Released: 2017, Prosthetic Records
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
Let's get this out of the way right off the bat: brutal death metal isn't particularly my thing. There are some exceptions, but on the whole it's not a flavour of metal that makes me feel much. Nor have I heard much from Hour of Penance beyond the odd song, so this album can only be reviewed on its own merits, not in the context of their whole back catalogue. It may be a radical departure or more of the same, but whichever it is, they do it well.
Whether a tried-and-tested formula or not, what Cast the First Stone offers is short but effective bursts of death metal, with the songs all lasting consistently around the four minute mark. They get in, smash your face in with a blast of impressively technical death metal, then get out again, no fuss. It speaks loud and clear of a band who know what they're doing and with plenty of experience behind them.
Musically I can't fault these guys, they hit a damn-near perfect blend of technicality and brutality. They aren't trying to be uber-brutal for the sake of it, nor are they just jacking off their instruments to show off how skilled they are. Instead, the brutal and technical aspects are used to compliment one another. Both are impressive in their own right, but Cast the First Stone doesn't over-indulge in either, nicely hitting just the right mix to reward fans of the style. The songs themselves are similar without sounding like they're just repeating one another, varying between slower pounding force and blast-beat driven ferocity. If there's any criticism here it's that the album is perhaps a tad too reliant on those blast beats, and the drums are very prominent in the mix, but most often this works to their advantage. "Wall of Cohorts" has superb pacing, and "Iron Fist" throws some nice lead work into the mid-section.
As I said at the start, this isn't usually my thing, so on a purely personal level of enjoyment I don't get a whole lot out of this. But I can tell when a band knows their stuff, knows what their fans want and exactly how to give it to them. If an album of short but effective death metal eruptions does sound like your kind of thing, you won't be disappointed by Cast the First Stone, and even I find myself being won over the more I listen.