Giulio of Hour Of Penance is a real Death Metal warrior, still buying the music, still listening to Death Metal passionately and always eager to check out new releases and names. An attitude often dismissed by musicians which make it to a certain level with their music. Besides he keeps (along with Silvano on bass) the band going at an unrelenting pace. Hour Of Penance's Paradogma is an incredible portion of adorable Death Metal extremity. It took me a lot of time to commit the interview with Giulio and even more time to publish it. But still, time doesn't play a role here. Put Paradogma on and read through the interview. It's all there ... about the new label, the line-up crash & the music itself. A great warm-up before their upcoming album which is due out in early 2012 and I am sure it will be their most savage material to date! Prepare for a new, 3rd part, interivew with Hour Of Penance as well.
Originally conceived in March, 2011.
Hi Giulio. Not even two years course lapsed and there we have a new Hour Of Penance album. How it was like for you to move from the TVC album and start writing new material? The direction, the intensity, the song structure how has this all shaped for Paradogma? You truly seem to catch the best momentum of it all again. It seems you still know where your path is heading, well? Anyway, have you changed something when writing Paradogma?
Hi Ian, thanks for having us again onto these pages! I began writing Paradogma when I felt that it was time for The Vile Conception to leave room for some new tunes, that came along our need to write and play new songs and most of all our need to challenge ourselves musician-wise ... it always worked like that in our band and weíre still doing the same even if the line up changed a bit in the last year. To be honest I didnít felt any pressure in writing Paradogma, I just started playing some riffs and the songs popped out in no time, thatís why I believe the new album sounds a bit more dynamic somehow and maybe more assimilable although still keeps the same brutality of The Vile Conception. Looking back now to both albums, probably the feature that makes Paradogma an improvement from the past albums itís his atmosphere, which is made both by fast and slow songs, some melodic riffs and a different approach to the vocal lines... Thatís the point someone missed in reviewing the new album probably expecting a copy and paste of The vile Conception.
What brutal Death Metal albums do you value a lot in terms of the flow and riffing? I canít help myself but your last two albums do remind me of Despise The Sun and Cerritoís songs for Hate Eternal if you know what I mean. How do you identify with those influences as a musician?
Speaking as a guitar player, Cerrito was an hell of a songwriter! I loved every single note on Conquering the throne and thatís why I always pick that album along some others if someone ask to me to name my favorite death metal albums. To be honest I donít identify my way of playing with him (he was a beast) or with some other guitarist in particular, letís say Hour of Penance although still sounds ďmodernĒ in some way is still sticked to the old death metal way to conceive and write songs and thatís why itís hard for me to find a new death metal band that meets my tastes nowadays. But still ... you named already Despise the Sun and Conquering the Throne and Iíll had to that Millennium of Monstrosity, Covenant and Gateways to annihilation of Morbid Angel and Bloodthirst of Cannibal Corpse, those definitely were amongst the album that contributed in developing my way of playing and writing death metal.
As on The Vile Conception, are there some songs on Paradogma that were thought out in hours? The writing process seems to be quite fast overall, how much time is needed till everythingís arranged with the other guys in the band so that everything clicks altogether well?
Writing process of Paradogma was as smooth as the one for the Vile Conception. When you feel inspired a song can pop out in few hours, like Incontrovertible Doctrines or Incestuous Dynasty of Worms .This time was a little more easier than with Vile Conception as the band had a different feeling, we had more time to spend together practicing and we were on the same page about how the album should have sounded like. Everything become easier when you have the same line up for some years, the band grows up stronger and stronger live after live, itís like having a well tuned car that you can push at its limit.
The songs seems to be sorted on the album in carefully picked-up ordered. Can you elaborate more on the actual order and the moves behind it? Paradogma just hits hard in the beginning with first three songs, then crushes the listener with a slow song and since then thereís some continually escalating tension of brutality and speed, which, to me, peaks in Spiritual Ravishment. Aim?
As well as with the Vile Conception, Paradogma is kind of a concept album with an opener song (Paradogma) and a closing theme (Apotheosis) - itís my way to write an album... I start writing when I have a precise idea to develop and every song is a chapter of that idea, starting from the first song to the last one, the order you see on the CD is the same order the song came out. Any particular aim on it just the pure love of this kind of music and the willing to do a good death metal album! As I always say, weíre the first fans of our band and we will never write and record something we couldnít enjoy listening and playing and most of all something that is not Death metal as itís intended to be!
And yes we are at it, Malevolence Of The Righteous! This track is your first slow effort as a composer, a new realm to conquer for you, so to say. Could you run into details of the concept of that song. Did writing that song challenged you as a musician/band on a different level and how? What aspects (more than usually) did you pay attention to when writing this beast? And the way it interweaves with the ending of Woeful Eucharesty, these two songs are like twins. Was it also intentional from the start?
It was definitely challenging writing that songs since we donít like writing slow stuff as you can hear from the Hour of Penance albums... I had those riffs sticked into my head for months and so I decided it was time to write a slower songs since a lot of people complained about the fact that Hour of Penance albums were just a blast-fest from start to finish, well you wanted and now you have a slow Hour of Penance song. That songs proves that we can write a good songs even without blastbeats.
Anyway what people says is not the point here, the song just came out as the other ones without any suggestions or stupid comments that forced me writing a slow song.
Malevolence doesnítí have any relation with Woeful Eucharesty... Itís right in the middle of the album because it gives a break to the listenerís ears, eheh.
What slow songs belongs amongst your fave? Actually, werenít you afraid that the slow song could negatively affect the flow of the album, especially when placing it in the first half of Paradogma. To me, some albums has been ruined with slow songs just because they came in too soon and sort of destroy the built-up intensity of the raging speed.
Not at all, it depends on how that song is conceived - there are plenty of albums that have a slow song placed at the top of a tracklist without affecting the album intensity - I was just thinking at the aforementioned Covenant of Morbid Angel... ďWorld of ShitĒ is a great example to that. Ironically I listen to a lot of ďslowĒ music, Danzig first four albums are always in my stereo, not to mention the last Celtic Frost and Tryptikon albums... I love the way you can actually make a good song with few riffs and not necessarily complex or fast, thatís probably harder than write a fast and technical song.
Another thing, after Ulcerate ďEverything Is FireĒ album was out, many people compared the bandís music to Deathspell Omega, which despite some similarities is completely wrong as their music just comes from different background and heads to a different horizon. You have faced something similar with the Behemoth comparisons which are even less in place than the DsO comparison with Ulcerate. I can hear much more Rutans way of Morbid Angel, Hate Eternal, Krisiun-ish-thrill, even Gorgasm-like precision and crushingness in the background of this otherwise original record in a full sense of the word ORIGINAL. A story about how placing a singled out track from the album can make a completely worng impact should follow. Did you see that coming? You elaborate on the intetion of picking up Paradogma, the result it brought and how did that changed the way you will be selecting an album ďsingleĒ in the future.
Yeah probably picking up Paradogma as preview of the new album was not the best choice we could have done, that song taken alone is completely out of the context if you donít hear the whole album... Most of the people must have been influenced by that and maybe had a wrong view of the new album, although was still a success.
I read everywhere comments and comparison between Hour of Penance and Behemoth, someone even wrote that Paradogma is STRONGLY influenced by Evangelion... How?? Evangelion came out when our album was already recorded and ready to be mastered ... so most of the comments I read were pointless. As you said Hour of Penance and Behemoth, a band that I respect anyway, have different background and a different way to conceive music.
What can you say about the intro/outro and the use of some short samples/sounds inside some tracks? As time goes it sounds to me just way too flashy and rather disturbing and not really fitting at all into your music. It kind of adds a different, strange, in fact inappropriate feel to the music and myself I canít really say it does anything special to me. The razor blade sound is cool in a fine Gorgasm way though.
Our old drummer was into that, so you probably will not hear those stuff anymore, haha.
If you wanted a painter to make an image that would correspond with the music on the album only, what would be your description of the desired result? Just donít say, there will be a chapel with a falling cross of its top, that would sound familiar.
Ahah, I donít know to be honest but I always love to have a cover that is tied to the lyrics of the album - although I love some covers of the 90ís I donít think some abstract landscapes will fit into the music of an extreme death metal album... You can see the intention of our album by simply watching the cover of it ... hard to tell what you can expect from an album with a Seagraveís cover... I know Iím spitting blasphemy here but thatís just my point of view.
Have you noticed that the cover of Paradogma would provoke some feedback from some conservative Italian (Christian) guys/parties?
That was our intention but none cared about us apparently! Jokes apart, Death metal and extreme music in general here is not even distributed in shops and most of the people that hear this music for the first time doesnít understand whatís going on, so no side effects of our album cover unfortunately!
Francesco was relatively new to the band when The Vile Conception
...we will never write and record something we couldnít enjoy listening and playing and most of all something that is not Death metal as itís intended to be! was released therefore the lyrics and concepts as well as vocal patterns were rather a collective effort, was it the same for Paradogma this time? Where have you moved with the lyrics concept? Overall the lyrics seems more venomous and to the point than before, it reminds me of Krisiun-like unholy spitting.
This time the lyrics were totally written by the hands of Francesco and I made some changes in the end, thatís why are different from the lyrics of The Vile Conception... We talked a lot about having a more evil vibe on the album and he started writing that kind of lyrics alone. I did not hear his work until he entered the studio and started recording the vocals, I was trusting him 100% and I absolutely loved what he did on Paradogma... Too bad heís not a singer anymore!
Was it any harder to arrange the lyrics patterns into the music on Paradogma when Francesco did the lyrics? How did that worked out?
The way we work with lyrics is simple: we basically put some vocal lines without lyrics on the demo song and we start writing the lyrics on that, so everything fits perfectly to the music ... itís a method we developed in years and it works fine!
Oh, could you please talk more about the instrumental song? How did that one come out and ended up on the album? What do you think of it nowadays? How about its Latin text, thatís some slight blasphemy again!?
It was funny to see how Apotheosis (the instrumental song) become one of the favorite song on the album for someone! I didnít expect that, that song was intended just to be an instrumental outro of the album... As I already said before we wanted an opening theme and a closing theme for the album, and Apotheosis is just that. The Latin text was an idea of Francesco ... itís a modified version of the prayer ďour FatherĒ and it kinda sounds scary with all those effects on the voice. Itís not a song Iím proud of, but simply because my idea was to write an instrumental outro not a song... And I believe the result was good... You always have to listen an album in its entirety to understand whatís behind of it.
Now letís go to the earthquake within bandís ranks. What do you think of this, say, cleansing period? Half of the band is gone and you have found new replacements successfully. How are things settling down?
Earthquake, thatís exactly the right word to describe that situation, eheh. What I think... I donít know to be honest... We were just in the middle of a tour and we returned home with a band with just a bass player and a guitar player. All happened in a sudden and although we had some arguments before with the old guys. I never thought that we could arrive at the point of splitting up with two band members. But seeing at the other face of the medal, we found in no time two great replacements and most of all two motivated guys as Me and Silvano. Hard times if you ask me, but now everything is great! Weíve signed to a new label (Prosthetic Records) and we have some great tours coming on starting with the Deicide tour this summer.
What have each of the new members brought up to the table? Paolo and Simone, both have black metal background, which could allow you as band to step into filthier, more blasphemous waters than on the last two releases. Do you see something like this happening?
Of course their different approach to the music will help the band in adding something to the music, Simone is a great drummer and he can play everything and that gives me the possibility of pushing further the limits of the band... Paoloís voice has a different tone... So letís see how this will turn out although Iíll be the only songwriter again!
I noticed that Paolo is pretty good guitarist as well. Is that a must for you to have a non-playing guitarist doing vocals? It certainly helps the rhythmical and phrasing accuracy which appears to me really important when it comes to duties that a HoP vocalist must be capable of to handle. How is Paolo progressing as a vocalist? I am not sure if anyone can replace Francesco in terms of diversity of the vocals but Paolo has certainly brought to table some new elements. Could you talk more about this?
Actually Paolo will do also guitars on the upcoming tour with Deicide, is indeed a great guitar player so itís time for us to start playing with two guitars. From the first practice we had with him i was sure i was the right guy to replace Francesco, although the tone of his voice is different ... but thatís a good thing in my opinion so as you said we can bring something new on the table which is something weíre doing from our first release.
I noticed you were a guest musician on the last & amazing album from Aborym. I guess, there couldnít be much more ideal part for you to be picked-up than the The Morbid Angel (Gateways!) driven part of the song, could be? I am eager to hear more about this experience and how did it all happen. Was the part of the track where your solo has been placed already selected or you were able to make your pick? How do you like the final result? Is actually Psychogrotesque in its entirety your cup of tea?
Paolo asked me to record a solo for Aborym on the last song of their last album, he sent me the track that was already recorded at that time and i started working on it. It was definitely challenging for me playing a solo on that kind of music ! I loved how it sounded in the end and i was honored to do a solo for them.
How many gigs have you played in support of the Paradogma album? Any highlights? When did the band sound the best in your opinion? Plus an old one, but do you prefer the studio works over playing live or vice-versa?
So far we have played almost 50 shows in support of the album and we will do more in the future, 30 on the Deicide tour and who knows ... maybe even more if we manage to fly to US this time... Although I have already started working on the 5th Hour of Penance album, Paradogma came just an year ago now and thereís still a lot to do with it!
Hard to say which gig i enjoyed most ... probably the one we had in Nantes with the old line up during the last tour with Francesco and Mauro, venue was packed and people went crazy!
Could you loose few words also on the management that stands behind HoP. Howís that useful for the band?
Indeed it is, Soundworks Management helped the band a lot! They definitely believe in this band and that means a lot to us...
Do you know the selling numbers of Paradogma and The Vile Conception?
I know the sales were huge but i still donít know the exact number, weíre waiting to know that.
Third Hour Of Penance album is coming and the band can be found within Posthetic records bands rooster. Huge congratulations! How do you think this can move the band ahead? What things are you looking forward? Will you get some decent recording budget? No complaints, but it would be great to hear more naturally sounding drums on the next one!
Thanks! It will be the 5th Hour of Penance album over almost 10 years of career! Prosthetic Records will definitely help Hour of Penance in many ways, we have more budget for the recording and more support for tours and so on, signing with them itís a big reward for all the works done in the past years and I canít wait to record the new album and start to work with them properly. We werenít expecting such a great offer, it was something we couldnít definitely refuse speaking as an Italian, ahah.
Whatís your opinion on the current state of Death Metal and itís advancement in the future? Do you follow bands like Ulcerate, Ehnahre or do you stick more with the old school stuff? What was your personal highlight in 2010 when it comes to Death Metal?
Off of the newer death metal bands Ulcerate was probably the most interesting band that came out, hard to say how many new death metal band I follow, Iím more into the old stuff... Itís not a good thing to say but Death metal gave his best in the 90ís until 2002 to me. Lately I was asked by another webzine to do a list of the best albums that came out from 2000-2010 and I canít lie but it was something really hard to do... 2010 sucked for me, probably just the Ulcerate and the Immolation new albums were the last good albums that came out. I really hope the situation will change, maybe the new Morbid Angel album will redeem the actual scene.
Giulio, thanks a lot for your time! I wish you still the same and even bigger dedication & deflagration for Hour Of Penance and Death Metal in general. Keep it coming, we are ready! Last words (before we commence another interview, part 3, after the new album will be out) are yours now.
Thanks to your interview Ian, itís always a pleasure for us to be featured in Transcend666 ízine!! All the best to you and hope to see you in Czech Republic soon!
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And interview from The Vile Conception era can be found here: HOUR OF PENANCE - Extreme Sonic Bombardment