Hour of Penance – Misotheism (Agonia)

Monday, 28th October 2019
Rating: 8.5/10

One of extreme metal’s reference points when it comes to unbridled brutality, there’s always something to be said for how utterly decimating that Hour of Penance can sound. They are one of the few bands that can really just kick things into full fury mode for 40-minutes and somehow make it an enjoyable, memorable experience. Misotheism doesn’t see them doing much new, nor does it have to either. It’s just more massively destructive music.

There’s no real leaps or bounds to be had with the Hour of Penance formula. There’s still tons of blast beats, guttural vocals, and riffs that hit like a sledgehammer. It’s brutal and designed to really knock you flat on your back repeatedly from start to finish. All of this congeals into something of gargantuan heaviness, which is what fans of the band and this style expect. But what separates Hour of Penance from the bevy of bands in this genre that leave the listener in a blur, is the attention to details. Hour of Penance know how to bring in the heaviness, but they also know how to subtly keep your attention with the details beneath. Despite the swirling fury in each track, they alter the tempo enough to keep it varied while giving that full-throttle adrenaline boost, and when they bring things down for a moment, they pull up melodies that gracefully move in to capture something that is epic and fits the band. “Lamb of the Seven Sins” is just one example here, but it can riddle with blastbeats and speed, but also hits home with some surprisingly catchy (somewhat) slower material that grabs your ear. You can really use the same argument for each track, if you care to listen to the details along with the intensity.

Misotheism is just as scalding and visceral as anything in the band’s discography. There’s a reason that they are a benchmark in their particular craft, and more bands could really take notice at the way that they make something so abrasive so oddly pleasant to listen to. A no-brainer for extreme metal fans.

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