Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Hour of Penance - Paradogma (Unique Leader Records; 2010)

This is an album that came out of nowhere for me. While I had been highly anticipating the new Cenotaph, Defeated Sanity, and Vulvectomy among others this year, Hour of Penance had always been on the fringes of my attention. It's not that I disliked them, it's just that they struck me as a semi-brutal band that was popular among a wider audience because they lessened their brutality and adopted standard modern/tech death metal tropes. I'm not saying that I was correct, or that having appeal beyond our little scene is a bad thing, it's just the impression I got. There's a lot of brutal death metal being released and I have been guilty, for better or worse, of trending towards the underground material at the expense of more widely known bands.

One listen to a Paradogma completely busted my (mostly uninformed) impression to pieces. This is most definitely a brutal death album and if it has a wide appeal it's for no other reason than the fact that it kicks ass. Now, this is a Unique Leader release so there's plenty of ostentatious technicality and a healthy dose of self-seriousness. Hour of Penance, however, manage pull it off a lot better than most of their label-mates. In many ways this reminds me of Inveracity - Extermination of Millions and Septycal Gorge - Erase the Insignificant. Paradogma is big, technical, and epic (well, as epic as you can get for a brutal death metal band), yet they remain effortlessly brutal. By that I mean that every part of the song works together and the riffs feel natural. Lesser bands sometimes write great riffs, but often they just place them next to each other, rather than making them work together.

Hour of Penance keep Paradogma running at a good pace throughout. Things get faster and slower, but not to the extremes of their slammier peers. There's plenty going on at any one time, but the technicality is kept to a reasonable level, and they know when to just go simple and be heavy. I think the clean and thick production that comes with the Unique Leader name really works wonders for that style here. Every technical buildup and every booming chug and every slithering solo is audible and backed up by a thundering rhythm section.

Now for those of you who are looking for slam and only slam, you might not like this album as much as I did. There's a lot of headbanging riffs, but they're not really slammy. If you want some well written, well produced, and dare I say epic brutal death metal, you shouldn't hesitate to pick this up. I may have been a little late to the Hour of Penance party, but Paradogma is well worth the attention.


Clint said...

I for one completely agree with your assessment here on "Paradogma". However I personally enjoyed "The Vile Conception" and "Pegeantry for Martyrs" much more. Glad to see your variety in much aside from Slam BDM.

Nick Adams said...

Glad to hear it Clint. In the interest of full disclosure, I'll admit I've never listened to those albums all the way through. I will likely change that soon though.

Clint said...

pegeantry at times is kinda spawn of possession sounding and i wish the actual guitar was a bit louder, but Vile conception is def. a worthwhile listen.