Garden Of Burning Apparitions simultaneously feels like an ascension to a place above the clouds, far beyond the fear of death; and a submersion so deep into the dread and dismay of daily life that all hope completely dissipates. Either way, there's nothing around you anymore and you're free. How you proceed is up to you.
Garden Of Burning Apparitions is Full Of Hell's fifth full-length album, and their most extreme effort to date. The band immerses themselves in Merzbow-esque noise on songs like "Derelict Satellite" and "Non-Atomitism", while penning love letters to Trap Them and Converge on "Reeking Tunnels", as well as the warbling clean melodies from labelmates Devil Master on the closer "Celestial Hierarch". Then there's the grinding, almost hallucinatory death metal of "Burning Apparition", and what sounds like the final sludge riff to be played shortly before your speakers die on "Asphyxiant Blessing".
Where Garden Of Burning Apparitions achieves its one-upped extremity is in its focus from song to song. "Derelict Satellite" is dedicated to being a noise-rooted death metal track without deviation, while something like "Urchin Thrones" is hellbent of only going more insane until it falls apart. The songs are written as if they exist in separate silos from one other; studies of themselves, imitating themselves endlessly until they themselves pass away. As if their torment is their own making, completely cut off from everything else. It's an interesting tactic, and one that Full Of Hell pulls off very well.
Perhaps more importantly is that Full Of Hell has never sounded so comfortable as themselves. The band not only draws in influence from their four previous albums, but from their noise tapes, collaborations and live experiments, all distilled down to a chaotic 20 minute snapshot of an adventurous career. Vocalist Dylan Walker's lyrics throughout the album deal with everything from impermanence and the ever-marching boots of death, to how religion is sold to the masses and the violence that comes with the rejection of fact. Musically, the band employs every effect imaginable and every avenue of noise available on top of their usual, hellishly grinding death metal. Again – you're either crushed by it or set free in facing futility.
With Garden Of Burning Apparitions, Full Of Hell has laid the blueprints for their future. The record perfectly uses noise as percussion, riffs as soundscapes, and effects as instruments in a comfortable way that only Full Of Hell could accomplish. Garden Of Burning Apparitions feels very intentionally 20 minutes long, in that each song is distilled down to its essence and is a presentation of that specific sound. There's no "have patience with it" on this record. You hit play and you disappear from where you currently are with only ashes in your place. You let the maelstrom of chaotic, crushing noise-heavy death metal and lyrics about futility either transport you to a place of acceptance that allows you to live your life, or devastate you into nothing.