Weeping Hour is keeping a sonic heaviness surging through underground Christian music; undoubtedly, the Louisiana-based prog-core quintet that arrived on the scene in 2018 is pushing the envelope. Because when it comes to religious-minded metalcore, it’d be hard to find a better debut than 2019’s Hunger and Thirst, the eight-song effort the band released in June.
Stylistically, it draws comparisons to a few similar-sounding forebearers. (Silent Planet and Oh, Sleeper net the bulk of those parallels.) Still, the Gothic symphony weaving in and out of the band’s first full-length release also calls to mind some classic tracks by Blood of the Martyrs and the guitar heroics some of the early work of Becoming the Archetype. The album is laced with orchestral passages as haunting as the four proper tunes driven by throaty growls and stunning guitar riffage. Tactfully, those respites only serve to sharpen the punch of booming tracks such as “A Rumor of Wisdom” and “Outlier.”
Lyrically, the album follows a train of thought found in a lot of modern Christian metal. It questions the beliefs of their elders or challenging the moral stances of the church; for like-minded music fans — whether active churchgoers or not — Weeping Hour offers plenty of armchair theology to rummage through.
Much of Hunger and Thirst focuses on the problem of suffering. Fabled Christian apologist C.S. Lewis called that great human conundrum “God’s megaphone” whereas contemporary New Testament scholar Bart D. Ehrman calls it “God’s problem,” Weeping Hour calls it, well, the “Weeping Hour.” And the group’s namesake tune signifying godly sorrow amid a symbolic funeral procession for man’s trivial pursuits embodies the nature of the band: “This is the hour in which we are given,” lead vocalist Ethan Prudhomme wails. “Siphoning sands hold us into submission.”
Do we deserve to suffer? Does he? “Would I be prideful to think that I have the answers?” Prudhomme asks elsewhere in the song. It’s a question to which the vocalist already knows the answer.