Following two collaborations, two solo full lengths and a plethora of EPs, splits and singles, Trumpeting Ecstasy sees harsh grind death pioneers Full Of Hell entering a new era in sound. Following in the direction of the band’s Amber Mote… EP and their subsequently released split with Nails, Full Of Hell’s latest effort again leans towards the band’s death metal roots, inching farther from yet still retaining the group’s core musical identity. Imbued with higher registers of sound, greater emphases on technicality and death metal atmospherics, Trumpeting Ecstasy is a progressive, exultant exercise in sound. It pummels with a forward driving, almost-upbeat swagger with a surprising sense of form and accessibility that speaks to the instrumental mastery, sub-genre knowledge and cohesion of the band as a unit.
With influences ranging from grind to Hydrahead Records to black metal to Morrisound death metal to harsh noise to doom metal to hardcore, Full Of Hell are a band whose musical density has left their music rich and unique. No one can deny that moving the band’s focus to death metal this time around is a risk. Death metal is a relatively old genre, having been defined and elaborated relentlessly by locale, time and sub-genre. Couple that with fan’s expectations (or lack of expectations) about the scope and experimental nature of Full Of Hell established thus far and it’s a gamble that risks the loss of the band’s refreshing musical voice so far. Thankfully, be it guitarist Spencer Hazard’s signature riffing, chords and transitions, vocalist Dylan Walker’s unmistakable vocal phrasing and texture, drummer Dave Bland’s fill-heavy, technical and punishing drumming, bassist Sam DiGristine’s impacting backup or the group’s collective love for weirdness, there is no doubt that this final product is inimitable Full Of Hell.
Under the production helm of legend Kurt Ballou, Trumpeting Ecstasy’s riffs retain clarity, identity and purpose, even in the face of some of the fastest, transition-heavy and complex material the band has written. The true power of this latest effort lies in the band having found yet more new ground to configure the connective violence between their varied genre influences. The band’s scathing pg.99/Gasp and black metal bases translate to futuristic sounding Discordance Axis/Gridlink hypergrind and their usage of angular Man Is The Bastard-esque riff work branch out to a complex, chunkier Gorguts/Cannibal Corpse approach. All the while, galloping punk beats, breakdowns (including an especially sick blown out bass and drum one at the end of “Bound Sphinx”), Grief/Noothgrush sludge and piercing track ending barrages still find their place in between the rejuvenated chaos. It’s a powerful wire-walking act that constricts the band’s scope (lessening emphasis on noise and weirder ventures) and masterfully expands the work and variation of the band’s already present violent variables. And as usual, expect relentless escalation and for all frequencies to be running on a numbing 100% at all times.
After a trudging distinguishably Full Of Hell intro, “The Cosmic Vein” rings out midway on a familiar chord echoing “Endless Drone” (off of the group’s debut, Roots Of Earth Are Consuming My Home). Shortly afterwards, the track crescendos to a surprising Blood Incantation-esque technical death metal tapping section before the listener is kicked in and atomically eviscerated by the concluding, piercing grind upheaval. In a perhaps unintentional moment of self-reference, the track compositionally feels like it is closing out one era of Full Of Hell and entering an exciting other. If Trumpeting Ecstasy is any indication of future voyage, I hope the trip only gets weirder.
Rating: Popeye’s Chicken Pre-Burger King Acquisition
Release Date: May 5th, 2017
Label: Profound Lore Records
Favorite Tracks: The Album is The Experience
For Fans of: Gridlink, Mellow Harsher, Nails, Dead In The Dirt