Album Review: FULL OF HELL Weeping Choir
There are certain artistic wells that seemingly never run dry. Bands that continue to evolve naturally as though it is a means of survival. The Body, Death, Swans, Converge, and Full of Hell are the first few discographies that pop to mind. There are bands that have shifted seamlessly without ever sounding like they were forcing something until it broke. Even if breaking something was the intention with Weeping Choir.
Full of Hell is the kind of band where followers know what to expect, but also know the end result will be twisted. Trumpeting Ecstasy saw Full of Hell really begin to further embrace its love of death metal. The band had previously hinged on making harsher, more grinding records with a hardcore/punk attitude—that sentiment still remains. Yet, as they continue to evolve, Full of Hell further steeps their sound into the "death" part of their self-described "harsh grinding death." Weeping Choir is certainly no exception.
There is a black storm that strikes once "Burning Myrrh" begins. Dave Bland's thunderous drums, Spencer Hazard's vomitous guitar, and Sam DiGristine's tar-like bass open the black cloud gates to Dylan Walker's shrieking vocal maelstrom. This is the sound followers of Full of Hell have come to expect. Merciless, fast, blasting, noisy, and loud. It’s harsh grinding death at its finest, and at one track in, already a fitting follow-up to Trumpeting Ecstasy.
It's no surprise that Weeping Choir has very few songs that are all that long. Full of Hell blast through track after track with a whirlwind-like intensity. The first three tracks are over in about five minutes combined. "Rainbow Coil" is the first time since their collaboration with Merzbow, the quartet built a purely noise-driven track. It's trench warfare, with synthesized machine gun staccato and screeching, scratching feedback.
Weeping Choir's longest and most rapacious track is “Armory of Obsidian Glass,” a Lovecraftian chant that could summon the shapeless Yog-Sothoth. It’s both furious and haunting with a guest appearance by Kristin Hayter (Lingua Ignota). Hayter’s voice ghostly soars over the track while Walker's aggression drives the song. The thick and droning nature of it is like something off Roots of Earth Are Consuming My Home. The second half of the record flies by. “Angels Gather Here” is another noisier track that focuses more on mood and heaviness. It’s a very industrial track and a bit of a new angle for Full of Hell.
Weeping Choir ultimately ends very abruptly. Trumpeting Ecstasy let itself go with a proper send-off on its longest and most epic track, “At the Cauldron’s Bottom.” A track that was ghastly and intense, but felt like a proper ending. “Cellar of Doors” on Weeping Choir is a fantastic track that delivers 64 seconds of fierce intensity before fading out. Where "At the Cauldron's Bottom" was a (relatively) slow burn, "Cellar of Doors" is like a beast's teeth to the neck. It’s abrupt, and maybe it’s better that way, but time will tell.
Weeping Choir wails and Full of Hell’s sound could crumble cathedrals. The album is like a black robe horror trip through the darkest halls—under the dimmest candlelight—as banshees wail outside the walls. Even the peaceful moments are unnerving, as they should be. Weeping Choir is a natural form of evolution. Nothing is out of place in sound. It’s grinding, harsh, noisy, and death-laden in the best way. Full of Hell has come a long way in ten years. May their choir weep at least ten more.