Published Jun 01, 2017"Those guys were really instrumental for us in opening doors and showing us that there really aren't any limits to what we're allowed to do," says Full of Hell vocalist Dylan Walker about collaborators and mentors Merzbow and the Body. Trumpeting Ecstasy is the first new record solely from the Maryland/Pennsylvania quartet since 2013's Rudiments of Mutilation, but it follows two collaborative albums that had a major impact on Full of Hell and their new album.
"Working with people like Masami Akita [Merzbow], or Lee [Buford] and Chip [King] from the Body, were really eye-opening experiences for us," Walker says. "We might not have been willing, or even able, to do some of the things that we were looking to do with the new record. Those guys gave us these nice extra toolsets — like the idea of improvisation or having extra instrumentation outside of the normal rock band style."
Trumpeting Ecstasy is very much a return to Full of Hell's own vision. The album is dark and intense, showcasing their diverse sound, which includes elements of grindcore, powerviolence and blackened death metal. However, they've also learned when to reel it in, resulting in an album that is more cohesive than their previous material.
"We wanted this one to be more focused," Walker says. "I can see that being maybe a negative for someone, looking at this record and thinking, 'Oh it's not as all over the place as this collaboration or that.' But for us at this point, we wanted a really focused record. We felt like we needed to set the bar to where we were at as the core four-piece."
Trumpeting Ecstasy also significantly tones down the more pronounced noise elements expected from Full of Hell, which, as Walker explains, is also a result of their collaborations. "We'd been doing this thing with the Body for like a year-and-a-half, where it's just tons of noise all the time and all those live shows are very noisy. So we felt comfortable dialling it in on this record."
There is one exception on Trumpeting Ecstasy, however: the title track features vocals from Canadian singer/songwriter Nicole Dollanganger and a noise beat provided by the Body's Lee Buford, which Walker says the band really wanted to include on the album. "We built the song in the studio a lot like how the Body build their songs. That's something we never would have done without having been in the studio with them — watching how they work, learning how fun it can be, and learning how electronic drums can really open things up.
"[Dollanganger] has a really strikingly beautiful voice," he continues. "We wanted that kind of stark dichotomy. I've always loved that, but I don't know if the band were ever down for that kind of thing before we'd worked with the Body. Those guys taught us an understanding of the idea of having all kinds of different voices on the record — it provides a different colour to the music."