For a band who have issued collaborative releases with Rhode Island sludge monsters, The Body and the harsh noise/power electronics grandfather, Masami ‘Merzbow’ Akita, the collective weight of Full Of Hell’s recent experience should hint at Trumpeting Ecstasy’s savagery. And yet the first thing that strikes you about the fourth album by this Maryland/Pennsylvania-based grind/ punk/noise battalion is just how punishing it is, even for those who have kept a close eye and ear on the band since their formation in 2009. They’ll never win awards for flawless execution, prodigious technical skill or spellbinding innovation, but when it comes to creating extreme music that delivers a soulful haymaker to the gut and extracts a few teeth in the seconds before head hits concrete, this lot have proven themselves wise and weathered beyond their years.
A short, nihilism-themed sample that nudges into creepy, Pig Destroyer territory ignites the pipe bomb that is Deluminate and the thunderclap of short, sharp, shock’n’awe powerviolence that follows. Suspects like early Napalm Death, Discordance Axis and Black Army Jacket are driving forces for Branches Of Yew, Fractured Quartz and the effective combination of an irascible flurry of speed realised with warm tones and fat riffs that are pulled off without sounding muddy and bogged down. Traces of death metal have always skulked in the background of Full Of Hell’s sound, especially given the atonality of guitarist Spencer Hazard’s style, but in Gnawed Flesh and the epic album-closing dirge of At The Cauldron’s Bottom, the slower parts aren’t so much powerviolence’s tar-thick sludge dynamic as they are Hellhammer and old-school caveman death metal, whereas Ashen Mesh spins a web of grindcore (with emphasis on the ‘core’) and blasting death akin to Hate Eternal or Vader’s more brutal moments. One surprising feature of Trumpeting Ecstasy is the dearth of the power electronics and grating soundscapes. These elements can be heard in the title track (though augmented by a haunting and angelic feminine voice), but the focus of this album appears to be upping the sonic scorched-earth policy, but doing it more traditionally and without as much reliance on the more formless side of the noise spectrum.