Full of Hell Credit: Courtesy the Artist

Grindcore and powerviolence were born in part from a desire to push the limits of what music can do. But like countless other artistic movements, somewhere down the line many practitioners got stuck in cliches and conventions. That’s not the case with Full of Hell. The group, which has members in Maryland and Pennsylvania, is one of the most explorative, challenging, and ferocious bands in their scene. Since forming in 2009 they’ve put out a slew of EPs and splits, three collaborative albums with like-minded adventurous heavyweights Merzbow and the Body, and four full-lengths of their own—most recently this month’s Weeping Choir (Relapse). In an interview with Exclaim, vocalist Dylan Walker described the record as a sister album to 2017’s celebrated Trumpeting Ecstasy. “Trumpeting was like a bubble being popped in my personal life and kind of like a very ‘moment in time’ record just based on what was going on in the Western world,” he said. “Weeping Choir is kind of all that’s left in the wake of that.” For Full of Hell, though, the aftermath of trauma doesn’t provide a moment of reprieve—it’s just as brutal as the onslaught that precedes it. Starting with the foreboding “Burning Myrrh,” the band fully enmesh the listener into their bleak universe, using staticky machine-gun percussion (“Rainbow Coil”) or plodding, fit-for-Streetcleaner soundscapes (“Angels Gather Here”). Most impressive might be “Armory of Obsidian Glass,” a shape-shifting, sludgy epic intensified with otherworldly vocals from guest Lingua Ignota. The album clocks in under 25 minutes, but that’s more than enough time for Full of Hell to conjure a vision so devastating and caustic that your daily dose of bad news might sound uplifting by comparison.   v