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Music / Hour of Penance

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Hour of Penance are an Italian Technical Brutal Death Metal band that formed in 1999. Though it's debated as to who started the Italian brutal death scene, they're regarded as the most influential in the scene, as well as the most well known.

The band is known for having a high turnover rate of members, to the point where none of the founding members are left (the last remaining founder, drummer Mauro Mercurio, left in 2010) The lyrical themes tend to be widely anti-Christian, similar to Behemoth, though they're written from an atheist perspective instead of Satantic/pagan.


  • Giulio Moschini (Lead guitars) (2004-Present)
  • Paolo Pieri (Vocals, Rhythm guitars) (2010-Present)
  • Marco Mastrobuono (Bass) (2013-Present)
  • Davide Billia (Drums) (2015-Present)

Notable Past Members:

  • Francisco Paoli (Vocals) (2006-2010) - Their most well-known vocalist, mainly due to how impressive he was at it as well as the fact that he started another particularly famous band.
  • Enrico Schettino (Guitars) (1999-2006, 2009) - Left after moving to Norway and formed Hideous Divinity afterwards.
  • Mauro Mercurio (Drums) (1999-2010) - Last remaining original member before he was ejected. Currently plays for Eyeconoclast.
  • Simone "Arconda" Piras (Drums) (2010-2012) - The drummer who played on Sedition. Left due to a dislike for heavy touring; also known for his YouTube channel.
  • James Payne (Drums) (2012-2015) - Arconda's replacement, also played on Regicide. Left to join Vital Remains; also known for the Drum Brothers Project, a well-known YouTube channel.
  • Silvano Leone (Bass) (2005-2012) - The band's longest-lasting bassist, appearing on all albums from The Vile Conception to Sedition.
  • Mike Viti (Bass, Vocals) - Founding vocalist and bassist, played on Disturbance.

Main Discography:

  • Disturbance (2003)
  • Pageantry for Martyrs (2005)
  • The Vile Conception (2008)
  • Paradogma (2010)
  • Sedition (2012)
  • Regicide (2014)
  • Cast the First Stone (2017)
  • Misotheism (2019)
  • Devotion (2024)

This band contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Black Metal: Started to gain prominent blackened death elements around The Vile Conception.
  • Brutal Death Metal
  • Eat the Rich: The core lyrical theme on Misotheism.
  • Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow: Paolo Pieri.
  • In Name Only: As of 2010, none of the original members are still left, though Giulio has been in the band for most of its lifespan.
  • I Am the Band: Although not an original member, Giulio Moschini is technically this after drummer Mauro Mercurio, the last true original member, was thrown out shortly after Paradogma.
  • Irony: The last original member getting kicked out.
  • Lead Bassist: Mike Viti was a type B.
  • Lead Drummer: All of their drummers have been this to some degree. Mauro was renowned for his incredible speed, power, and technical ability, as well as being a founding member, while Piras and Payne both have very well-known YouTube channels (Arconda and The Drum House, respectively). Billia, meanwhile, is known for both his incredible speed and precision as well as the unbelievable amount of bands he juggles.
  • Loudness War: A major, major, major offender even by death metal standards, but Sedition is in turn ridiculous even by those standards and is probably one of the most brickwalled metal albums of all time. It's obvious that they were going for a "skull-crushing barrage of noise" feel, but there's that and then there's overdoing it to the point where it could pass for a Whitehouse album.
  • Motor Mouth: Francesco Paoli loved this.
  • New Sound Album: Multiple.
    • The Vile Conception featured far faster tempos and more complex arrangements than the older material, as well as more complex lyrics due to the improved vocal abilities and skill with the English language that Paoli possessed.
    • Paradogma placed a far greater focus on atmosphere and dialed up the Behemoth and Belphegor influences.
    • Sedition was decidedly more stripped down and had a far greater emphasis on speed and brutality.
    • Regicide experiments more heavily with melody and has a more heavy emphasis on mid-paced sections.
  • Pretty Fly for a White Guy: James certainly qualifies in terms of appearance.
  • Religion Rant Song: Their sole lyrical theme. Their early work was rather subtle about it, but it became explicit with The Vile Conception.
  • Revolving Door Band: Known for their incredibly rapid turnover. At this point, just about everyone in the Italian death metal scene has played for them at one point or another.
  • The Rival: Starting to become this with Hideous Divinity as the latter continues to rise fame-wise, both due to the similarities in sound and the fact that there's some very bad blood between Giulio and Enrico.
  • Signature Style: Astoundingly fast, blast-heavy material that employs Middle Eastern scales on a regular basis and eschews flashy leads for simpler, more atmospheric ones.
  • Start My Own: Paoli and Fleshgod Apocalypse. He originally intended for it to be a side project, but it gradually began to take up more and more of his time to the point where he had to consider leaving. It was Mauro's ejection that led to his departure as well.
    • Enrico Schettino did the same thing with Hideous Divinity, though the split there was far less amicable.
    • Averted with James and Hiss from the Moat, however; that band was around long before he joined Hour of Penance. They've just never done very much, though he did wind up quitting Vital Remains to focus on finally taking them somewhere.
    • Giulio, Marco, and Davide wound up doing this with their death & roll project Coffin Birth (along with Francesco Paoli, as well as Franco Calleja of Beheaded) in 2018, though it is strictly a side project.
  • Take That!: Cast The First Stone seems to be this against Islam as a reaction towards the refugee crisis.
  • Technical Death Metal
  • Trash the Set: Mauro was thrown out for getting drunk at a Spanish club that they were playing, destroying a backstage area, and almost causing the band to get arrested.