Review : HOWL – "Full of Hell"

HowLFull of Hell
released May 11, 2010 on Relapse Records

Rating: 4.5/5

The last thing this Rhode Island foursome leaves you with on their debut full-length is the charge “may everything dirty win”. HowL‘s followup to their eponymous 2009 EP does just that. Full of Hell is a gloriously ugly massacre, clouded with rage, clogged with resin, clawing through bodies of the fallen.

Waves of contempt radiate from the molten sludge that run through grooves carved out in decades past by everyone from Black Sabbath to High on Fire. And established though these routes may be, if the classic masters of reality have taught us anything, it is the density of one’s palette that matters.

Subtlety of execution is no easy task when your instinct regresses to a sledgehammer pummel, yet this is exactly the way HowL rolls. Take the evolving structure of “You Jackals Beware”, the instrumental “Asherah” that leads into “Jezebel”, the percussive intro of “Heavenless”, or the paralyzing nature of “The Scorpion’s Last Sting”: all demonstrate a unique character that gives each song shape. True, there is a raw grittiness that permeates Full of Hell, but it feels neither accidental nor out of place.

Because HowL comes through unfiltered, broadcasting their profanity-laden music can be difficult. Thankfully, Relapse was kind enough to record clean edits, so for all that must be mindful of the FCC, this gives us license to play without fear of fines. Fear is one thing this band just seems to ignore, though. When you get full of hell, there is room for little else.

FCC: 1, 2, 5, 7, 9
Try 3, 6, 8

01. Horns of Steel
02. You Jackals Beware
03. Gods In Broken Men
04. Asherah
05. Jezebel
06. Heavenless
07. The Scorpion’s Last Sting
08. Parish of the Obscene
09. The Day of Rest

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