Rudiments of Mutilation. Do you even need anything beyond that? It's a title that is immediately identifiable and stands out. It's one of those things that once you read it you kind of say, “Yeah,” to yourself; it's those words that someone just used to describe something that immediately stand out to you as a perfect definition. For the band Full of Hell the album title could not be more perfect. A grinding, spewing album that shits raw anger, hatred, and suffering.
Full of Hell is a vicious quartet hailing from the Pennsylvania and Maryland areas of the East Coast. If you're not already savvy to their sound, Full of Hell is known for making some of the darkest, most vicious and destructive hardcore/metal in the world, or rather, “grinding death in the form of hardcore punk” as the band puts it. Their songs range from the bone crushing thirty-second “The Lonely Path of the Cestoda” off of their split with Calm the Fire to their masterful seven-minute droning, sludge-laden cover of Joy Division's “Atmosphere.”
Rudiments of Mutilation is the band's second proper full length on A389 Records, following a year-and-a-half after their 2011 debut Roots of Earth Are Consuming My Home, which was easily one of 2011's best releases. Rudiments of Mutilation brings more of what you have come to expect from the band: crushing riffs, feedback and noise that might make your speakers flake and explode, violent spats and blasts, drone, sludge, and heavier than hell bass and drum lines.
The album opens with the feedback heavy “Dichtonomy” and vocalist Dylan Walker's callous, distant screams as the song picks up with a crazed drum section. It's like an experiment in descending madness, setting the mood for the rest of the album. “Vessel Deserted” is the coming punch that hits you straight in the gut as the band spits blood into your face. It only slows down enough to let you look up once before it kicks you straight in the jaw and the album gets fully underway.
Tracks “Coven of the Larnyx,” “Throbbing Lung Fiber” and “Indigence and Guilt” are a triple threat of blast beats and sludgy sections that show the album at some of its rawest moments. “Coven of the Larnyx” brings maddening pieces of blast and catchy riffs. “Throbbing Lung Fiber” is one of the most insane tracks on the whole album, punching its way through the speakers like a boxer on a cocaine jag, letting up only to throw bring the pain once more before its guttural ending. The lyrics tell the story of a family being cooked alive in a fire as their bones crack, swell, and snap.
“Indigence and Guilt” is probably one of the most interesting tracks on the album because it brings to mind what Full of Hell says about their sound. For Rudiments of Mutilation, it almost perfectly encompasses their sound. It is easily the most old school punk song on the whole record. The piece clocks in at just under two minutes with a pretty basic progression throughout but it still feels fresh. It blasts between sections, chugs, and even pushes a little sludge through others.
Rudiments of Mutilation slows down once “Embrace” and “The Lord is My Light” hit. “Embrace” reminds me a lot of songs like “Phoenix in Flight” off of Converge's Jane Doe. It's slower and gives the listener a chance to breathe after five vicious tracks. The vocals echo and metallically drone, moving slowly as the bass holds together the song. Noise is scattered throughout, whining and creaking like nails scratching on a window. However it's also, unfortunately, the only song on the album that didn't particularly care for. It is a good track but everything before and after it shines so much more. Then again, “Embrace” is an incredibly dark track with a lot of menacing qualities.
“The Lord is My Light” follows “Embrace” with a slow, stark humming guitar struck slowly. The piece is incredibly sludgy and the only track to cross the four-minute mark. Once the vocals kick in the track becomes like a slow strutting nightmare. “Hatred grows” spurts through the speakers like a festering wound and the song feels like it burns as it trudges forth. It's brews and boils on those words alone as it picks up more and more and more as though its rising from a grave. The build is astounding, making it one of the most standout tracks on the album.
When “Bone Coral and Brine” rolls on, it's like a gunshot. The song wastes no time in picking up the pace and blasting all pistons. The lyrics are torturous while the feedback and noise bring the flood. It stings with blasts and an ending that sounds like a drowning scream as the guitar sweeps over, moaning as the song ends.
The last two tracks, “Rudiment of Mutilation” and “In Contempt of Life” close out the album perfectly. “Rudiments of Mutilation” brings the rage, chopping its way through the first section until sludging through the rest and falling into “In Contempt With Life.” This is a perfect closer for the album. The track manages to take its final, bleeding stabs at your ears with slow instrumental slams and sore screams. It is a barren track that feels worn and tattered, as it should, leaving us with little else than a choking, buzz with one final, distant scream drowning in the background.
Full of Hell's Rudiments of Mutilation is a dark, vicious, and unforgiving album that showcases excellent flow, furious song structure, and bleak lyricism. If you thought Roots of Earth Are Consuming My Home was a blackened album, Rudiments takes it a step further. To paraphrase vocalist Walker, the album is about the need to both create suffering and experience it. Perhaps in contrast, it is also about how mercilessly senseless and aching such a cycle can be. Regardless of that quality, Rudiments of Mutilation is an incredible album that should not go unheard. It is sick, unnerving, excellently established, moody, violent, and one of the best damn records that will be put out this year. You want dark? Here it is motherfuckers. Eat it up.