Review Summary: Diminishing Returns
Full of Hell - Garden of Burning Apparitions
There’s no denying the body of work that Full of Hell have created has been nothing short of impressive. In a genre designed to burn out even some of the most established veterans, at any point in the past twelve years Full of Hell seem capable of tapping into a new vein of creativity and destruction: now five official full-length LPs, two collab LPs with Portland weirdos The Body, one collab with the noise GOAT himself Merzbow, countless EPs, splits, mixtapes, and live albums. What has started out as a small sludge-influenced powerviolence band buried deep in the depths of A389 Recordings have now become some of the leading torchbearers of extreme metal.
Their latest offering on their fifth LP, Gardens of Burning Apparitions
, continues upon a cacophonous aural tidal wave that began with their collaboration with Merzbow many years prior. While never shying away from noise as a musical genre, the split has been a watershed moment for the group, as nearly every release (collaborations with The Body excluded) has been some sort of tribute or attempt to one-up it in some way. Perhaps the admittedly tempered reviews of the split have galvanized the group to fully cultivate that particular sound even further, or perhaps becoming forever associated with their musical idol have shed some clarity on their career path as a collective, but what has become clear is that the same band that created Rudiments of Mutilation
are much different than the one that dropped Trumpeting Ecstasy
four years later.
Having established that, it should come as no surprise that Full of Hell refuse to coddle the listener on Gardens of Burning Apparition
. Opening track “Guided Blight” sees the group at their most manic: vocalist Dylan Walker somehow finds another high gear in his demonic banshee screams and gutturals, guitarist Spencer Hazard pummeling riff after riff, while drummer David Bland continues to prove why he’s the one of the most talented behind the kit. It’s a perfect conglomeration of technical prowess and blind fury, aspects only a well-oiled veteran group can execute to near perfection. The hammering further continues well into the LP. “Reeking Tunnels” sees Full of Hell delving into post-hardcore influenced industrial tones and is the welcome kind of experimentation that shows creativity and ingenuity. More of that, please.
Ultimately, though, if what you’re reading sounds like a rehashed review of Weeping Choir
it would be hard to blame you.
“Murmuring Foul Springs” has some interesting ideas, especially with the inclusion of a clarinet riff, though you would be hard pressed to remember anything else about the quick hitter. The saxophone outro thrown in on “Urchin Thrones” is such a fast sampler that it leaves the listener fiending for more only to quickly discover the full extent ends there: half-baked ideas that seem poised to break the monotony only to quickly dive into the next track. The aptly titled noise track “Derelict Satellite” stands monolithic in its three-minute length, surrounded by quick one-minute jabs of grind. Not nearly so much a respite in the chaos, but more of a nuisance to get to the next assault. Can’t wait for that track to be played at a show near you…
With few exceptions, nearly every aspect of Garden of Burning Apparition
continues upon the path made since Full of Hell’s split with Merzbow. Is there intensity? Absolutely. Will your face melt? Think the album artwork of Trumpeting Ecstasy
(that’s a “fu
ck yes”). But this all becomes standard rote material for Full of Hell. An album fixating on one-upping every release since with diminishing returns on each. That’s not to say that Full of Hell are running out of ideas: far from it. Little spurts of ingenuity are present throughout the album and continue to show that there are still masterpieces to be made in this vein of music. But until then, continue to be satiated with the twelve-track offering that is Garden of Burning Apparitions
… and every album before it.