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Italian brutalisers Hour of Penance are bringing their maniacal, yet precise brand of death metal to Australia for the first time this month, alongside Polish masters Behemoth. Loud had a brief conversation with guitarist Giulio Moschini about the tour, their next album and his favourite releases of 2013 thus far.

Q: The band is headed to Australia for the first time this month. What are your expectations for the trip?
A: We heard great things from other bands that toured already in Australia, and we really can’t wait to be there. This year we’ve managed to tour the US and Europe twice, and touring Australia will be just a great ending for the Sedition touring cycle. At the moment we’re recording the new album and we’ll start promoting it from the first months of 2014.

Q: Have you toured much with Behemoth in the past?
A: This will be the first time we share the stage with Behemoth. We played a couple of festivals with them as headliners, though. I’ve (been) following the band since their early years; first time I saw them on-stage was around 2001-2002 here in Rome, and seeing where they are now is very inspiring for bands like us. They always deliver a killer show; probably one of the best extreme metal live bands I’ve ever seen.

Q: Does your live show have a theatrical bent similar to theirs?
A: It’s different. They have a unique approach to their live show; it’s definitely more complex and elaborate than ours. We have a more “classical” approach to that, though I’d like to take it to another level at some point.

Q: Good to hear. What are the main positives and negatives of being in a metal band which tours the world?
A: It’s hard to pick the downside of touring; to us it’s always a lot of fun though we “try” to be as professional as we can. The positives definitely outdo the negatives. It’s hard when you’re out on the road; anything can happen, but if you’re with the right people even the most difficult of problems can be solved.

Q: Interesting. Hour of Penance has experienced quite a few line-up changes throughout your history. How solid is the current incarnation of the band?
A: Pretty solid actually. We needed people who wanted to tour and are committed to the band as much as I am. It’s always hard to find good musician(s) capable to play this demanding style of music, and at the same time who are willing to tour.

Q: Do you feel these line-up changes have hindered the band’s progress in any way in the past?
A: We were lucky to find new people very quick, and anytime we had a line-up change the band got stronger and stronger. I think that line-up changes are inevitable. If something is not working inside the band you have to fix it quick, otherwise the problems will have that snowball effect that could lead the band to major issues.

Q: How is the follow-up to Sedition progressing, especially compared to your previous records?
A: We’ll start tracking the drums this week at our bass player’s studio and we’ll finish the recordings after the Australian tour. The material is definitely a step forward in terms of songwriting compared to Sedition. Everything will be better than the last record, from songwriting to production. We’ve managed to have a lot of songs to choose (from) this time; every song sounds good actually. We still don’t know how many will end up on the new record… I’m sure our fans will love this new material.

Q: Is the band influenced by many new death metal and extreme metal acts, or is it primarily the same sources which inspired Hour of Penance’s early music that still impact on your songwriting?
A: Nothing’s changed , we’re still “loyal” to our roots; Cannibal Corpse, Morbid Angel, Angel Corpse, Immolation and Hate Eternal were the bands that influenced us the most when we started playing this kind of music. We’ve incorporated a bit of their style, but we’ve definitely found our way to play and our identity album by album.

Q: On a personal note, what have been some of your favourite releases and gigs of 2013?
A: I actually stayed away from metal this year; that helped me a lot in getting new ideas for the new album. I listened to other music, and so far my favourite albums are Queens of the Stone Age’s …Like Clockwork and Alice in Chains’ The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here. My favourite gig was seeing Kiss for the first time here in Italy – kick ass show.

Q: Any famous last words?
A: Thanks a lot for your interview. To the readers – see you in Australia!

Hour of Penance is touring with Behemoth this month:
24/10: Capitol, Perth WA (+ Advent Sorrow)
25/10: Prince Bandroom, Melbourne VIC (+ Cemetery Urn)
26/10: Manning Bar, Sydney NSW (+ Exekute)
27/10: HiFi Bar, Brisbane QLD (+ Eternal Rest)