Full of Hell
5th May 2017 – Profound Lore
02. Branches Of Yew
03. Bound Sphinx
04. The Cosmic Vein
05. Digital Prison
06. Crawling Back To God
07. Fractured Quartz
08. Gnawed Flesh
09. Ashen Mesh
10. Trumpeting Ecstasy
11. At The Cauldron’s Bottom
There are grind bands writing songs about poo, and then there are acts on the periphery exploring experimental noise music in the wake of pioneers like Merzbow, focused through a grind lens. Full of Hell fall firmly into the second category; a forward-thinking outfit clawing at the outer boundaries of their sound, but still identifiably grindcore.
Full Of Hell are singularly harrowing. Their back catalogue shows a band unsatisfied with grindcore’s palette of upsetting noises. Flirtations with power electronics on Roots Of Earth Are Consuming My Home would later blossom into the hellish noisescape of One Day You Will Ache As I Ache (with The Body). Later, they’d pay tribute to the king of noise on their Merzbow collaboration. These have informed Trumpeting Ecstasy, though the record is much tighter and more disciplined than before; where previous records had leaned towards formlessness, Trumpeting Ecstasy for the most part conforms to a grind structure.
There’s a real sense that the band have taken what they’ve learned from their collaborations and condensed it, crystallising the formless, toothy, spit-flecked noise from the far reaches of unsettling experimental music and dragged it across a grind framework. On the first half, the band flash their furious grind chops, cranking bangers like “Bound Sphinx” and “Branches of Yew“. This is some of their most straightforward material in ages, but it’s fluid and powerful; both cerebral and feral.
The second half of the record opens up much more of a gauntlet of frightening sounds, introducing collaborators such as Aaron Turner, who appears on “Crawling Back To God“, the mid-point. His familiar growl adds a note of depth to a bleach-soaked, merciless offering. Later, tracks like “Trumpeting Ecstasy” combine raw electronic noise with the eerie vocals of guest Nicole Dollanganger – the most out-there track on the record. Concluding track “At The Cauldron’s Bottom” finishes up with thunderous percussion, an oddly warm ending vaguely reminiscent of the Melvins.
It’s track like “Cauldron’s Bottom” that show a slightly more approachable side of Full of Hell. Above all, the record is engaging; sounding familiar does not equate to feeling stale. Much like Anaal Nathrakh‘s inclusion of weird melody helps to anchor listeners, so too do moments like this. In turn, an inclusive spirit makes their electronic noise deviancies fresher and more urgent.
Is there a sense that they should have continued their previous trajectory and produced something more cacophonous and unapproachable? Not really; it’s a risk for Full of Hell to dial their sound back and consider how they would explore left-field noise influence with pre-existing limitations. Producing a grind record as unsettling as this is quite a feat; if not their most impenetrable, certainly their most mature and complete.
This is one of the freshest grind releases this year and despite the apparent traditionalism, This is one of the freshest grind releases this year and despite the apparent traditionalism, Full Of Hell take a number of well-rewarded risks. They are an Important Band; labeling Trumpeting Ecstasy as ‘returning to their roots’ sounds like they’re searching for an identity; allowed to shine on their own, it’s clear they never lost sight of it.