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Full of Hell | ‘Trumpeting Ecstasy’

There are some reviews that just write themselves.

No doubt, the vast majority of things I’m asked to review tend to fall into mediocre territory.

Those are often quite difficult to write about because, while the band may be a tight unit, the ideas and songwriting may be so bland there’s little to actually write about, and thus a cycle begins of just regurgitating the one thought I have for that record throughout a 500 word review.

Boring for me, and not the most informative for the reader.

On the other hand, the ones when I’ve been handed something to review where there’s an angle on it (maybe a new member, a bit of pre release controversy, hype). Those are dead easy to write.

Even if I encounter the same problems with the songwriting as I’ve listed above, there’s a certain framework which allows me to shape the ideas, and incorporate that into the writing.

Then there are ones where everything about the album you’re reviewing is amazing, and it’s very easy to rave about the whole thing.

‘Trumpeting Ecstasy’ is one of those albums.

Burden Of Dreams

Openers can either ease the listener gently into the album, or hit them in the solar plexus. ‘Deluminate’ is very much the latter.

Beginning with a distorted sample of Werner Herzog from the documentary ‘Burden of Dreams’, it’s just flat out grind that’s played with precision and deadly force.

The combination of Dylan Walker’s high pitched screams and bassist Brandon Brown’s lower, guttural vocals sit perfectly in the mix, with neither fighting for prominence (thus distracting the listener) and David Bland’s drumming obliterates.

At just under a minute, the listener knows this is going to be a special record.

‘Branches of Yew’ flattens. I love how Walker is used for the first part of the song to punctuate Brown’s vocals. There’s a part of me that laughs, but another part that loves the full blown force on show because of it.

‘Digital Prison’ is another short, sharp shock of brutality with a scuzzy bassline that anchors the chaos. Bland is the star here, with his blastbeats wiping out all those around him.

Foremost Grind

By this point, I should be saying that you have the gist of how the LP sounds by now. But yet, there’s more to it than that.

Sure, it’s first and foremost a grind record. But there’s variety in there: listen to the Lustmord/Portishead influenced title track. The harshness of the distortion, combined with the almost ethereal female vocals (Canadian singer/songwriter Nicole Dollanganger), make for a genuinely haunting listening.

Or there’s ‘Gnawed Flesh’, which begins as straight up grind before slowing the pace down to almost doom levels. And ‘Crawling Back to God’ (with it’s spoken word intro lifted from William Peter Blatty’s ‘The Exorcist), with it’s epic crust/Prong riffage.

‘At the Cauldron’s Bottom’ is an almost epic number that recalls Nails and Trap Them. Once the grind is out of the way, guitarist Spencer Hazard plays a doomy, descending eight note riff that gives way to a slower pace, carrying on in such fashion for five minutes until all that is left is the sound of throbbing drums, giving the feeling of a descent into tribalism (and tying in nicely with Herzog’s quote at the start of the record).

Like their friends in Code Orange, they are firmly rooted in hardcore/grind, but aren’t afraid to use other influences to give their albums different textures.

And while this is standard operating procedures for the vast majority of bands, Full of Hell have a knack for creating cohesive, brutal albums that have a loose narrative throughout (without being linked to a specific concept) without ever losing the focus of grind: to melt your face off.

So, by employing different techniques, the face melting comes in both subtle and grandiose gestures. And, thanks to this, Full of Hell have delivered one of the albums of the year (as they did last year with their split LP with The Body: ‘One Day You Will Ache Like I Ache’).

Ireland’s Unyielding Love will be joining them for a UK tour in July. I’d avoid those moshpits if you’re of a sensitive disposition.

There, that was easy.

4.5 / 5 – Christopher Owens ::: 16/04/17

  1. Totally concur with this. It’s a very well layered and smartly executed dark grind album with serious ferocity. Great listen altogether.

  2. pentagrimes Says:

    aaaand there’s an interview on the way.

  3. Barrytron Says:

    Awesome cover art

  4. I find that with every release, these guys get better. For me, the collaboration with Merzbow was the moment I thought: “Actually, these lads are really on to something”. The above track is whopper, as I expect the rest of the record to be also.

  5. David Losi Says:

    (Correction, if I’m not mistaken.) All vocals are handled by Dylan, this time around. Brandon left the band, sometime in 2015. Their new bassist, Sam DiGristine, in fact is the guitar player for Dave Bland’s other group, “Jarhead Fertilizer.”

    Great read! From an anxious fan, myself, May 5th can’t come soon enough!!

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