Label: Tartarus Records
Three similar bands: Tomb Mold/Blood Incantation/Infinite Waste

Rating: HHHHHHH (3/7)
Reviewer: Daniel Källmalm
1. A Single Rose
2. Scum
3. Mantra
4. Apostasy
5. Palindrome
6. Psychedelic Neurogenesis
7. Discordia Tetrahedron
8. Lullaby

Matt Eiseman - Guitar/Vocals
Alexander Huddleston - Bass
Kevin Swartz - Drums

Tithe (EP 2017)


Recorded and Mixed by Fester at Haywire Recording Studios
Mastered by Adam Gonzalves at Telegraph Mastering
Cover art by Jef Whitehead
Back cover art by Stevie Floyd
Band Logo by Gregory Holmes

Released 2020-05-15
Reviewed 2020-07-28


tartarus records

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I think that “fun artwork” was the first thing I thought when I got this album. From that it took a while until I started working on the review and noticed that the artwork was just about the only thing fun about the debut album by this American trio. Penance is the first album, they did a self-titled EP in 2017 and are in the press material described as a force to be reckoned with in the metal genre and that they do something truly unique – I disagree, but I understand why you say that as a promotor; you can hardly sell anything by pointing out that it is more or less the same as most stuff released. But they claim that everything is full of shit, so as I am pointed out twice in that speech in Apostasy, they don’t really need to pay attention to what I write.

Warped dirges of death metal with infusions of grindcore and swampy undertones of sludge and doom is what it is. I guess that is a pretty accurate description, it is dirgy and death metallic with some speedier grindcore elements that gives some pace to a fairly slow album. The vocals are as generic as they come, not much uniqueness there and I cannot really say that the music itself is unique as it sounds pretty typical, the only thing really deviating from standard formats is that they have many spoken word parts.

The production is not standing out either, the soundscape is more or less as it is within this bracket of the extreme metal genre. I don’t think that this is a particularly good album, the songs are rather boring, and the album don’t really go anywhere despite an interesting theme on psychological things and psychedelic things as well. The possibility to tell good stories in that area is very big but they really fail to utilize this and the only thing that is even close to good is the spoken word parts and I don’t really like spoken word parts in music.

So, Penance is an album that doesn’t impress me much, or even at all. It is a pretty dull and dreary showcase of uninteresting death metal dirgery, hadn’t it been for some faster and more grindcorish elements it would have been a terrible album. I don’t doubt that some hardcore fans of the genre will find this album very appealing, but I doubt that the general audience will have any interest in an album like this. It doesn’t offer anything that feels exciting, the cover is probably the only thing that isn’t substandard in my opinion.