Over the past two decades, Japanese extreme noise maestro Masami Akita (aka Merzbow) has recorded live and studio albums with experimental acts like Mike Patton, Atari Teenage Riot, Melt Banana and, perhaps most notably, Boris. But his latest collaboration with Pennsylvania new-school hardcore/grindcore/noise band Full of Hell is one of the more contemporary pairings. Most of the album features short, sinus-clearing hardcore songs similar to those on Full of Hell’s Rudiments of Mutilation and Roots of Earth are Consuming My Home albums, with Merzbow acting as an extra band member and providing additional blowtorch blasts.
More compelling are the noise and ambient compositions, in which Merzbow takes the reins and guides Full of Hell beyond the feedback and digital-effect compositions of their four FOH Noise EPs and into previously unexplored avenues of dissonance. “Raise the Great Wall, Bloodied and Terrible” mingles clanging percussion, harrowing screams, ear-piercing feedback and overdriven guitars fed through a pulsing wah-wah. “High Fells” achieves a transcendent, apocalyptic drone comparable to Godflesh or Swans and “Ludget Av Gud” holds back on the cacophony in favor of primitive, repetitive thumping, barely audible screams and electronic waves that builds from a whisper to a roar. With Full of Hell & Merzbow, the old dog teaches the young bucks new tricks.