Full of Hell have been around since 2009 releasing a slew of splits, EPs, a couple of collaborative albums – of most note with Merzbow, the out there Japanese noise-musician – and a couple of albums of their own. They have always well displayed what they have learnt from those they collaborate with.
Being so prolific can bring some bands’ content and output down, but not here. This album is one of the most chaotic and intense listening experiences I can remember for a while. Opening with a small spoken word about misery with no pointer of the chaos about to consume you for the next 25 mins, ‘Deluminate’ is a master class in grindcore chaos.
This blends quickly into the more death-feeling ‘Branches of Yew’, leaving you already waiting to catch your breath, something that you get to do on third track ‘Bound Sphinx’ that keeps the changes coming with an almost relaxing breakdown taking hold in the centre of the song and holding out until the end.
Kurt Ballou’s expert production barely contains the fury on display here, and his touches are evident throughout, but in particular on ‘Crawling Back To God’ and ‘Fractured Quartz’ with the more hardcore/noise feel on display. But it clarity that he has brought to the album, even among the chaos you can feel every drum hit, and hear every note played to perfection.
Of late I have begun noticing bands going back to hiding the best tracks at the end of an album. FOH are no different. ‘Trumpeting Ecstasy’ brings in the ethereal vocals of Nicole Dollanganger floating beautifully above the harsh industrial sounds before Dylan Walker breaks the peace with more of his hellish input as the song continues to be something nightmares are made of. Closing out with the longest track on the album ‘At The Cauldron’s Bottom’ see the intensity of band crank up one more notch, if that was even possible, and acting as a sum of the previous 20 minutes’ listening.
Grindcore by its very nature has always been a very outsider form of music, always abrasive and willing to experiment, but with that can come a difficulty to digest and gain fans. This album is different. Very abrasive and very aggressive, it holds its own in a way I find difficult to describe other than to say you have to hear it to try and understand what I mean. Consume and enjoy.
2. Branches of Yew
3. Bound Sphinx
4. The Cosmic Vein
5. Digital Prison
6. Crawling Back to God
7. Fractured Quartz
8. Gnawed Flesh
9. Ashen Mesh
10. Trumpeting Ecstasy
11. At the Cauldron’s Bottom