Full of Hell Soup Kitchen, Manchester – 17/07/2017
The time has come for experimental Noise-Grind act Full of Hell to return to Manchester; bringing their furious, energetic and challenging music with them.
Their latest album, “Trumpeting Ecstasy” was released in May 2017 through Profound Lore Records. Their sound is best described as the pure essence of aggression. It is relentless and unforgiving. Extreme punk meets extreme metal meets apocalyptic noise.
A lovely summer evening in Manchester greeted me as I walked from the car to the venue. Completely thrown by the weather (not raining), I knew there would be further surprises in store. Arriving at the venue I made my descent and could smell the damp in the air. Perfect.
A deafening and throbbing white noise awakened everyone. Natural Orthodoxy, a Power Electronics act from Manchester kicked things off. The complimentary earplugs at the bar now started to make sense. This felt more like performance art, not a live set. A barrage of noise pummelled the audience until he grabbed the microphone and leapt off the stage. He came bearing gifts, in the form of a four-verse poem about stealing children. Shoving copies of said poem into selected crowd member’s chests (I got one). Props included a hammer, a chain worthy of docking the Titanic with and a cable box along with some electronics. A memorable performance. Extreme, to the extreme.
Next up was Famine, a Grindcore band from Leeds. They launched into their first track with a punk like fury and maintained a fantastic pace throughout their short set. What I enjoyed was the way they contrasted blisteringly fast Grindcore with slower grooves reminiscent of some early Death Metal bands such as Obituary or Entombed. They were a tight band with energetic and punchy songs.
Unyielding Love from Northern Ireland was next and the first thing I noticed was a carpenter’s saw plugged into a guitar distortion pedal. The singer was in the audience, delivering tortured vocals against a backdrop of predominantly Grindcore and Death Metal moments layered with an interesting experimental side. Glancing over my notes from the gig I noted the word BLACK in capitals. There are definitely hints of black metal within the band’s sound, certainly vocally at least. Short set, but jam-packed and interesting. Fast and abrasive, yet offset with some fantastic breakdowns. Then, all was calm. The guitarist weaved an odd, appegiated chord progression whilst the band had their backs to the audience. A huge gulf existed between the two extremes that the band explored. Standard two-second Grindcore explosion to finish. Fantastic.
Headliners Full of Hell got themselves set up on stage and exchanged a few glances at each other. The anticipation from the crowd was through the roof at this point with the odd shout or grunt from someone in the audience.
Like their recent release, the set began with a sample from a Werner Herzog film. The refrain of “The trees here are in misery, the trees here are in misery...” repeated, manipulated with a layer of white noise like a blanket over the entire room. No acceleration, but just relentless from the off. The first song was album opener “Deluminate”, setting the tone for the rest of the night. Typical song lengths from the band clock in at around one minute so the start of their set was a quick succession of blows. Tension rose between songs as the vocalist manipulated the dials to create hellish, dark sounds consuming the room. To be immediately cut and replaced with the explosive re-introduction of the band starting another ferocious song. With songs like “Digital Prison” about peoples lives revolving around computers, phones, social media etc. Other songs about classism and greed brought some depth to the subject matter.
Grindcore is punk taken to its logical extreme and Full of Hell provided a fresh approach to it with a very creative, experimental edge. They blend elements from various genres to create a uniquely dark and aggressive wall of sound. Singer Dylan Walker, wide eyed as he grimaced, witch shrieked and beast grunted, conveying his lyrics with sincerity. The noise from Dylan served to maintain a menacing atmosphere between songs that provided a seamless and constant attack. The rhythm section had a cold precision applied with controlled aggression, driving each moment in crushing fashion. Guitar riffs ranging from classic Death Metal to searing, noisy Grindcore were delivered superbly with a thick, yet cutting tone.
“Crawling Back To God”, with the crowd participation to the acapella refrain of “ON BENT KNEES, CRAWLING BACK TO GOD” was one of the highlights of the evening. As was the vocalist hanging upside down, microphone in mouth, swinging from the rafters during the last song. You don’t see that everyday. The night was one I think will stick in the mind for a while. Credit to the support acts too, worth checking out.