Shredding guitars, warp speed blasting drums, gut churning bass and nightmarish vocals don’t do Full of Hell‘s latest offering Trumpeting Ecstasy the justice it deserves. Full of Hell is one of those bands you hear a lot about because they always seem to be doing something. The Maryland/Pennsylvania noise terror savants have partnered with Canadian label Profound Lore to release one of 2017’s essential grind records. A prolific band, seemingly always on tour or making a new record they keep themselves in the spotlight of heavy music and let their actions speak louder than words. Their hard work has paid off, however, as they are recognized as one of the premier acts in today’s modern grindcore scene.
With Trumpeting Ecstasy Full of Hell eschew any of the extra filler or collaborative leanings of recent releases and stick solely to their own brand of devastating blitzkrieg. Being such a young band and having a healthy and hearty catalogue behind them only serves to bolster the need to top themselves each time and this is evident right from the onset of ferocious opener “Deluminate”. Standout track “Crawling Back to God” also makes great use of mind bending dynamics, making for some nice thrash riffs and open ringing chords.
Along with working on their own early material and their efforts collaborating with avantgarde noise artists like The Body and Merzbow in recent years, Full of Hell have been busy. Because of this I’m sure that many fans of the grindcore genre and Full of Hell were pleased to see a release only bearing their moniker finally drop. While artistic efforts produced by working together are unique and often produce great results, more often than not it leaves me wondering, what if? I question whether other listeners are wondering what it would have been like had a particular artist completed some specific material on their own, without the influence of peripheral input. Sadly in these cases, no one will ever know the alternative.
Most of the playtimes for these songs are about one to two minutes in length, ultra quick bursts of disjointed anger and volatility meant to be completely jarring. Slotted in among the second half of the album, thankfully, are a few of the bands more dense compositions. Slower, drawn out and noticeably more stripped down then their faster brethren, songs like the previously cited “Crawling Back to God” and album closer “At the Cauldron’s Bottom” showcase a more diverse side of this Maryland grindcore outfit. It’s nice to hear a band do it all, flexing muscles on different ends of the extreme music spectrum.
Full of Hell’s recording is violent and big sounding for a four piece; spearheaded by a guitar tone unique to this band, its heavy emphasis on the mids allows for some nice clarity among all the insanity. Trying to compete with drummer Dave Bland is a full time job for their six string slayer Spencer Hazard (such an appropriate name) and this added bit of definition allows for nuances to be heard that might otherwise be lost with too much treble or gain. Newest member Sam DiGristine’s bass holds down the other half of the rhythm section admirably, his low end punch constantly thumping you in the guts. Arguably, losing half their rhythm section in 2015 hasn’t changed much thanks to DiGristine’s competency. All of this chaos is sewn together with the shrieks and guttural growls and sparse electronic samplings of Dylan Walker.
These four madmen are no slouches when it comes to crafting huge sounding, yet short scale runs of insanity. They utilize every moment with impeccable cleverness, just the way grindcore should be played. Even on tracks like “Gnawed Flesh” where the pace slows to the crawl of a dying man. This is also notable on the superb title track with its delicate and necessary female vocals; it becomes obvious that the band doesn’t mince music. It doesn’t take away from anything by overdoing their compositions, providing maximum effect. Trumpeting Ecstasy isn’t here to challenge any grindcore standards, it does however, deliver its own powerful addition to the canon.