This interview with the guitarist Enrico Schettino from the Italian death metal band Hour Of Penance was done through e-mail in May 2003 by Cseke Róbert.

How long have Hour Of Penance been playing together? Any of the members played this kind of music in other bands before this? What other genres of music do the bands members listen to?
We are together since 1999, we started as a death/black cover band. At that time we had more enthusiasm than original ideas: our 1st interest was to sound like an early 90's Floridian band... then we've grown up! I mean, we tried (and we're still trying) to evolve our sound & our style, mixing different influences from U.S.A. and also from Europe. In fact, our listenings go from death to black, grind, thrash, crust... personally I love also NEUROSIS and weird stuff like LYKATHEA AFLAME, Francesco is a bit more thrash-oriented, Mauro & Mike are long-time oldschool black metal fans.

Were there any changes in the line-up since Hour Of Penance first got together, or is the present band the same as the one you started out with?
At the end of 2001 Francesco (guitar) left the band, apparently because he wanted to play different music... Stefano took his place but he started after a while with his work of sound-engineer (he's the man behind "Disturbance"'s sound, that we recorded in our studios) and decided to leave H.O.P. due to his lack of time for the band. In the meantime, Francesco kept in good contact with us, so when Stefano quitted we asked to him, and he was very happy to enter the band again.

Is there a main man in the band - someone who writes the lyrics, comes up with the main ideas and directs the ongoing of things, or is it all teamwork?
About the lyrics, I write'em all. I also come up with the songs' framework (you know, guitar riffs, ideal drum parts...) but the teamwork comes at the most important moment, which is the arrangements time. From my point of view, without a good work made with arrangements you just can't write decent death metal songs... bands like NILE and HATE ETERNAL gave the world a good lesson of it.

I've listened to your album 'Disturbance' ('Mystification As Law' is my personal favourite) and I gotta say thet there's some very interesting sounds (familiar ones) in some of the songs (Nile for ex.) - but there's some very original, european sounding (that's a good point from my perpective) metal at work also. Any comments on the way you recorded, wrote and toured this album? (how well did it do on the market, were the songs tough to finish, to record etc.)
Thank you very much. In fact, "Disturbance" represents what HOUR OF PENANCE is today: a blasting sonic assault that mixes aggression and complexity, a sound in a continuous search of evolution. The most positive thing that you can say is that you find some original elements in our music, 'cause this is definitively our goal. However, for endless inspiration we will always thank bands like NILE, INCANTATION, GORGASM & other great combos that came out these years, without forgetting the "North European brutal sound" of those incredible acts like SPAWN OF POSSESSION and DEEP RED!! The making of the album was very exciting but also tiring, especially during the recording & mixing session: that was due to the fact that we decided to build our own recording studio (so we faced endless technical problems as you can imagine), but also because this was our 1st full-length and we're not so prepared for such vast amount of work! It took more than a month to make the album sound as we wanted to... it was tiring but at the end we felt 100% satisfied of the whole work. The album is doing quite well until now, we had some very positive review and of course we're really glad about it!

What metal band would you like to go on tour with if you'd have the freedom to pick it out for yourself?
Nice question! Personally, to be in tour with NILE would be like going to school, to be in tour with CANNIBAL CORPSE would be beyond a dream.

If this brutal death wouldn't work out for you (don't get me wrong, i wish you guys the best!!) what would Hour Of Penance be playing?
I listen to a lot of music, from swedish crustcore to cuban music (it's not a joke) but I don't know if I could play another kind of music instead of brutal death with the same conviction and passion.

Is it hard playing in a death - metal band, do you get to play many concerts or is the metal scene as bad in Italy as in the rest of the World?
I think I can't even talk about an Italian brutal death metal scene. Don't get me wrong, there are some good bands, like NATRON or our friends CORPSE FUCKING ART, but is not enough to talk about "scene": people here is simply not interested in death metal, they prefer power-metal & melodic shit. Nothing to say about it, it's a matter of taste. The result is that to have some brutal death gig even in our city becames quite impossible (I remind you we're from Rome, which is not actually a small town). Most of people here loves to chattering instead of doing their work.

Final question: is Hour Of Penance a satanic band? Do any of the members actually believe in the occult rituals or such or is death metal the music of choice for other reasons?
Hehehe, no, none of us is satanic. We play death metal for we believe there?s no other music like to express such violent and aggressive feelings. Our whole inspiration comes from the real world: sometimes reality goes beyond the sickest imagination. I heard of a french writer that once said: "If the devil believes he can make men worse, he's an optimist". I'm totally agree with him.

I'd like to thank you guys for taking the time to answer my questions and I'm looking forward to any of your future projects. I wish you all the best and hope you'll manage to capture a much biger audiance with your music from now on - because you'd really deserve it.
We all thank you and Tartarean Desire for your support, hope "Disturbance" will reach all sikk metalheads in the planet, keep in touch for more news and maybe for some hot tour dates... H.O.P. is coming to you !!!!

Links of interest:

Hour Of Penance
Xtreem Music