Full of Hell – Coagulated Bliss


American noisemongers, Full of Hell, have been active in every single year since their formation in 2009. Whether it be a single, an EP, a live album, a split record, a collaboration, or an LP, they always have something to promote online, at the record store, or on the road. As one of the best-rated noise bands of the last ten years, their reputation is prestigious enough to have landed them invites to the Roadburn Festival and onto the YouTube channel of Amoeba Music for their excellent What’s in My Bag? series. They’ve released music through Profound Lore, Relapse Records and Neurot Recordings and collaborated with The Body, Merzbow and Primitive Man. Album number six comes at a time when their stock could not be higher. So, what should we make of a record that finishes after twenty-five minutes?

Full of Hell have no time for confrontation. They skip straight to the violence and obliterate their opponents before they can blink. Opener, ‘Half Life Changelings’, thrives on jazz chords played in distortion with manic drum fills and blast beats. The vocals are more absurd than the demon voice in The Exorcist II. You can hear a clear death metal streak running through this song, but the ‘Doors to Mental Agony’ is more akin to hardcore ramped up for an extreme metal audience. Of course, this band’s roots are in punk. ‘Transmuting Chemical Burns’ reminds us of this, although drummer, Dave Bland, must be ripped if he can hold together a live show at this level of intensity.

Twelve songs at the same eviscerating speed would be manageable, but Full of Hell live and breathe obscure and experimental music. ‘Fractured Bonds to Mecca’ is the first sign of unorthodoxy with an industrial thud of snares and fuzzy bass. This is the band in their avant-garde attire. The vocals are more terrifying and painful here because the guitars stay in the background like an early Swans song. ‘Bleeding Horizon’ starts with a clean guitar that beckons you into its orbit like an entity that knows you’ll be scared, but there’s nothing to fear… Until a pitch of feedback screeches from the amps like the spaceship sent to rescue ET from suburban America in 1982. It’s drone metal but with vocal gut-contortions.

Is the raison d’être of this band to sound as hostile and as uncommercial as possible? There’s no doubt these guys know how to structure a grinding extreme metal album without falling into the trap of being a one-dimensional artist. But Coagulated Bliss is not always on point. A few bizarre moments will leave your eyebrows twitching. The title-track asks you to imagine Napam Death covering a stoner rock band. Here, the pentatonic guitar riffing stands out because it’s so rare on this album (which is to be expected from a noise band). ‘Vacuous Dose’ is grindcore with shrieking screams and bizarre showmanship riffs. The bass tone is uglier than a putrefying deer carcass.

They look like well-mannered college graduates with an interest in landing an IT job for one of the big tech firms, but don’t be fooled by the image. This is the sound of a deadly white-collar rage. Penultimate track, ‘Gelding of Men’, is pure self-flagellation. Choking on a chicken bone, in front of the television, with your dinner on your lap, would be less painful.

Full of Hell can go in any number of different directions, but you know it’ll always be extreme and from the gut. Perhaps ‘Schizoid Rupture’ sums them up best with its impressive string-skipping riffs in the intro and absurd death metal vocals that sound like a grizzly bear ripping the head off an elk. Nothing can tame these boys.


Verdict


Release Date: 26/04/2024

Record Label: Closed Casket Activities

Standout tracks: Half Life Changelings; Fractured Bonds to Mecca; Bleeding Horizon

Suggested Further Listening: Insect Warfare – World Extermination (2007), Nails – Abandon All Life (2013), Wasp Mother – Digital Pollution EP (2024)