Full of Hell
Coagulated Bliss


3.8
excellent

Review

by Benjamin Jack STAFF
April 28th, 2024 | 124 replies


Release Date: 04/26/2024 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Butthole Surfers + Grindcore ?????

In a recent interview concerning Coagulated Bliss, vocalist/ eardrum liquefier Dylan Walker stated, ‘with the music, we’ve tried to look back at what we’ve done before while adding new influences’. Were this a statement made by a huge number of other bands, it would be so eye-rolling it’d be liable to land you in a specialist’s chair being treated for optic whiplash (alongside the ever-popular ‘this is going to be our heaviest album yet’, of course). A charitable 90% of the time, such claims of evolution equate to a stylistic shift that artist(s) are aware will be divisive, and so framing the switch as part of the ongoing development of the band cushions the blow and braces listeners for a potentially huge sonic adjustment. Full of Hell, however, have this evolutionary trajectory down to a blueprint-exact art, and have been steadily feeding the furnaces fuelling their white-knuckle rage with the choicest selection of influences in varying quantities over their whole career. With Coagulated Bliss, though, the ‘evolution’ is not only organic, but genuinely astonishing. The bones of their sound have been reconstructed like those of a poor soul cut from a car wreck, reinforced by metal pins and brackets and fixed in place with surgical precision. It’s clear that the dreampop hallmarks of NOTHING following last year’s extraordinary collaborative effort Where No Birds Sang has had a profound effect on the band, with the addition of recognisably poppy song structures a consistently engaging presence throughout the record. The form is absolutely recognisable, but fortified with nuanced, meaningful themes and deft musicality to convey it.

Walker has opined that the band prefers to ‘take things as they come’ when it comes to deciding how to approach the writing process of their LPs. In this regard, it’s blindingly apparent that the joint effort with NOTHING has enlightened the outfit as to the merits of more conventional songwriting. Coagulated Bliss is Full of Hell at their leanest and most structured, but whilst this prospect may deter some longtime listeners, these newfound novelties only serve to accentuate the harshened noise they are so renowned for, and, make no mistake, that sh*t’s here in droves. The brazen grindcore chunder of ‘Vomiting Glass’ trills and shrieks like a banshee having a seizure, and, considering its lithe runtime, is absolutely loaded with riffs. In the same vein, the consistently unhinged seesawing between groove and discordance on ‘Gasping Dust’ (featuring a certain Ross Dolan) captures a great many of the powerviolence tendencies of Roots of Earth and Rudiments, cranking out the vile sense of sonic inescapability so menacingly prevalent on those releases. Closer ‘Malformed Ligature’ (with Jacob Bannon) has a distinctly hardcore bite to its guitarwork and some seriously disgusting vocals that feel reminiscent of a cut from Trumpeting Ecstasy. However, it is also a good example of the unusual influence the band has injected into their typically barbaric cavalcade, with a twisting devolution occurring midway through that warps the track into a slower, more structured finale. It also has a saxophone outro.

Before now, the band has never cast an influence net quite as wide as this. Shades of doom, drone, sludge and pop punk are all sprinkled into the sauce, along with the usual crusty grind habits. All of these stylistics are exhibited to one degree or another throughout the entire record, but the moments where the band truly lean into wheelhouse-adjacent genres really shine. ‘Bleeding Horizon’ is a noteworthy standout- a Melvins-inspired, doomy soundscape that makes use of Walker’s rasping vocals against a wall of grimacing noise. Yet, it also manages to be distinctly melodic, the noise rock antics a riff-laden background that allows the vocals to warp around like a calligraphic signature. Conveying a similar essence and slowly unfolding like a jackknife in the dark, ‘Gelding of Men’ thumps in a confrontational, vicious din that manages to feel both vicious and restrained in equal measure. The swirling main riff of the monstrously oppressive ‘Schizoid Rupture’ is evocative of grimy water circling a drain, and the vocal balance between lows and screams is mirrored by the sinister nature of the songwriting. Despite this, the track still relies heavily on a more conventional structure, slipping into grooves and borderline-catchy hooks before plunging back into unforgiving guttural heaviness. Such thoughtful merging is a credit to the band’s songwriting, as they have intuitively assessed disposable traits in their own sound and implemented newfound methodology without damaging their own, unique style. Moreover, in some respects it actively improves it, allowing for greater memorability and potentially laying groundwork for future endeavours.

The album’s artwork, a piece by former Dillinger Escape Plan collaborator Brian Montouri, illustrates how the incorporation of new elements has informed not only the musical structure here, but the thematics and lyricism too. Abstract but with recognisable elements such as boardwalks and oceanic vistas obscured by vivid overlays, the work represents the band’s hometown, with the surreal style a signification of the corrupted ideals associated with the notion of home as a blissful oasis. The disquieting imagery within the lyrics is all informed by the band members' own perception of where their roots lie, and the idealistic image of 'home' vs the cold reality that can exist in the same location. Tied into this are notions of wasted lives, familial ties, regrets, youth, and general existence, and all are explored in appropriately thoughtful, pointed style. In typical fashion for the outfit, the lyricism here is somewhat succinct, but always impactful- there’s scarcely a line that doesn’t resonate due to its intensity and calculatedly cutting incisiveness. Such a focus is in stark contrast to earlier FoH efforts that primarily focused on more fantastical themes, which on those occasions were served by the abject lack of restraint manifest within the musicality. It is fitting, then, that Coagulated Bliss offer a synchronous adjustment in this regard too, and the schizophrenic teetering between chaos and linearity offers the perfect complement to these conflicted attitudes.

Despite the evasive answers about what the shift found on Coagulated Bliss means for the band’s future sound, the content on display here works to an almost worrisome degree. In sacrificing a fraction of the purity that gave them their trademark brand of brain floss, Full of Hell has been able to form an artful and more nuanced sonic texture in which lyrical and musical content are mirror images. Despite the greater emphasis on structure within the songs, very little aggression has been sacrificed; if anything, the incorporation of poppier songwriting lends greater staying power to the visceral aggression by making the tracks feel more distinct and less formless. Almost every aspect that makes Full of Hell a unique band is retained, but added in is a greater sense of personality, realism, and refinement. The fact that due to their recent flirtations with more unusual sounds they have decided to implement them into their own full-length record speaks volumes about their creativity and willingness to experiment, and considering that they have always been a band looking to develop and push their own boundaries, this is the sharpest evolutionary arc so far. It’s a glistening mound of powerviolencey, grindy, hardcorey, sludgey, doomy goodness that offers a great many surprises from a band unafraid of change. Its seductive powers may be wasted on a handful of purists, but it’ll almost certainly entice some new listeners to worship at the altar of dead horses.



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user ratings (168)
3.6
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
JayEnder
April 28th 2024


20469 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

FIRST



Album fuckin owns m/ as does the review, nice job Ben!

Hawks
April 28th 2024


90689 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

On par with their best stuff. Ripper from start to finish.

Sharenge
April 29th 2024


5472 Comments


I need to actually get around to checking these guys proper, I keep listening to their collabs and haven't listened to any of their other stuff

Sharenge
April 29th 2024


5472 Comments


what are some other 3.8 bands so far we've got these guys and Chevelle

Hawks
April 29th 2024


90689 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

LMAO MAN THIS IS A 3.8 TOO. Last album's average should be way lower tbh that album is doggy doo doo.

JayEnder
April 29th 2024


20469 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Man how catchy is the t/t on this

demigod!
April 29th 2024


49622 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Fractured Bonds to Mecca is so awesome too

Hawks
April 29th 2024


90689 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

This one is like way more punky than a lot of their other stuff. I know its still grind at heart put the punk attitude and riffs are clearly at the forefront on this one.

kevbogz
April 29th 2024


6163 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"what are some other 3.8 bands so far we've got these guys and Chevelle"



peep The Body

Hawks
April 29th 2024


90689 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

The Body rulez.

Purpl3Spartan
April 29th 2024


8791 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The one body album I peeped sounded like SpongeBob screaming about the hash slinging slasher

bigguytoo9
April 29th 2024


1427 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

loving this one for sure

JayEnder
April 29th 2024


20469 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

The Body's vocalist sounds like a tea kettle over steaming

Hawks
April 29th 2024


90689 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Good comparison tbh.

kevbogz
April 29th 2024


6163 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i see 3.8



i send the body

JayEnder
April 29th 2024


20469 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Only minor gripes I have with this are Bleeding Horizon being overly long and also this album really could have benefited from a glitchy, mindfuck noise track to match the incomprehensibly weird artwork.



Owns hard regardless tho and is way better than the last album

Slex
April 29th 2024


16805 Comments


This album is ridiculously catchy and I love that

Wildcardbitchesss
April 29th 2024


12798 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Yeah as much as I love the little trilogy run they just had I’m glad to see them going in a slightly different direction

And disagreed Jay, I’m glad this doesn’t have a lot of noise bullshit, to me the one obligatory noise track they’ve always done were the weakest parts of their records



Fractured Bonds to Mecca is a nice little cross between their usual style and that kind of stuff imo, Gelding of Men kinda has the same thing going but I fuck with them both more than songs like Rainbow Coil

kevbogz
April 29th 2024


6163 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

ye most of their noise shit felt like a forced box check. ok lads we did an interlude of just shit noise time to write the actual music

Hawks
April 29th 2024


90689 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Yeah I didn't dig most of that stuff tbh their last album and the one split they were on from last year are god awful.



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