Going Straight Through My Head
You may find it tough to consider a Full of Hell record much of an event. Since 2009, the band has over 20 releases, including multiple splits, EPs and collaborations. This is only their fourth solo full-length, but it comes less than two years after their previous LP, and they still managed to cram some other stuff in between. So, should we really be that excited about Weeping Choir? Yes. Fuck yes.
Despite FOH’s varied output, they’re still seen more as a grind band than anything else, especially with that previous LP, Trumpeting Ecstasy, residing fairly in their comfort zone. It seems now, though, they’ve decided it’s time to move forward, and this is the closest they’ve come to full equity between that traditional sound and the noise/industrial they’ve been tinkering with for years.
Roughly half the album’s length comes from three songs meted out as a counterweight to the blast beats: “Rainbow Coil” is a clattering transmogrification of drums and screams, while “Angels Gather Here” is a mechanical trampling in the vein of Author & Punisher pulled down a deeper, uglier hole. But lurking about halfway through is “Armory of Obsidian Glass,” which may be the quartet’s most fully realized endeavor. Sludge, black metal, the chants of a haunted chorus and even some (brief) clean guitar is all thrown into an extreme music medley that methodically builds and falls, covering a massive amount of sonic territory.
Full of Hell actually remain experts at cruising through a hundred different sub-sub-genres, and if these few tracks were stricken from your playlist, there are still minute-long bursts of terrible pain that show how versatile they can be in tight spaces. If the last album had more bits of crust and hardcore, this is a turn towards death metal, but FOH move through a wealth of influences quickly and fluently.
And while any recording will fall short of their live shows, returning engineer Kurt Ballou brings the proceedings here terrifyingly close to that inherent danger and self-flagellation, especially with the clarity of the drums (seriously, listen to that ride bell!) and the vocals; if there’s one advantage to being a workhorse, it’s that frontman Dylan Walker has been able to sharpen his highs and carve out his lows to be as brutal an instrument as everything else.
You may not have been expecting a new album by Full of Hell. And with so much of their stuff already out there to digest, this may not be super high on your priority list. But even if you put it off until later, Weeping Choir will be one of the best albums of the year—in whatever year you finally listen to it.
Read the inside story of Full of Hell’s incredible new LP in the June 2019 issue of Decibel.