Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Review: Full Of Hell-Full Of Hell/Merzbow


In the roughly year and a half since Full Of Hell released their second full length, 2013's excellent Rudiments Of Mutilation, and the band has certainly been busy:consistently touring all over the world,turning heads with their notoriously vicious live presence and building into a name now instantly recognized by a wide spectrum of extreme music fans from all sides of the fence. The band's lethal combination of raging powerviolence, grindcore, blackened death metal and harsh noise has been honed and sharpened to perfection as they have developed as a band, and they've emerged with a sound that can truely be claimed as wholly their own and one that makes them stand out among their like minded peers. Rudiments saw a massive amount of growth for the band 2011's Roots Of Earth Are Consuming My Home, and there is a similar growth in Full Of Hell/Merzbow, their third LP which proves to be their most ambitious and sonically devastating release to date.

As the title would suggest, Full Of Hell's new full length is also a collaboration record with the legendary and ridiculously prolific Japanese noise artist Merzbow. With a staggering amount of material and years of dedication to his craft, Merzbow is one of the most widely renowned and well known purveyors of noise, and his penchant for the genre paired with the band's  is a perfect match. Musically, the band is as heavy and volatile as ever, blasting out harrowing bursts of grind/powerviolence and occasionally slowing the pace to a slow and sludge ridden crawl, while vocally layering their assault with a mix of black and death metal esque vocals that coalesce into one of the most menacing and evil sounds I've ever heard a band of any genre achieve. Along with the faster more grindcore driven material, it's a real treat whenever the band decides to really slow things down, especially on "High Fells", a true standout on the album that brings to mind the crushing force of classic earlier Neurosis material such as Through Silver In Blood and Times Of Grace. The track shows the band continuing to evolve and reach into other extreme genres, leaving their own unique mark on them as they carry through. Another break in the pace comes earlier in the album in the midpoint track "Thrum In The Deep" which opens with a decidedly 90's era angular hardcore riff that brings to mind flashbacks of the hardcore punk fury the band displayed on their 2011 debut Roots Of Earth.

It's also important to note that the Full Of Hell/Merzbow collaboration is the band's first release for Profound Lore Records, and that the compact disc version of the record that comes out this November will come with a bonus disc "Sister Fawn" that is essentially a flip in the amount of contribution from each artist. While the main album is essentially a Full Of Hell record written around Merzbow's contribution, Sister Fawn is the opposite, with the band lending their talents to 5 songs crafted by the  Japanese noise legend himself. It's easily some of the most engaging Merzbow material I've heard in years, and something all fans of harsh noise will certainly want to hear as soon as possible. The two albums work very well together in succession, and are a clear indicator that Full Of Hell have come ever closer to fully envisioning the bleak sounds they first started crafting in their inception of a band. In fact, it's very rare to see a band evolve and progress this far in such a short amount of time. Full Of Hell/Merzbow is simply the band's heaviest, harshest and best written material to date, and by far one of the best extreme music albums of any genre to drop this year. It's an album that will continue to turn even more heads as extreme music fans from all corners will be able to appreciate the madness that is unfolding here. Another high watermark for one of extreme music's best current bands.

Preorder "Full Of Hell/Merzbow" via Profound Lore Records
Stream "Gordian Knot" and "Blue Litmus" via bandcamp