Full of Hell - Trumpeting Ecstasy
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Full of Hell. Arguably the most innovative band in the modern metal music scene. Throughout their career, the group has never stopped pushing the envelope. On their debut Roots of Earth are Consuming My Home, the group already showcased super tight musicianship, pounding through 30 minutes of heavy grindcore. Roughly two years later, they released Rudiments of Mutilation, where the group started seriously mixing harsh noise with grindcore, making for a monstrous, noisy, and chaotic LP that the underground extreme music community welcomed with open arms. Since then, the group has done two collaborative efforts but haven’t released an actual LP of their own. The first was with harsh noise legend Merzbow, which was more or less a continuation of Rudiments, but even tighter and more chaotic. Then they partnered with sludge/post metal act the body entitled One Day You Will Ache Like I Ache, which was hands-down the most punishing LP of the decade, and I mean that in the best sense possible. Both bands compliment each other well, creating a very loud, heavy, and evil LP. This was, by far, my favorite effort from both bands thus far.
However, I felt that Full of Hell did all that they could with their current direction. In order for the band to continue growing, they needed to become more innovative with their sound. Listening to their split with Nails last year, I could tell the group was on the right track. They sounded more “metal” while maintaining the chaotic and crushing sound that made them the band I loved. And now, we have Trumpeting Ecstasy. 11 tracks in 23 minutes, in typical Full of Hell fashion. Let’s dive right in because… holy fuck, I have a lot to say about this one.
This LP opens up with the track “Deluminate,” which is one of the fastest and angriest songs to open an LP in 2017. It’s roughly a minute long, and the sampled introduction takes up about 15 seconds, but the remainder of the track is absolutely chaotic, punishing, and mosh-worthy. I wanted to rip off heads in a matter of seconds. Everything about Full of Hell is tighter than ever before in their career. Again, we are only a minute in, and Trumpeting Ecstasy already sounds better than most LPs do five tracks in. Next up is “Branches of Yew.” The introduction is fucking crazy, with these guttural vocals climbing into high-pitched screams that just plow through the song at full force. It ends with a typical noise bit you would expect from Full of Hell, serving as introduction to the next track, “Bound Sphinx.”
We get some more full-force aggression, with the entire band just slaying through the runtime. There is an incredible breakdown where you can hear the bass rumbling, and the song gets pretty groovy before ending on another blast of violence, leading into “The Cosmic Vein.” This track starts on a beatdown-hardcore note before breaking into harsh noise, but with the beat of a drumhead, the song goes ballistic like only Full of Hell can. There’s a punk edge throughout, but it pulls out a spacey solo toward the end that bursts into a tremolo-picking rampage topped with Dylan Walker’s glass-breaking shrieks. It’s just further proof that Full of Hell are redefining what aggressive music means. Next up is “Digital Prison,” 40 seconds of blast beats and tremolo picking before “Crawling Back to God.” This track opens with a sample that leads into a much sludgier instrumental than what’s come before. It’s heavy as hell, featuring some suitably wretched mid-range vocals. Once it gets slower and heavier, the vocals get deeper and more growly. We even get vocals from the legendary Aaron Turner (SUMAC, ex-ISIS), which just makes perfect sense considering the amount of sludge on this track. The final scream bleeds into “Fractured Quartz,” another sub-minute neck-breaker. We get some nice backing vocals that really compliment the song’s anxious, angry tone.
Next up is “Gnawed Flesh,” which wins for best bass intro of the year, and the drums are absolutely mesmerizing. The breakdown gets me pumped with its chant of “Men will fail, men will always fail!”, alternately shrieked and growled as the instrumental gets slower and heavier and more minimalist as it goes on, and God am I headbanging my life out! A sample of whispering voices fades in as the rest of the song fades out, bridging into the next track, “Ashen Mesh.” The whispering explodes into a very punkish instrumental with these very gross vocals that I could only compare to Travis Ryan (Cattle Decapitation), except possibly even grosser.
The title track has my absolute favorite guests spot from Nicole Dollanganger. Her high, creepy voice over the super noisy drums, programmed by none other than Lee Buford (the body), is by far my favorite introduction to any track of this year so far. We get some more typical Full of Hell soon enough, intercut with Lee noising out on the drums, and then Dollanganger returns to keeping the track as unnerving as it was from the beginning before the LP comes to its conclusion with “At the Cauldron’s Bottom.” This song opens up with Full of Hell’s trademark ballistics, then goes into some tremolo picking, and there is nothing that could get me more psyched than Dylan Walker growling, “TRUM-PET-TING ECST-A-SY! TRUM-PET-TING ECST-A-SY!” The track is balls-to-the-wall aggression from then on, eventually droning out into noise before they bring back the sludge. This section is just super, super heavy. It only gets better as the song withers and the drums get louder and louder. This is truly the only way Full of Hell could’ve closed out Trumpeting Ecstasy.
Everything about Trumpeting Ecstasy is Full of Hell at absolute perfection. Spencer’s guitar work is loud and violent. Sam’s bass is thunderous and groovy. Dave continues to prove that there is no drummer in all of extreme music as angry as him. And of course, Dylan. He will always do something new with his voice to push songs to the next level, matching the passion and experimentation of the group. His shrieks on “The Cosmic Vein” are just absolutely impeccable.
Trumpeting Ecstasy is more than an LP. It’s an experience. 23 minutes is all Full of Hell needed to perform the best grindcore LP since Discordance Axis’s The Inalienable Dreamless. There is no fucking reason you should be missing out on this LP, and that is final.
- Alex Brown