Videoclip of the Month!!!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Hour of Penance - Sedition (review)

Hour of Penance - Sedition

Hour Of Penance, one of THE most popular technical death metal bands are back with their newest album Sedition. The album cover features an apocalyptic sight where a two headed colossal serpent is descending to Earth from a raging thunderstorm upon a city which obviously is in the need of more biology classes and there are bugs flying everywhere. Seems a little extreme right? You know that old proverb, “you cannot judge a book by its cover” yeah? Well forget it because it doesn’t doesn’t apply here because once you get past the intro to Sedition, you immediately are kicked in the ass by; intense drumming, complex riffs and super guttural mid ranged vocals. Two things came to my mind once I was greeted by the first song: first of all “yesss, they haven’t thrown away their brutality that I love oh so very much” and secondly, “this is gonna be one hell of an album!”

As I’ve briefly stated in the introduction, this is one of the best releases from Hour of Penance. They are one of the very few technical death metal bands out there today who actually…STILL MAKE TECHNICAL DEATH METAL. Every band out there, well, every new band out there seem to all have the same mindset which is to invent the fastest, most incoherent variation music that is humanly possible because after all, that’s what technical death metal is known for right? But I think it is good to still have bands like Hour of Penance who are there to tend our hunger for some good technical death because lately, people have been coming up with more and more retarded permutations of technical death metal. Bands like Viraemia, Rings of Saturn, Slaughterbox and Fleshgod Apocalypse are all great examples of this (yes ladies and gentlemen, I know that Hour of Penance and Fleshgod Apocalypse are related (sort of) but Hour of Penance doesn’t try to force classical music down the throats of metal fans). There is no orchestra in the background trying to get us to like Beethoven, there are no pig squeals to turn us off and there is no “retardation” of the music. Sedition is just technical death metal the way it was suppose to be and that’s definitely a good thing in my book. In fact, I’m still surprised that stuff like this still exists!

Many people in the world today think that the days of technical death metal are numbered and who can blame them, it hasn’t changed much since the earliest bands came to life. It’s still fast, it’s still brutal and of course… it’s still technical but I think that what turns people off is the redundancy of sheer brutality, technicality and speed. Most technical death metal albums sound like you’re just listening to the same track over and over again, constantly looking down at your I-pod to check whether or not it’s stuck on repeat (it’s no wonder why only a small portion of technical death metal bands have gone mainstream). When you think about it, technical death metal seems to be a very hollow genre. I’m not trying to say or even imply that Hour of Penance have changed everything or anything concerning the genre with Sedition, because they haven’t done that at all. What they have done however, is made technical death metal, less tedious to listen to. So slightly they’ve done it, but it seems to have uplifted the quality and intensity of the music. Each track has its own technical death metal persona to it, without it feeling like it’s not Hour of Penance or shouldn’t be part of this album.

The more I listen to Sedition, the more I realise how much I’ve always loved technical death metal. Dare I say it, but if anyone asked me to define modern day technical death metal I would point them to Sedition or at least Hour of Penance. This is THE technical death metal album, who cares if it doesn’t break any records for the fastest or most brutal album, who cares if their song writing isn’t the most complex, who cares if their music isn’t ground breaking in any way, who cares if they aren’t every technical death metal’s equivalent to Jesus… because I don’t. I would rather listen to awesome generic technical death over some tainted and contaminated piece of shit that someone had just so happens to call it technical death metal as one of the 150 genres it’s labelled as. I’m not going to go as far as saying that “oh, its technical death metal at its purest form” though, because that’s incorrect, but I will go as far as saying this is straight up technical death metal with no hidden surprises.

I think the highlight of Sedition is the variety of tempos they’ve used. Unlike many other bands who try to play so quickly as if they’re trying to make their tempo approach the speed of light or something, Hour of Penance play like the way we want them to play, technical but legible (well, really, they play the way they want to play… we just happen to like it). There are many tempo changes throughout this album, but they usually oscillate between; super duper quick, to super quick, to quick and relatively quick- there’s not much in the mid paced zone so click “X” on the top right corner, microwave and burn your computer right now if you’re looking for anything “mid paced” because you’re not going to find it here. Another thing that I feel complements the tempo changes are the change in atmosphere and backdrop throughout Sedition. Even though the band might be promoting evilness lyrically, it’s not all doom and gloom as far as the atmosphere is concerned. There are times where I even feel slightly uplifted by the guitar riffs. The only thing that is dark about this album, really, is the album cover and even that isn’t dark in comparison to what I’ve seen. I find that there is no sense of that kind of dark/heaviness/evil feeling present in Sedition but that’s what many death metal bands seem to pride themselves on (across all of its genres). That being said, Sedition is still worthwhile for all those people who are into that sort of thing.

Overall, Sedition is a pretty badass album which complements its badass cover. This is pretty much how I would define “good” technical death metal because it has everything that a tech death fan could want. The blast beats, awesome. The melody, beautiful. The song structure, amazing… Sedition is just the album I want in a technical death metal. The best part of this (but some may argue it’s what lets this album down) is that the music isn’t polluted by foreign styles of music like; jazz or classical, it’s just technical death. Like I’ve mentioned before however, there is nothing here that’s ground breaking, or anything that would “revolutionize” the genre. They’ve played hard, without the risk of going home. For anyone who wants to have a go at Sedition, be my guest because it’s a magnificent piece of work. I’d recommend any track for first time listeners but for those who are too afraid to make a decision, Deprave to Redeem is an alright place to start. To sum Sedition up in a nutshell, I’d say it’s flawless but not ground breaking. I give Hour of Penance’s album Sedition a 17/20. 

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