Full of Hell Garden of Burning Apparitions Relapse Records
An abattoir being nail-bombed is how I would describe the introduction to Full of Hell’s new album. The grindcore outfit from Maryland and central Pennsylvania have never been easy on the ears, but Garden of Burning Apparitions has an overt noise influence that frazzles the nerve endings of the already-monstrous sound they’ve been expanding on since 2009.
Over 12 varied and volatile tracks, the album draws on a wide array of influences, from power-violence beatdowns and pig squeals to squirming riffs and an avant-garde take on heavy metal similar to acts like Naked City. A rusty gate creaking here, a tortured saxophone parp there. Produced by Seth Manchester at Machines with Magnets (Lingua Ignota, The Body, Daughters), Garden of Burning Apparitions is decidedly huge in scale. It gets much of its character from the distortion, hissing and grating constantly happening in the background without ever sounding blown-out or thin, as if you’re listening to a gig from the confines of the club toilet.
Lyrically, vocalist Dylan Walker takes on immobilising themes of death and terror, from the commodification of spirituality (Industrial Messiah Complex) to fear of violent mobs (Eroding Shell) or being trapped in a perpetual state of hate (Reeking Tunnels). The end result often feels like you’re hearing the literal deconstruction of extreme music, as Full of Hell depicts the extremity of our times. It’s a corrosive sound for a corrosive world, but in just under 19 minutes, you can hear exactly how it feels to be alive.