Full Of Hell

Weeping Choir

Written by: AP on 03/07/2019 20:17:26

Grindcore has never been my thing, but as they say, you have to try everything at least once in order to earn the right to pass judgment on it. This is why I have dabbled in the genre every now and then and even discovered a handful or artists that speak to me, among them Full of Hell, whose 2017 album “Trumpeting Ecstasy” had enough new ideas and peculiarities in it to stand out from what often sounds like little else than cold noise to me. Almost exactly two years to the day, the East Coast outfit has returned with what vocalist Dylan Walker describes as a sister record to its predecessor — a more sombre affair dealing with the wake of “Trumpeting Ecstasy”’s opening a window to his personal life and lashing out at the world. Keen eyes will also note that the artwork of this latest album “Weeping Choir” is in fact the inverted image of “Trumpeting Ecstasy”, implying a kind of yin and yang relationship between the two.

It is, however, not a prerequisite to understanding “Weeping Choir” to have listened to the previous album, as this latest barrage provides a pretty comprehensive tour of the band’s ethos. Tracks such as the opening duo “Burning Myrrh” and “Haunted Arches” offer glimpses of chaos and extremity with their unforgiving cascades of mechanistic blastbeats and shredded guitar riffs, while the likes of “Thundering Hammers” and “Silmaril” continue splicing old-school death metal into the group’s grinding core. Elsewhere, the magnificent “Armory of Obsidian Glass” commits a blatant violation of genre conventions — first by slowing things down to a crawl, and since by clocking in nearly seven minutes of runtime, as it wades through a swamp of raw and nasty sludge metal, takes a moment to shoegaze in peace, and then soars into a crescendo of tremolo melodies and ambience by guitarist Spencer Hazard in signature Wolves in the Throne Room fashion. Full of Hell have seldom erred on the side of caution, but in this track the band’s level of ambition is higher than ever, transcending the traditional boundaries of grindcore and powerviolence to give birth to something far more interesting and lasting. And even when the band does refrain from straying too far outfield in songs like “Angels Gather Here” and “Ygramul the Many”, there still tends to be some kind of innovation hidden within the grind, typically in the shape of dissonant and often quite outlandish electronic noises.

“Weeping Choir” is a delightfully varied record then, although as a disclaimer it should be underlined that one needs to have some predisposition to very extreme music in order to reap the full rewards of it. Most of the instrumentation remains cacophonous, and this is a deliberate choice, as it creates a perfect harmony with Walker’s lyricism, which rails against religion and the people who presume to dictate how other people should live, think or feel. The sudden flareups of melody that do exist in a number of the songs (such as “Downward”) thus play more like an alarm tone than sweet respite, helping to colour the album in grim, apocalyptic hues, and showing no understanding for those who prefer their music a little more coherent. Make no mistake: even though “Weeping Choir” adheres to Full of Hell’s proud tradition of always moving forward, the music remains very much an acquired taste, albeit one that seems to be getting more palatable for me with every new release.


Download: Burning Myrrh, Thundering Hammers, Armory of Obsidian Glass, Silmaril
For the fans of: Aborted, Cult Leader, Nails, Weekend Nachos
Listen: Facebook

Release date 17.05.2019
Relapse Records

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