Originally written by Jason Jordan.
Hour of Penance, an Italian brutal death quintet, have most assuredly avoided the sophomore slump by unleashing Pageantry for Martyrs, which proves to be potent for those who fancy the subgenre or those who follow the band’s label religiously. As I stated in my review of Masacre’s Total Death, Xtreem Music is a phenomenal record company that hosts several acts, and Hour of Penance is yet another reason why accolades should be tossed around liberally to all applicable parties.
On Pageantry for Martyrs, it’s obvious that the group is not obsessed on reinvention, because the formerly mentioned album fails to carry even an ounce of originality. However, the frenetic musicianship – coupled with overt talent – makes for much more than an agreeable listen, and the band’s presentation is quite infectious due to a number of inclusions. Manco’s (Necrotorture, Splattered Cavities) gruff vocals have just the right tone, and the other instruments sound good overall. Mercurio’s (Rust of Reason, Eyeconoclast) furious drumming does a commendable job of accentuating certain riffs here and there, plus the double-bass is relentless and seemingly content to remain that way.
Even selecting a song at random will allow you to experience Hour of Penance’s sound firsthand, so there’s no insurmountable track lurking beneath the jewel case or anything of the sort. Though, the opening number “Towards Our Storm” is a well-done introduction to Pagenatry for Martyrs as a whole. I can fully envision Deeds of Flesh fans jumping on this bandwagon without second-guessing themselves. Overall, the production values and eviscerating performances makes for a sturdy record.
Frankly, my allegiance with Masacre still stands (I like the sloppier, down-home approach), though moonlighting with Hour of Penance has been joyous. And, moreover, this is another fine slab from the death metal-mongers at Xtreem Music. Pageantry for Martyrs is fast, furious, and doesn’t include Vin Diesel. Check this out, please?