Over the past four years we have seen Full of Hell release many full lengths and eps but now, with the edition of Masami Akita (aka Merzbow) legendary Japanese noise master, they clearly want to make a bolder, more focused statement in the world of noise music. The band consists of Dylan Walker (vocals, electronics and noise), Spencer Hazard (noise, guitar and vocals), David Bland (drums) and Brandon Brown (bass and vocals) and they hail from Maryland. One thing worth mentioning also is that the band is constantly touring and they have a very powerful and interesting live performance, which this writer had the privilege to witness last fall.
The album begins with “Burst Synapse,” which has a heavy grind feel mixed with some noise and a catchy riff. Later it blends in some powerviolence start and stops. “Gordian Knot” possesses some Napalm Death influence and lots of pounding interchanging grinding blasts and tribal drumming. On “Humming Miter” the band really does well pushing the envelope of powerviolence with lots of progressive themes and noise.
Next on the menu is “Blue Litmus.” Guitars blaze with such ferocity that it seems as if society’s rules and structures are torn up piece by piece. Fans will enjoy the pit frenzy that will ensue as this song moves along, and later this monster gobbles up the listener for slow digestion as sludgey guitar, drums and bass bare their teeth. “Raise Thee, Great Wall Bloodied and Terrible” sees the band using lots noise elements, harsh vocals and crashing cymbals to make a grand sound that most noise fans would enjoy.
“Thrum in the Deep” uses a slower plod to an otherwise destructive song where there’s a Converge feel. “Shattered Knife” is early Napalm Death grind worship at its finest. Later “Mute” uses an awesome bass into to unleash a pool of powerviolence that picks up more intensity by the end. Where this album really drops the experimental needle is on “High Fells” as they use industrial noise added with some Neurosis style vocals which to the listener may feel as though they are hearing the aftermath of an apocalypse. The structure of the song also aids in bringing together the clean and guttural vocals as well as trumpets or horns that appear later in the song.
Full of Hell wear their influences on their sleeves and aren’t afraid to go out and experiment on this release. It seems Merzbow was already a fan of theirs as well so the combination makes sense and fits well. If this is a natural progression in the genre of noise, powerviolence and grind then fans will be eagerly awaiting FOH’s next material. Also for the fan of the more noise side of things it should be noted that the accompanying bonus disc “Sister Fawn” is pure noise bliss.