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FULL OF HELL + MERZBOW  self-titled  2 x CD   (Profound Lore)   14.99
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Back in stock. Even though the band is from right down the road from C-Blast HQ, it wasn't until quite recently that I started to listen to these guys in earnest, starting with a rather blistering set I saw them perform in DC with Column Of Heaven around a year ago. The 7"s I'd picked up from the band were pretty cool, but after seeing them live I realized they didn't do justice to the strength of their sonic attack; in the live setting, their mix of brutal hardcore and cyclonic grind flayed the flesh right off of my bones. When the band's collaboration with Japanese noise pioneer Merzbow was announced shortly thereafter, this vicious album turned into one of my more anticipated new releases of '14. Released as a double disc set on Profound Lore (with a vinyl edition forthcoming in the next few weeks, which we'll be getting in stock as well), this is one of the best noise/metal collabs I've heard since Masami Akita himself teamed up with those maniacs in Gore Beyond Necropsy, with a ferocious sound that comes much closer to capturing the live savagery of the band.

The main album that makes up the first disc is a short one, at just twenty-three minutes long, but it hurtles at top speed through eleven tracks of blasting ferocity. Songs race by in a blur of ultra-violent blastbeats and discordant hardcore riffs, the multiple vocalists swapping back and forth between the frantic, bestial screeching and deeper, gruffer bellowing and a weird disaffected moan, the music blending equal parts spazztoid staccato powerviolence with blurts of massive dissonant sludge and full-on grindcore. Occasionally this will slow down into turbulent assaults of jagged noise-rock or pulverizing dirge, and Merzbow's presence is felt throughout, not only in the swells of jittery electronics and squealing high-pitched feedback that bubble up in the spaces between songs, transforming entire tracks like "Raise Thee, Great Wall, Bloody And Terrible" into outbursts of virtual power electronics, but also as an omnipresent texture in the midst of the band's raging grind. A layer of electronic filth and corrosion that smolders beneath the instruments, creating an edgy aural abrasion lurking in every corner of the album. Towards the end, things slow down to a seriously epic crawl, starting with "High Fells" as it drags itself through vast furrows of droning heaviness somewhere in between the industrial plod of early Swans and the barbaric trance of Neurosis, crushing riffs churning over noisy percussion as the vocals rise in wraithlike chant and vein-popping screams, while volleys of jazzy horns streak overhead. And on ""Ljudet Av Gud", most of that instrumentation is swept away, leaving just a creaking noisescape of distant electro-acoustic sounds slowly overcome by the rhythmic boom of hammers on empty oil tanks, building into a desolate industrial dirge that takes over the entire track. Building to the cathartic release of closer "Fawn Heads And Unjoy", the final blast of dissonant, delirious grind violence is splattered in free jazz squonk.

The Sister Fawn disc offers a more avant-garde sound, and while it seems to be presented as more of a companion piece, I gotta admit I thought this material is even cooler than the album proper. Much of Full Of Hell's screeching grindmetal is absorbed into a more cacophonous wall of industrial violence here, delivering longer tracks of pummeling industrial junk-metal rhythms and howling feedback manipulation, blasts of crushing power electronics and more of that abject Swans-esque dirge, and squalls of apocalyptic jazz-infected noise like "Crumbling Ore" that approach Borbetomagus levels of intensity. This stuff still get very grindy at times, though, like the noise-damaged blast-assault of "Merzdrone" that welds a seemingly endless blastbeat to Merzbow's scorching electronics and shrill skulldrill distortion, ferociously psychedelic.

Comes in digipack packaging.


Track Samples:
Sample : FULL OF HELL + MERZBOW-self-titled
Sample : FULL OF HELL + MERZBOW-self-titled
Sample : FULL OF HELL + MERZBOW-self-titled
Sample : FULL OF HELL + MERZBOW-self-titled
Sample : FULL OF HELL + MERZBOW-self-titled
Sample : FULL OF HELL + MERZBOW-self-titled