Full of Hell paved their way with their two previous albums, Roots of Earth Are Consuming My Home and Rudiments of Multilation, establishing the band as a force to be reckoned with in the grindcore scene. Their mixture of the hardcore/crust with their grind core has proven golden so far, and now they are unleashing their third full-length, and their first album under Profound Lore. What is the catch here? Oh, they just have one of the legendary figures of the noise scene collaborating with them, Merzbow. This is a dream, or nightmare, come true, especially considering the tendency of Full of Hell for nosier paths. Let’s face it, the merge of noise and grindcore makes perfect sense when we are talking about sonic extremity.
Merzbow manages to add more depth and substance to the structures of Full of Hell with his performance. The introductions in the album are imminent with Full of Hell coming straight in for the first few seconds of “Burst Synapse” before passing the torch to Merzbow, who shows the ugliest face possible for his noise. As the album goes on, Merzbow finds a variety of ways to contribute to the music, mostly staying at bay in the background, as in “Blue Litmus” and with the sonic razors in “Thrum In The Deep.” That is not the only approach that the two artists undertake, with Full of Hell giving the lead to Merzbow at some instances while they stay on the background. That approach is used in tracks such as “Raise Thee, The Great Wall, Bloodied and Terrible,” where the effects swallow everything, and in the more ritualistic and imposing “Ludjet Av Gud.” But the absolute moments are the one when these two worlds collide. In “High Fells” the noise bursts offer sudden drops from reality, and the closing track sees the noise taking over the grindcore parts with a very fluid notion. Still the most impressive track from that aspect has to be “Mute.” It might be the shortest track of the album but it provides some excruciating moments of sheer intensity.
Still the album is based around Full of Hell, and they step up their game in this one. The manner in which they kick things off with “Burst Synapse” is relentless, and it seems like this band has no breaks. The aggressive approach is obviously at large here as the band unleashes a plethora of blastbeats and cutthroat vocals aimed directly at you. Tracks like “Gordian Knot” and “Humming Miter” showcase the best of the ferocity of Full of Hell. But still the band has the ability to shift very naturally to different attitudes. ”Thrum In The Deep” brings on one of the most intense moments of the album, and it does that with its mid-tempo groove. The thundering “High Fells,” with Merzbow still at large, further reveals that type of playing from the band as they reach an almost ritualistic pace, while Full of Hell is still able to retain that groove and play even faster, as they do in “Blue Litmus.” The groove of the track is apparent but the music is still fast as hell in parts.
What really separates Full of Hell from the more pedestrian grindcore acts, apart from having strong noise influences, is their playing. Their ability to adapt their music to different parts, with such a fluid manner is almost disturbing. In that the drumming plays a significant part, with a prime example being “Shattered Knife” with the changes between fast parts and heavy groove are impressive. And then you have instances such as the closing track, “Fawn Heads and Unjoy,” where the drumming becomes just ridiculous, pointless to even try and follow that thing.
While the type of feel that the band has constantly shifts in this album. Sure most of the songs might have the fast and aggressive approach, with the rapid playing showing a straightforward approach, but that is not all these guys can do. Merzbow helps out here with the songs where he is more on the spotlight, but there are cases where Full of Hell takes a different approach. “Thrum In The Deep” has a more claustrophobic feel to it, with a sickening sort of ambiance being transmitted by the band. And then a song such as “High Fells” has a more imposing and grand approach to it, with some surprising clean vocals in there as well. Especially when the high pitch shrieks join in the clean vocals the whole song goes berserk.
Full of Hell is capitalizing with their third full-length on their works up to this point. The collaboration with Merzbow was a really solid move, and in this album we can really see the band doing what they do best: tearing our ears apart!
7.7 / 10
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