunes, Amazon, or Google Play. While you’re at it, go say hi to Hour of Penance on Facebook and tell them the Toilet said, “Ciao!”